is moving closer to its goal of establishing a graduate program in film with the addition of a new faculty member who has a celebrated career as a film and television producer.
Christine Vachon's credits run more than 60 films long, including serving as producer of "Boys Don't Cry," "I'm Not There" and the new release "Magic Mike." In the realm of television, she was the executive producer of "This American Life" on Showtime and "Mildred Pierce" on HBO.
Vachon is a principal of independent production company Killer Films, which she brings with her to the Stony Brook Southampton campus in Shinnecock Hills.
Stony Brook Southampton Associate Provost Robert Reeves said the partnership with her production company makes Vachon's addition to the faculty especially exciting.
Killer Films will split its operations between Manhattan and the college, and offer internships and learning labs to Stony Brook students in both locations, according to a university statement.
The new graduate program will also ally itself with the , an annual event at the Staller Center on the university's main campus.
“It’s a real coup to get Christine Vachon," said Alan Inkles, Staller Director and founder of the film festival. "She has enormous credibility within the film industry, and she is absolutely in tune with what’s happening today in film. Having her at the helm of a new graduate program is extremely good news for the University and for the Southampton campus.”
The university said the graduate program with also take advantage of Stony Brook's academic programs in science and technology.
“By adapting to the enormous changes in technology and extending our existing strengths in all forms of storytelling, we can put Stony Brook Southampton at the forefront of master’s level education in film," Reeves said.
Vachon said that revolutionary changes in technology have made filmmaking more accessible, and students enter film programs with greater literacy in visual storytelling than ever before. She envisions a new model of instruction that embraces new platforms for distribution.
“The goal,” Vachon said, “is to match the reality of the film business today. That means turning the traditional film school on its head.”
The program will train filmmakers to be "platform agnostic," according to the university. Vachon said she plans to pursue partnerships with YouTube, Google, AOL — "any platform eager to develop a channel for short and feature-length visual storytelling,”
“They need content, which we can provide, creating high-profile opportunities for budding auteurs to get their work made and get it seen,” she added.
Vachon was welcomed to the faculty and honored at the fifth annual Stony Brook Southampton Pakula Prize ceremony last week at the Avram Theater.