(Limelight). A Killer Life is a book about just that: the killer life of an alternative film producer who's forged her own path of success between the disparate pillars of art and commerce. Strong, steady, creative, loyal, funny, artistic, and doggedly determined to produce films that have meaning and substance and staying power in the pantheon of great cinema, Christine Vachon, a member of the Academy and born and bred on the realistic, unforgiving streets of New York City, is one of the most important people working behind the scenes in the film industry today. How did she get there? Why do directors love her? What does it take to produce great movies? What happened on the set of Kids ? These answers and more are in her book!
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Interested in the travails of big-time creative movie producers? Check out Vachon's entertainingly brooding story, that of a producer of such edgy yet profitable films as Boys Don't Cry and Far from Heaven. More than the grandiose Robert Evans (Urban Cowboy, Chinatown--but also The Cotton Club), who memorably chronicled his career in autobio The Kid Stays in the Picture (1994), Vachon tightrope-walks between making engaging movies and turning a profit, which nowadays means earning enough to ensure further opportunities to film stories different from the current mainstream fare of feelings-heavy weepers and gratuitous-explosion capers. Despite Vachon's proven track record, bottom-line considerations are never far from her consciousness, and the ingenious ways in which she deals with that situation provide much fodder for ironic reflection and pointed exposition. Her tale of professional ups and downs engagingly describes the Hollywood firmament that lies between the heady realm of big-timers like Evans and the hand-to-mouth existence of ground-level filmmakers like Lloyd Kaufman of Toxic Avenger fame. A fine, informative, entertaining addition to -inside-Hollywood literature. Mike Tribby
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The day-to-day life of independent film production is not the stuff of charming anecdotes on DVD commentaries. Instead, as Vachon skillfully explicates, it is a constant and difficult struggle between the competing influences of artistic vision and the always present bottom line. As the head of Killer Films, which has produced such alternative hits as Boys Don't Cry and Far from Heaven, Vachon is in a difficult position: she is an insider whose job is to constantly support outsider stories. The financial reality of the world she chronicles provides the drama that sustains this empathetic and thoroughly engaging memoir. Vachon's voice is likable and slightly neurotic, allowing the reader to develop a rooting interest in her continual quest to secure financing for often controversial films. Though Vachon's account is slightly hampered by her obvious bias toward her own films, the book teems with the veracity that can only come from hard-earned experience. This is an immensely appealing view into the expensive reality of imaginative filmmaking. (Sept.)
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