New Visual and Media Arts affiliated faculty member Andrew Corkin compares film production to manufacturing, with each product requiring a different set of skills.
“One film could be the equivalent of me making chairs,” Corkin said. “The next film might be the equivalent of me making cars. It can be that different, dynamically.
“If I were to go into the process of making a car with the same mentality of making a chair, [I] would get lost really quickly.”
Corkin, who came to Emerson this semester and teaches a class in the Business of Film, premiered his latest creation earlier this month at SXSW. A Vigilante, written/directed by Sarah Daggar-Nickson and starring Olivia Wilde, is about a formerly abused woman who rids others of their domestic abusers while tracking down her own.
Variety called the film “something to see: the rare movie in which lone justice offers a catharsis that could be described as honest,” and The Hollywood Reporter said it was “a taut revenge fantasy that takes the traumatic roots of its crime-fighting spree very seriously.”
Corkin said he was on “cloud nine” over the film’s reception.
“It’s not an easy film, but I think it’s an important film, now more than ever,” he said.
He said he and Daggar-Nickson and the team have acknowledged that the timing of A Vigilante, made before the #MeToo movement but released in the midst of it, is both “fortunate and unfortunate”—fortunate in that it’s able to contribute to the crucial conversations, but unfortunate that it’s taken everyone so long to pay attention.
Corkin’s other credits include Afterschool (2008); Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011), nominated for four Independent Spirit Awards; An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, a 2012 Gotham Award winner; King Kelly (2012); We Are What We Are (2013); Wild Canaries (2014); and Big Significant Things (2014). In 2015, he executive produced Andrew Renzi’s feature debut, The Benefactor, starring Richard Gere, and produced Emelie, a thriller starring Sarah Bolger.
He also produced Emerson MFA student Joel Potrykus’ third feature, The Alchemist’s Cookbook, and Netflix’s Mercy.
While each of Corkin’s indie films are unique—cars, chairs, maybe some tables—he has often gravitated toward the tense and grim. Martha Marcy May Marlene is about a girl who tries to assimilate with her family after she escapes from a cult. In We Are What We Are, a normal-seeming family keeps strange customs behind closed doors. Emelie centers around a twisted babysitter.
“The through line with a lot of them is they are darker in nature,” Corkin said. “But the benefit of being an independent producer is it allows me to just be drawn to whatever content I want to be drawn to. At the end of the day, I take on a lot of different projects. I have to find something that actually moves me in its concept.”
Corkin has taught at his alma mater, New York University, and Boston University before coming to Emerson. It was at NYU that he first took a producing class and realized that was where his talents lie.
He hopes to pass on what he knows to Emerson students; next fall, he’s planning to teach an Introduction to Producing class.
“What I love most about being a producer is you’re involved in a projection from its induction to its going out into the world to be seen,” he said. “For someone [who’s] always just loved art and film in general, I can geek out with everyone from the accountant to the actors.”