Skip Navigation

Press Coverage

View Film and TV Writing Program news briefs and press releases


Killer Films Land 10 Nominations From the Film Independent Spirit Awards

American Fiction, May December and Past Lives lead the nominations for the 2024 Film Independent Spirit Awards, which were were announced Tuesday 



Each film garnered five noms, including best feature. Also nominated in that category are All of Us Strangers, Passages and We Grown Now.

Read more about the nominations from Variety. 

The Wrap Puts Christine Vachon on the Cover, Ranks Stony Brook 28th in Top US Film Schools

the wrap vachon coverChristine Vachon, award-winning producer and artistic director of the Stony Brook University MFA in Film program, is on the cover of The Wrap‘s annual College Issue, in which Stony Brook is ranked 28th among the top 50 film schools in the United States.

Vachon was interviewed for the cover story, subtitled “An indie legend hits the classroom,” and discusses film schools, first-time directors, and the changing face of the entertainment industry. Vachon, who founded Killer Films with producer Pamela Koffler, talks about her experience in the film world and working with directors like Todd Solondz, Celine Song, Paul Schrader and Todd Haynes, whose film May December premiered at this year’s Cannes Film Festival to rave reviews.

“Over the course of 30 years and more than a 100 films, Christine Vachon has become one of the most impactful producers in independent film. And, as the artistic director at Stony Brook Manhattan, one of the most intriguing film educators as well,” the article states. “At Stony Brook, Vachon said that she and Killer Films ‘set out to build a new type of curriculum—a practical education in all forms of visual storytelling, and at state university prices.’ ”

Read more at SBU News and the interview in The Wrap.

From Vanity Fair: Christine Vachon, Hollywood’s Greatest Anomaly

The legendary producer broke Hollywood barriers, changed American movies, and is behind two of 2023’s best films in Past Lives and May December. Her first Oscar nomination is finally in sight: “It would mean an extraordinary amount to me.”

Read the full article in Vanity Fair

Christine Vachon honored at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

christine vachonChristine Vachon, Killer Films co-founder and artistic director of the Stony Brook MFA Program in Film, was honored with a career tribute at the 57th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, held June 30-July 8, 2023.

Vachon provided insight into some of the film industry's most pressing issues at a keynote masterclass session. She spoke about what exhibitors can do to encourage audiences to return to the theaters, whether she would ever make a superhero movie, and looked back at some of the highlights of her career.

She also discussed why she enjoys working with first-time directors, noting, "First-time directors tend to be making the story they really want to tell, and their joy…in what they do is something that gets me excited.”

The career tribute included screenings of her latest film, the buzzy Past Lives, and You Sing Loud, I Sing Louder, starring Ewan McGregor.

Read an interview with Vachon in The Hollywood Reporter.

Karlovy Vary is the largest film festival in the Czech Republic and the most prestigious such festival in Central and Eastern Europe. It is one of the oldest A-list film festivals, a category it shares with the festivals in Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Locarno, San Sebastian, Montreal, Shanghai, and Tokyo.

Perry Blackshear to Direct Horror Feature Mindful Starring Jenny Slate

perry blackshearEverything Everywhere All At Once and Venom star Jenny Slate will star in and executive-produce the horror movie Mindful, about a possessed meditation app that begins to kill its followers.

MFA in Film faculty Perry Blackshear (They Look Like People) will direct from a script by Emmy, Golden Globe and Writers Guild award winner Les Bohem, who wrote — and executive-produced with Steven Spielberg — the SyFi Channel miniseries Taken

In Mindful, when her husband shockingly dies while meditating on the Mindful app, Angela (Slate), deeply suspicious of the new wellness craze, uncovers supernatural forces that have fused with the technology. As the app’s popularity spreads like wildfire, she is forced to confront her own demons and dive into a terrifying ‘out of body’ experience in order to save the ones she loves.

Read more at Deadline.


Screen Daily Interviews Pamela Koffler About Her Life in the Film Business

Producer, Killer Films co-founder and MFA in Film faculty member Pamela Koffler was interviewed by Screen Daily about her life in the film business, covering everything from her office and routine to stars like Meryl Streep.

Read the interview


When I Consume You Is Perry Blackshear's Latest Indie Horror Feature

In its Aug. 15 review, Movieweb said When I Consume You, the latest feature by Perry Blackshear, faculty member in the Stony Brook University MFA in Film Program, continues Blackshear's "trajectory as one of the best indie filmmakers in the horror movie genre."

"In many ways, When I Consume You is about the struggle to find contentment and acceptance amidst the miseries and pains of existence," the review said.

Paste reviewed the film and said its "unsparing horror will eat you alive."

When I Consume You is available on video on demand services beginning August 16.

Christine Vachon to Deliver Sundance: London Keynote

Christine Vachon, Killer Films co-founder and artistic director of the Stony Brook MFA Program in Film, will deliver the keynote speech June 11 at Sundance Film Festival: London.

Vachon spoke with Screendaily about her first Sundance Film Festival and the current state of the film industry.

Read more about the Festival at Variety

Meet Yi-Chiang Lin, Filmmaker/Photographer

January 2022 film graduate Yi-Chiang Lin talks with Shoutout LA about his thesis feature film.

Read the article at Shoutout LA


MFA in Film Programs Host Student Screenings in NYC

On Saturday, October 23, 2021, for the first time since the pandemic lockdown, the Stony Brook MFA in Film hosted its annual end-of-year Production I and Production II screenings at the Cinepolis movie theatre in Chelsea.

Read the full story in SBU News

TV Series Produced by Lisa Thomas and Parker Cowden Named Among September's Best by Time

Teenage Euthanasia, an animated series on Adult Swim produced by two thesis students from the MFA in Film program, was recently named by Time magazine as one of the five best new television shows for September 2021.

Produced by Lisa M. Thomas and associated produced by Parker Cowden, the show is about a partially undead family that owns a Florida funeral home, created by author and Made for Love creator Alissa Nutting and At Home With Amy Sedaris executive producer Alyson Levy.

Read more at SBU News

Patricia Clarkson to Play Lilly Ledbetter in Lilly, Produced by Simone Pero

Patricia Clarkson will play Lilly Ledbetter in the upcoming biopic Lilly, written and directed by Rachel Feldman and produced by Simone Pero, a member of the MFA in Film faculty and a Stony Brook alumna.

Clarkson recently starred with Amy Adams in the HBO series Sharp Objects, for which she won a Golden Globe and an Emmy nomination. She earned an Academy Award nomination for Pieces of April and has received multiple Screen Actors Guild and Tony Award nominations, with numerous Golden Globe, Emmy, National Society of Film Critics, and British Independent Film Awards. 

Lilly is a timely, political thriller based on the remarkable life of Fair Pay icon Lilly Ledbetter, who fought tirelessly for equal pay for equal work.

Read more about the film at its website.

‘Trans in Trumpland’ Documentary Debuts Trailer, Streaming on Topic

A new trailer for the upcoming docuseries Trans in Trumpland, produced by Jamie DiNicola, an MFA in Film student from the incoming class of 2018, has been released. Topic, the streaming service from First Look Media, has acquired North American streaming rights to the series. It premiered on Feb. 25.

Read more about the new series in Vogue and in Variety


Students Lisa Thomas and Parker Cowden Help Produce Netflix Show on Meditation

Second-year MFA students Lisa Thomas and Parker Cowden are working on the new Netflix show, Headspace Guide to Meditation, which will premiere January 1 on the streaming service.

Thomas is a supervising producer and Cowden is an associate producer on the animated series, which is based on the popular meditation app, Headspace.Over the course of eight episodes, Headspace co-founder and former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe takes viewers through the benefits and science behind meditation. Each 20-minute episode showcases a different mindfulness technique that aids in the practice of meditation.

It is one of three series that Netflix and Headspace are creating, including the upcoming Headspace Guide to Sleep.

Thomas is also an executive producer for the Adult Swim animated series Teenage Euthanasia, co-created by Alissa Nutting, a New York Times Editor's Choice writer (Made for Love) and Emmy-nominated producer Alyson Levy.

Read more about the Netflix series at Deadline and at The Hollywood Reporter.

SBU Adds SUNY's First MFA in Television Writing Program

Stony Brook University announced that the New York State Education Department has approved SUNY’s first-ever Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Television Writing. This stand-alone MFA is one of a handful in the country to offer in-depth graduate studies in the burgeoning field of TV Writing.

Located at the Manhattan Center for Creative Writing and Film, and partnered with Killer Films, the Television Writing MFA is among the most comprehensive in the world. Students will graduate with a portfolio of three original pilot scripts; they will also write, direct and produce a micro pilot for an original web series.

Read the complete article at SBU News

Killer Films' Latest Project: Billy Porter's Directorial Debut

Billy Porter will make his feature directorial debut with the coming-of-age story What If? from a screenplay by Alvaro García Lecuona for MGM’s newly relaunched Orion Pictures.

The story centers on a high school senior posting on social media about his crush on Kelsa, a trans girl at his school, resulting in the internet encouraging him to pursue the relationship. The two then navigate a senior year relationship that neither of them could have expected.

Producers are Christine Vachon and David Hinojosa on behalf of Killer Films, along with Andrew Lauren and D.J. Gugenheim on behalf of Andrew Lauren Productions. The project marks the first film under MGM and Killer Films recently announced first-look deal.

Read the complete article in Variety

Killer Films Celebrates 25 Years of Exemplary Indie Cinema

By her own admission, Christine Vachon is not a nostalgic person. This would normally make a conversation about the 25th anniversary of her pioneering independent film company Killer Films a challenge but, luckily, recent events have changed her perspective.

Read the complete article in Variety

James Evans and Amy Gaipa Producing Second Mastic Beach Mini Indie Film Fest

Film program faculty James Evans and Amy Gaipa are co-producing the Mastic Beach Mini Indie Virtual Film Fest, to be held online November 6-8.

Read the complete article at the Long Island Advance

Christine Vachon Speaks with Variety on Gender-Neutral Awards

Christine Vachon, attending the Venice International Film Festival, spoke to Variety about gender-neutral acting awards, which will be given at the Berlin Film Festival in February.

Tilda Swinton and Cate Blanchett both praised the Berlin festival for the move. Vachon, who is serving on the Venice festival's Horizons jury, said the idea was a promising, yet untested, hypothesis. From the magazine:

"In theory, it's a wonderful idea," said Vachon. "And it will be interesting to see how it manifests. How do you reset your brain, either as a jury member or an Academy member — and I'm not saying the Academy will do this — to divorce yourself from the whole notion of best actor and best actress that we've grown up with? How do you reset?"

She then brought up her still ongoing jury duties. "It would change the nature of the conversations," Vachon noted.

"Right now we're talking about a certain set of performances that we feel are very strong by women, and another set of performances that we feel are strong by men. So we would have to meld those conversations. I’m not saying we couldn’t do it, I’m just saying it would be a different kind of discussion."

Read the complete article in Variety

Venice Film Festival Is Memorable for Christine Vachon and Killer Films’ Latest, ‘The World to Come’

The 77th Venice International Film Festival was a memorable one for Christine Vachon, the artistic director of the Stony Brook University MFA in Film program, and Pamela Koffler. Their film, The World to Come, made its premiere at “La Biennale di Venezia,” arriving to outstanding reviews. The event also moved Vachon to post her feelings about the opening ceremony to Facebook, explaining how important films are, especially in a post-COVID world.

Read the complete article at SBU News

James Sharpe’s Film ‘Tom of Your Life’ Is Getting Rave Reviews

Tom of Your Life, a full-length feature produced by MFA in Film graduate James Sharpe, has received rave reviews since its debut last month. In his review in the Chicago Sun-Times, film critic Richard Roeper declares, “This is one of my favorite movies of 2020.”

Read the complete article in SBU News

Social Impact Filmmaking Program Teaches "Passion to Make a Difference"

“The impact of the events of 2020 on filmmaking will be monumental,” said Karen Offitzer, director of the undergraduate minor in filmmaking at Stony Brook and one of three co-directors of the Social Impact Filmmaking program. “It will bring changes in the way we make movies, changes in the way we see them and changes in the very stories we want to tell.”

Read the complete article at SBU News

Grad Yasmine Gomez contributes to Beyoncé's 'Black Is King'

Yasmine Gomez, a January 2020 MFA in Film graduate, was the New York production manager for Beyoncé's visual album Black Is King, which premiered on and is streaming exclusively on Disney +.

Read more about the project at Vox.

Jamie DiNicola producing docuseries 'Trans in Trumpland'

Jamie DiNicola, an MFA in Film student from the incoming class of 2018, is producing the docuseries Trans in Trumpland.

The four-part series, created by TransWave Films and directed by trans filmmaker Tony Zosherafatain, follows four people as they engage in the fight for transgender equality in the United States during the Trump presidency.  Trace Lysette, best known for her work on “Transparent” and in “Hustlers,” has signed on as executive producer.

Read the complete article in Variety. See more coverage from Deadline, in Forbes Magazine and from Them.

Christine Vachon Named One of the 50 Most Powerful LGBTQ Players in Hollywood

Award-winning film producer Christine Vachon, Artistic Director of the Stony Brook University MFA in Film program and co-founder of Killer Films, has been named one of the 50 Most Powerful LGBTQ Players in Hollywood by The Hollywood Reporter.

The magazine’s annual Pride Issue honors “the most powerful LGBTQ people in the industry who are making global culture more inclusive.”

Continue Reading

Killer Films signs first-look development deals with MGM

Killer Films, founded by Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler, has signed  first-look development deals with MGM for both film and television.

Under the two-year agreements, MGM and Killer Films will develop and produce feature films and original scripted series across a variety of genres and platforms. MGM will work closely with Vachon, Koffler and their partner, David Hinojosa, to develop and produce feature films and original scripted series together across a variety of genres and platforms. The announcement was made May 21 by Michael De Luca, MGM’s Film Group Chairman and Steve Stark, President of MGM/UA Television.

Read more at Variety, Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter.


Christine Vachon is the centerpiece interview in Screen Daily

MFA in Film's Artistic Director and co-founder of Killer Films, Christine Vachon, spoke with Screen Daily about the fluctuating state of indie film. From the interview:

One of the things I always tell my students [Vachon is artistic director of the film and television writing MFA at Stony Brook Manhattan in New York City] is that there isn’t a path. And you really have to walk through doors that open for you, especially if you don’t come from money, and I don’t. I knew that film was interesting to me.

Read the complete interview at the Screen Daily website


Simone Pero Selected as a Cynopsis Top Women in Media Honoree

Faculty member and New York Women in Film and Television Board President Simone Pero was honored by Cynopsis as one of its 2019 Top Women in Media. Pero was one of five honorees in the "Community Builder" category.

Read more at the NYWIFT website and at the Cynopsis website

New York Women in Film and Television interview Magdalene Brandeis

New York Women in Film and Television talked shop with MFA in Film Director (& NYWIFT member) Magdalene Brandeis about how our program is turning the film school model on its head.

Read more at the NYWIFT website

Filmmaker puts Mastic Beach in the spotlight with 'Mini Indie' festival

MFA in Film candidate James Evans recently hosted the first annual Mastic Beach Mini Indie Film Fest, which featured a lineup of more than 20 local, experimental, documentary, animation and narrative films.

Read more at Greater Moriches.


Killer Films' First Reformed is a winner at Gotham Awards and National Board of Review

Killer Films picked up three awards for First Reformed, written and directed by Paul Schrader and starting Ethan Hawke. The film was produced by Killer Films; MFA in Film Artistic Director Christine Vachon and faculty member David Hinojosa are also among the producers.

Schrader won the award for Best Screenplay and Hawke for Best Actor at the IFP Gotham Awards on Nov. 26. Schrader also won for Best Original Screenplay when the National Board of Review announced its 2018 list of award winners on Nov. 27.

Read more at The New York Times and at IndieWire.

The Tale's Jennifer Fox talks about her film and collaborating with Simone Pero

In a guest column for Deadline, The Tale writer and director Jennifer Fox talks about the creation of the powerful film, and her collaborative relationship with producer and MFA in Film faculty member Simone Pero.

Read the complete column at Deadline.

Killer Films' Vachon and Hinojosa producing film based on novel by CWL's Merrell

In a Southampton Arts double feature, Christine Vachon and David Hinojosa of Killer Films and the MFA in Film program will co-produce a new film based on the 2014 novel,Shirley, written by Susan Scarf Merrell, director of the Southampton Writers Conference and a professor in the MFA in Creative Writing & Literature program.

The film, also titled Shirley, will star Elizabeth Moss as famed horror author Shirley Jackson, and Michael Stuhlbarg as her husband. Filming is scheduled to begin in the summer.

Read the complete story at Deadline.

Nicole Kidman joins Meryl Streep, Oprah Winfrey in supporting The Writers Lab

The Writers Lab — a project established by the New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) and IRIS and associated with the Stony Brook MFA in Film program — got a boost this week when Nicole Kidman pledged her support, joining Meryl Streep and Oprah Winfrey in funding the program for women screenwriters over 40.

The project, established in collaboration with the Writers Guild of America, East, selects leading filmmakers to provide exclusive mentorship and increase opportunities for content made by women. The program has received funding from Streep every year since its inception in 2015.

"What a wonderful idea," said Kidman, who noted the expanding opprtunities for women during her recent acceptance speech at the Screen Actors Guild Awards for her performance in HBO's Big Little Lies. "A space for women to work with one another to develop the stories they want to tell. I’m a fan already."

The Writers Lab is also supported by The Black List, Relativity Media, and Tribeca Film Institute. The next lab will be held in September 2018.

Read more at the NYWIFT website and at Times Square Chronicles.

Simone Pero-produced The Tale wows Sundance, will premiere on HBO
the tale
The Tale, starring Laura Dern, was produced by Simone Pero.  Image courtesy Sundance Film Festival

Jennifer Fox's sexual abuse survivor film The Tale, produced by Simone Pero — a member of the MFA in Film program faculty and a Stony Brook University alumna — was described by Variety as "the buzziest movie of the 2018 Sundance Film Festival," and after receiving rave reviews, will premiere on HBO.

The film stars Laura Dern as a woman who starts to uncover memories from her childhood involving sexual abuse, and was one of the most talked-about films at Sundance.

According to Variety:

The deal for North American and overseas territories was in the high seven figure range, making it one of the largest pacts out of this year’s Sundance. The Tale will debut along with an outreach program for victims of sexual abuse, which was one of the requests of the filmmakers.

"It has always been my intent to find an engaged distribution partner who deeply understands the wide reach of the project, not just as a film, but also for the impact it can have on a larger global conversation," Fox said in a statement. "In a world in which stories like mine have often been pushed into the darkness, no one has been better at shining a light on storytelling and important social issues than HBO."

Pero is president and founder of For Impact Productions, a strategic marketing and production firm specializing in the confluence of content and social action, and is also president of New York Women in Film and Television. In addition to her producing work, Pero is part of the leadership team that created SUNY's first-ever MFA in Film at Stony Brook, in association with Killer Films.

Read more about The Tale's deal with HBO at Collider. Variety investigates whether the deal signals a paradigm shift.

Aaron Lehmann short film selected to Queens World Film Festival

queens film festivalA short film directed by recent MFA in Film graduate Aaron Lehmann has been named an official selection to the eighth annual Queens World Film Festival.

Lehmann's film, "Violetta," was made in the MFA program and will be shown at the festival, which will be held at the the Kaufman Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria from March 15-25, 2018.

In the filmmaker's note on the festival website, Lehmann describes the film as follows:

"Violetta" is about a young girl striving for human connection in an isolating and dangerous world. It is about the psychological avenues a person might travel when there is an offset of power dynamics within their family, and how Violetta is striving to understand this all; as her soul begins to steer her towards her own independence. Violetta is not aware of her own motivations, and is forced therefore to allow her desires to lead her into strange worlds, interactions, and discovery."

Learn more at the Queens World Film Festival website.


MFA in Film Faculty Simone Pero Addresses the Year for Women in Entertainment at NYWIFT Gala

Film producer Simone Pero, a member of the MFA in Film program faculty and a Stony Brook University alumna, delivered the presidential welcome speech at the New York Women in Film and Television’s 38th annual Muse Awards gala on Thursday, Dec. 14, at the Hilton Midtown in New York.

Pero, the president of the NYWIFT, spoke about the year for women in entertainment, one that has been seen a revolution against sexual harrassment in the industry. Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Hochul and Julie Menin, the commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment also addressed the gathering, both championing the causes of women in entertainment, New York State productions, and zero tolerance for harassment.

Read the full story in Happenings

Listen: Christine Vachon talks film on WNYC

MFA in Film creative director Christine Vachon recently sat down with The New Yorker’s Hilton Als for a conversation about some of her landmark works, including Larry Clark’s Kids, which looked at AIDS and homelessness among New York teens, and Boys Don’t Cry, one of the first movies to address the trans experience. Vachon also discusses her time working with Harvey Weinstein, and the barriers that women face in Hollywood.

Listen to the audio at


Slate profiles Christine Vachon: 'Telling the Stories That Hollywood Won't'

Vachon tells Slate how she has remained successful in a world hostile to both women and midbudget films.

Read the story on


Video: Alan Kingsberg talks about how to break into the TV industry as a writer

Alan Kingsberg speaks with IVY TV and breaks down everything you need to know to make it as a writer in television, from creating a portfolio, to getting yourself noticed and landing an agent, a manager, and a job.

Watch the video at IVY TV


MFA in Film Program ranked by The Wrap among the top 50 in the U.S.

The MFA in Film program was recognized by The Wrap when, on September 20,  it released its ranking of the top 50 film schools in the United States. Stony Brook was ranked 40th in the country, not bad for a program in just its third year.

Read the story at The Wrap


Focus on Women: Stony Brook's MFA in Film leads the way for shaping women directors

Faculty member Simone Pero notes that we're in an auspicious time for cracking the gender gap in film, entertainment and media storytelling in a Happenings story on the Stony Brook Film Festival, where 42 percent of the films are directed by women.

Read the story in Happenings


Christine Vachon, Magdalene Brandeis talk about the state of film with Filmmaker

Christine Vachon, director of the Stony Brook / Killer Films MFA  in Film program, spoke with Filmmaker Magazine in an article titled, "Film Schools in a Time of Disruption." Associate director Magdalene Brandeis was also interviewed, and the pair discussed their thoughts on the current state of the film industry and how film schools are adapting.

Read a summary in Happenings


Bentley Heyman and Helen Schreiner in Montana filming debut feature, Big Fork

Writer-director Bentley Heyman and producer Helen Schreiner met in the SBU/Killer Film Program and are making their first feature film in Whitefish, Montana.

Read more in the Whitefish Pilot



SBS Film Students discover Dogme in East Hampton

From May 13 to May 20, Stony Brook Southampton film students visited sites around East Hampton for a series of linked webisodes using techniques inspired by Dogme 95's ethos for a pared-down, anti-Hollywood approach to filmmaking. 

Read more in The East Hampton Star


'Toy Story' Writer Alec Sokolow joins Dogme filmmaking students In East Hampton

Alec Sokolow, a screenwriter whose credits include co-writing “Toy Story” and “Garfield,” is among six writer-directors making a film in East Hampton.

Mr. Sokolow joined a group of Stony Brook Southampton MFA in Film students in January for a semester-long project that takes a Dogme 95 film from inception to completion. The semester began at the Stony Brook University's Manhattan facility and will now culminate in a six-day film shoot.

Read more in The Southampton Press


Julianne Moore interviews Christine Vachon in Interview Magazine

Best Actress Oscar winner Julianne Moore sat down with MFA in Film director Christine Vachon for an interview published in Interview Magazine and on its website.

Vachon and Moore discuss screening her latest film, Carol, in Cuba, getting started in the movie business, and her longstanding and incredibly productive working relationship with director Todd Haynes.

Read more in Interview here.


Christine Vachon to be named 'Woman of the Year' at Fusion Film Festival

Christine Vachon, director of the MFA in Film program at Stony Brook Southampton and Manhattan and a co-founder of Killer Films, will be named 2016’s ‘Woman of the Year’ by the Fusion Film Festival, the NYU Tisch School of the Arts’ student film fest.

Vachon’s most recent film, Weiner-Dog, directed by Tisch alumnus and graduate faculty member Todd Soldonz, will kick off the festival, which will be held March 3-5. The film will be followed by a conversation and Q&A between Vachon and Soldonz.

Read more in Stony Brook University's Happenings.


Christine Vachon Wins Special Teddy Award at 2016 Berlin Film Festival

christine vachon teddyChristine Vachon, director of the MFA in Film program at Stony Brook Southampton and Manhattan and a co-founder of Killer Films, received the Special Teddy Award February 19 at the Berlin Film Festival.

The Teddy Award is an international film award for films with LGBT topics, presented by an independent jury as an official award of the Berlin International Film Festival.

Vachon discussed her long career at the Berlin festival’s Queer Academy Summit, including her work with Todd Haynes, LGBT cinema and the challenges of financing female-driven films.

Read more in Stony Brook University's Happenings.


Two Films Edited by Jeanne Applegate Featured at Sundance

jeanne applegateFormer Stony Brook MFA and Killer Films 20/20/20 student Jeanne Applegate was the editor on two films featured at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

Applegate edited the feature Dark Night, which was written and directed by Tim Sutton. Dark Night is a 'ripped-from-the-headlines' story that traces the events leading up to a mass shooting in a suburban multiplex. Anna Rose Hopkins, who starred in Darcy Brislin's 20/20/20 short, was cast in Dark Night. Brislin won a Sundance Institute / Sloan Commissioning Grant this year. Read more on Dark Night at Rolling Stone. Read the review at Twitch.

Applegate also co-edited Sebastian Silva's short film, Dolfun, that played at Sundance in the Shorts 2 program. Applegate began working with Silva through Killer Films on the 2015 feature Nasty Baby.


Former Stony Brook / Killer Films Student Wins Sundance Grant

Darcy Brislin, a 2013 graduate of the Stony Brook / Killer Films 20/20/20 program, won a Sundance Institute / Sloan Commissioning Grant, announced Jan. 27 at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

darcy brislin

The grant was one of a slate of awards presented as part of the Sundance Institute Science-in-Film Initiative, made possible by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. $60,000 in awards were presented.

Breslin and Dyana Winkler, co-writers of the film, Bell, will each receive a $12,500 cash award from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Bell is the true story of inventor Alexander Graham Bell, including the controversy surrounding his invention of the telephone and his lesser known work with eugenics and the deaf.

Brislin has developed screenplays with Sundance award-winning director Ondi Timoner, actor Maria Bello, and screenwriter Roger Wolfson. She was a selected participant for filmmaker programs at the Cannes, Berlinale and Telluride Festivals, and received a number of fellowships, including the Killer Films bootcamp led by Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler.


Four Killer Films Features Making Waves at Sundance

killer films wiener-dogMFA in Film partner Killer Films has four films at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival that are gaining attention from the press and the film industry.

Goat, which Southampton MFA students screened and discussed as a test case in Fall 2015, stars Nick Jonas and is directed by Andrew Neel. It is based on Brad Land's 2004 memoir about a college freshman who is subjected to hazing when pledging his older brother's college fraternity. Read more in The Huffington Post, USA Today and Variety.

White Girl is directed by Elizabeth Wood, who was a visiting guest teaching artist as part of the MFA Program Master Class in Spring 2014. The "intense" and "provocative" film stars Morgan Saylor as a college girl who gets caught up a world of drugs and crime. Read more about it and Wood in The Hollywood Reporter, Variety and IndieWire.

Wiener-Dog is the latest from Todd Solondz (Happiness, Welcome to the Dollhouse) and follows the titular dachsund through a series of troubled owners. The comedy was purchased at Sundance by Amazon. Read more in IndieWire and The Verge.

Frank & Lola is a romantic noir from first-time feature director Matthew M. Ross and stars Michael Shannon and Imogen Poots. Read more at IndieWire.

(Photo: Wiener-Dog, courtesy Sundance Film Festival)


Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler Give Keynote Producer's Lunch at Sundance

The power producers behind Carol, Still Alice and more gave an informative keynote speech at the festival's Producers Lunch, providing survival tips for producing.

Details are at IndieWire



Watch How to Create a Killer Resume, the Web Series Created by MFA in FIlm Students

Shot in the Dogme tradition, the seven-episode web series was created this year by students in the MFA in Film program.

How to Write a Killer Resume is written and directed by Melissa Bank, Jill Campbell, Dejan Pavlovic, Tonilyn Sideco, Brad Becker-Parton, Borna Jafari, and Patricia Marx. Starring Juliet Garrett, Shaun Licata, David Rysdahl, Ying Ying Li, Mustafa Gatollari & April Armstrong, and produced with the help of Richie Duque, Lenny Crooks, and Magdalene Brandeis.

The Dogme brotherhood, which included acclaimed Danish filmmakers Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg, took a “vow of chastity” that included limiting themselves to natural lighting, no added sound, and only those props that were available at their chosen location. Read more about the production of the series in The East Hampton Star.


The Wrap: Christine Vachon, Todd Haynes Look to Break Oscar Barrier with 'Carol'

Killer Films co-founder and producer Christine Vachon and director Todd Haynes are indie film icons but neither has been nominated for an Academy Award, something that could change with Carol.

The Wrap talks about the duo possibly breaking the streak with the celebrated and raved-about film, which received six Film Independent Spirit Award nominations on Dec. 1. Carol was nominated for Best Feature, Best Director (Haynes), Best Female Lead (Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara), Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography. 

Carol was nominated for three Gotham Independent Film Awards, including Best Feature, Best Screenplay and Best Actress (Blanchett), but did not win when the awards were presented on Nov. 30. 


Christine Vachon Interviews FIlmmaker Effie Brown

In exclusive video, Vachon chats with the Project Greenlight producer on the challenges involved in filming stories about people of color.


Christine Vachon Joins Five Other Prominent Filmmakers in “Producer’s Roundtable”

Killer Films' co-founder Vachon joins a lively conversation on Compton threats, Tarantino outbursts and the truth behind a Star Wars "firing" in a Hollywood Reporter roundtable also featuring Ice Cube, Scott Cooper, Steve Golin, Simon Kinberg and Stacey Sher.

Read more at The Hollywood Reporter.


Killer Films Is Honored at the Hamptons Film Festival

Killer Films' co-founders Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler were honored with the Hamptons Film Festival's industry award for 20 years of innovative, risky movies and for championing unique voices in independent film. Killer Films has produced movies like Boys Don't Cry; Kids; Still Alice, which made its U.S. premiere on the closing night of last year's Hamptons Film Festival; and the most recent, Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.

Read more at Variety, Indiewire, The Hollywood Reporter and The East Hampton Star.


Video: Mary Harron on How to Get Films Made Regardless of the Budget

At Indiewire, director Mary Harron talks about Killer Films' Christine Vachon's philosophy of "adapting the aesthetic of the film to fit the budget."


Horizon Award for Young Female Directors to Launch Second Annual Indiegogo Campaign

The award was founded by indie film producers Cassian Elwes ('Dallas Buyers Club'), Lynette Howell ('Mississippi Grind') and Christine Vachon ('Carol'). Read more in The Hollywood Reporter.


Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler Talk 'Carol' and Indie Resilience with The Hollywood Reporter

Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about their latest film, Todd Haynes' Carol, which could mark the company's biggest commercial and critical success yet. From the story, available here:

"(Killer Films) runs an MFA program at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where Vachon urges students to banish the word "filmmaker" from their vocabularies. "We have to call ourselves storytellers, content-makers," she says, echoing a central talking point from her South by Southwest keynote talk in March. "If you want to go into the business today, you have to be prepared to make your stories work on all different kinds of platforms."


Killer Films Duo Named to the Gotham 60: Influential New Yorkers in Entertainment and Media

Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler, co-founders of Killer Films, were named to Variety's "Gotham 60: Influential New Yorkers in Entertainment and Media"


Japanese Online Magazine Profiles Southampton's MFA in Film Program

The Stony Brook Southampton MFA in Film program is drawing international attention! The program has now been featured in HEAPS, an online Japanese magazine


Cannes: 'Carol' Producers Christine Vachon, Elizabeth Karlsen Challenge StereotypesProducers Christine Vachon and Elizabeth Karlsen took part in a Women in Motion talk at the Majestic Hotel at Cannes, and proceeded to challenge the stereotypes that are often used to limit both women filmmakers and the movies they are given a chance to make. Read the complete story in The Hollywood Reporter, which includes video of Vachon and Karlsen.


Salma Hayek, Aishwarya Rai and Parker Posey Join Christine Vachon to Hit Back at Gender InequalityThe trio of actresses joined producers Christine Vachon and Elizabeth Karlsen in calling for greater gender equality in film at a forum at the Cannes Film Festival organized by Variety and the United Nations Women's HeForShe campaign. Read more in The Guardian here.


Exclusive Video: Todd Haynes Shares Tips for First-Time FilmmakersThe Velvet Goldmine and I'm Not There director's Cannes-bound film, Carol, functioned as a real-time case study for students in the Stony Brook Graduate Film Program. 



Christine Vachon, Pamela Koffler Among Variety's Top New York Women in Entertainment

Variety's New York Women's Impact Report has been released and it includes Killer Films and Stony Brook MFA Film Program's Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler. The report spotlights innovators, overachievers and executives in the New York entertainment business.

Killer Films' 'Carol' Named to 2015 Cannes Film Festival Lineup

'Carol,' a new film directed by Todd Haynes and produced by Killer Films and Stony Brook's MFA Film Program Director Christine Vachon, has been named to the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.  The film stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Read more in VARIETY.


SXSW: The 8 Best Things Christine Vachon Said at Her Keynote

Film program director Christine Vachon delivered the final keynote of the 2015 SXSW Film Festival. Read highlights from her address here. (Indiewire, March 17, 2015)


Award-Winning Writer-Director Ed Burns Shares Filmmaking Tips in Exclusive Video

In an exclusive video, produced by Stony Brook University in partnership with Indiewire, director and actor Ed Burns talks shifting distribution models, social media marketing and directing actors. (Feb. 26, 2015)  Watch the video here.


Julianne Moore Oscar Nod a Box Office Boon Says 'Still Alice' Producer

Christine Vachon speaks with The Street about how an Oscar win by Julianne Moore would be a box office blessing for a small independent film like 'Still Alice.' Vachon spoke about the MFA in Film program, saying:

The program kind of grew out of the fact that I had taught at quite a few film schools, both on the graduate and undergraduate level. And what I was seeing was that students were not being prepared for this new world.  They weren’t being prepared for this new world where you sort of have to reinvent yourself constantly, and be an artist and an entrepreneur.  So we decided to take the old model, and try to make it as based in reality as we could.  And also do something affordable. I mean, our MFA at Stony Brook is an affordable MFA. We would like our students to be able to come out and work in film if they want to and not be in crushing debt.  The other great thing about our program is how hands on it is – you know at least three of our students got to work on Still Alice, for example, so – hopefully – they can say they worked on an Oscar-winning movie.

View the full video interview here. (Feb. 18, 2015)


SXSW Reveals Christine Vachon as Keynote (Indiewire, Feb. 17, 2015)


SXSW: Producer Christine Vachon to Serve as Keynote Speaker (The Hollywood Reporter, Feb. 17, 2015)


Indie Film Producers and Stony Brook: Partners (East Hampton Star, Feb. 17, 2015)

Christine Vachon discusses the MFA in Film program with the Star:

I had been thinking a lot about how these institutions weren’t really preparing students to earn a living. It’s the old academic issue, there are so many people teaching you who haven’t actually done the thing they’re teaching you how to do. I thought there was a real opportunity here for me and Killer to do an M.F.A. program that really turns all that on its head.

One of the interesting things about our program is that there are people of all different ages and experience levels,” Ms. Vachon said. “The faculty consists of people who are in the field, who are really giving students a blow-by-blow as the world unfolds. Another thing that was so appealing about Stony Brook is that it’s affordable.

Read the full story here.


In 'Still Alice,' Director Couple Tells A Story That Mirrors Their Own

Co-directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland shared with NPR their own story, one that parallels that of the film. Read more at


Berlin: ‘Nasty Baby’ Takes Teddy Award, ‘My Skinny Sister’ Picks Up Kplus Prize

Southampton film student Jeanne Applegate has an editor credit on Nasty Baby, which was featured at the Berlin Film Festival. Read the story at


Alexandra Stergiou Has Video Featured on This American Life

Former film student Alexandra Stergiou was one of the directors of photography for the first video in This American Life's online series, "Videos 4 U."

The video, "I Love You," premiered on the This American Life YouTube channel on February 12, 2015, and was featured in The New York Times article, "Would an Emoticon Have Taken Eight Years?"

The "Videos 4 U" series seeks people who have a personal message that they wanted help delivering.

Ms. Stergiou — pictured at right along with former Southampton Arts film student Jason Evans — helped tell the story of Maia Leppo and Alex Kobzik, who have been in an eight-year relationship but had not said the words "I love you" to each other. The video was Ms. Leppo's way of telling Mr. Kobzik how she felt.

The video was made by Bianca Giaever and This American Life with m ss ng p eces.

Watch the video here:


State Education Department Approves First-Ever Film MFA For Stony Brook Southampton (The Southampton Press, Feb. 10, 2015)


PBS NewsHour interviews Christine Vachon in report from the Sundance Film Festival

Christine Vachon is featured in a report by Jeffrey Brown on what an indie movie deal means in the age of on-demand.


Deadline Talks with Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler About 20 Years in Indie Films

Deadline's Dominic Patten interviewed Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler at the recent Sundance Film Festival about Killer Films and its "20 solid years as an indie powerhouse."

From the article:

"To help the next generation of filmmakers navigate some of those landmines, the duo started a Masterclass program with Stony Brook University a few years back. Like some of the lessons from Vachon's books Shooting To Killer and A Killer Life, the six-hour workshop teaches the skills for getting a film made and getting it seen. "Part of the reason we started this program is because we feel like there's a lot of young filmmakers that are not getting the tools they need in the films schools to really enter this new world," says Vachon.

Adds Koffler: "One thing we tell young filmmakers frequently, especially the ones in our program, is you really have to be much more entrepreneurial now as a storyteller and wear a lot of different kinds of hats. Filmmakers do themselves no favors when they don’t really learn about that side of the business."

Read the complete story HERE.


Maria Shriver Spotlights the Women Who Made 'Still Alice'

Maria Shriver, one of the executive producers of the Golden Globe winning and Oscar-nominated film Still Alice, shined the spotlight on the women who made Still Alice, including our own Pamela Koffler, and how the film takes aim at defeating Alzheimer's Disease.

Read more at Shriver's blog here.


Stony Brook University Opens Its Doors to New MFA Course in Film (Indiewire, Feb. 5, 2015)


Stony Brook Southampton Adds First MFA Degree in Film in The SUNY System (Southampton Patch, Feb. 4, 2015)


SBU Film Students Credited for Work on Award-Winning Still Alice

Three Stony Brook University film students were credited participants in the full-length film Still Alice, nominated today for a 2014 Academy Award® for “Best Actress in a Leading Role” and winner of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globe Award for “Best Actress,” for Julianne Moore

Read more here.

Three Stony Brook University film students were credited participants in the full-length film Still Alicenominated today for a 2014 Academy Award® for “Best Actress in a Leading Role” and winner of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globe Award for “Best Actress,” for Julianne Moore - See more at:


julianne moore

Killer Films' Still Alice Nets Golden Globe Win with Julianne Moore

Still Alice, a movie co-produced by Stony Brook-connected Killer Films, picked up a Golden Globe for Best Lead Actress in a Motion Picture (Drama) in the annual awards ceremony televised Sunday evening.

The honor went to Julianne Moore, who portrays a woman afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease in the prime of her life.

Killer Films was co-founded by legendary producer and indie film powerhouse Christine Vachon, a Stony Brook faculty member who directs the graduate film program at Stony Brook Southampton.

Read more at Happenings HERE.


The Dogme95 Avante-Garde Filmmaking Movement Lives On

The Dogme95 avante-garde filmmaking movement is alive again at Southampton Arts thanks to Stony Brook/Killer Films. Read more in the East Hampton Star and at 27


Lauren Wolkstein Talks Stony Brook Southampton and Killer Films’ 20/20/20 Filmmaking Intensive

Sarah Salovaara talks with Lauren Wolkstein, one of Filmmaker Magazine's 2013 25 New Faces of Film, about the Southampton filmmaking workshop and the significance of pedagogy in filmmaking. Read more at Filmmaker Magazine here.


Todd Haynes Greets Filmmakers at Stony Brook Southampton

Filmmakers participating in the Stony Brook Southampton’s summer shorts 20-day intensive production workshop were given a warm welcome on Monday with an opening discussion with Todd Haynes, the director of “Far from Heaven,” “Velvet Goldmine,” “I’m Not There,” “Mildred Pierce,” “Safe,” and many other original and provocative films.

Read the complete story at the East Hampton Star here.