Stony Brook Southampton Shining Bright
at Sundance Film Festival

christine vachon at sundance

JAN. 23, 2013—It's been a busy week out west for new Stony Brook Southampton faculty member Christine Vachon, co-founder of indie film production powerhouse Killer Films, who traveled to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, with several objectives in mind.

Already scheduled to attend to support two films she produced that are being screened at Sundance, Vachon has also been capitalizing on myriad opportunities to get the word out to industry insiders and her peers about the new film program she is developing at Stony Brook Southampton and at Stony Brook Manhattan. 

"Part of my mission while at the Festival," Vachon said, "is to spread the word about our exciting plans for the new film program at Stony Brook Southampton, beginning with the 20/20/20 scholarship program for this summer."

Vachon was also invited by the New York State Governor's Office for Motion Picture and Television Development to take part in a Tuesday panel discussion on "Production" co-sponsored and moderated by Steven Beer (Franklin, Weinrib, Rudell & Vassallo). The panel discussion was held at the New York Lounge in Park City, where Festival goers can stop between films for an engaging lineup of events, panels and musical guests.

christine vachon at sundance

The New York Lounge breakdown of the focus for the "Production" discussion zeroed in on the founding principles of the new Stony Brook Southampton film program: "Producing independent films is an evolving art form: Successful production requires collaboration with experienced and problem-solving professionals."

Accompanying Vachon at Sundance are Stony Brook Southampton's Manhattan Coordinator Magdalene Brandeis and producer and Stony Brook alumna Simone Pero. Brandeis and Pero, both experienced filmmakers and producers, have been working with Vachon and Stony Brook Southampton Associate Provost Robert Reeves to develop the new film program, and are helping Vachon promote the program at Sundance.

Vachon's two films at the Festival are "Magic, Magic" with Juno Temple, Michael Cera and Emily Browning, and "Kill Your Darlings" with Elizabeth Olsen, Daniel Radcliffe and Michael C. Hall. 

By Tuesday, "Kill Your Darlings" had already garnered one rave review in the United Kingdom's The Independent, and another boost from Entertainment Weekly movie critic Lisa Schwarzbaum, who called it one of the best movies she had seen so far at Sundance.

More significantly, "Kill Your Darlings" won the ultimate prize that all filmmakers are seeking at Sundance and other festivals when the producers closed a deal with Sony Pictures Classics for distribution in "multiple territories."

sundance party

This summer's 20/20/20 program will provide 20 filmmakers with fully funded scholarships to make 20 short films in 20 intense days from July 8 to 28. This impressive initiative offers one example, Vachon said, of how Stony Brook Southampton will be "turning the traditional film school model on its head," by allowing filmmakers to learn by doing while being mentored by talented faculty with a wealth of experience and success in the rapidly changing industry.

Associate Provost Robert Reeves pointed out that "it's the perfect time for us to add a program in digital film to our existing MFA programs in creative writing and theatre, which are gathered along with TSR Editions under the umbrella of storytelling. What's exciting in digital filmmaking is that it’s no longer only about technology or money, but about sensibility and voice."   

"The questions for all creative artists — fiction writers, filmmakers, playwrights, poets — are really very simple: What do you have to tell us that we haven't heard before? What do you have to show us that we haven't seen before?"  

For more information about the new film program or the upcoming 20/20/20 filmmaking scholarship July 8-28, 2013, contact


Top photo - Frida Torresblanco of Braven Films, Christine Vachon of Killer Films, and Emanuel Michael of Unison Films, left to right, were three of the panelists discussing "Production" at the New York Lounge during this week's Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Torresblanco and Vachon produced "Magic, Magic," which was shown at the Festival.

Second photo - David Hinajosa, Christine Vachon and Magdalene Brandeis, left to right, at the Killer Films party at the Sundance Film Festival on Monday night, Jan. 21.

Bottom photo - The invitation to the Killer Films party at the Sundance Film Festival.