Christine Vachon, whose 2013 film “Kill Your Darlings” received positive praise at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, is one of the big names to join Stony Brook’s new film faculty.
Stony Brook Southampton was able to launch a new graduate film program this year that is drawing a lot of attention due to its partnership with Christine Vachon and Killer Films, and for the first time, students will be able to learn the business of making movies and receive a MFA in film.
It was Magdalene Brandeis, a producer with a background in series production and director of Manhattan programming, who initiated bringing in Vachon to partner with Stony Brook.
When developing the program, Brandeis thought it would be great to bring in a really “high-end” someone to create a profile. She said her friend provided her with a list of names and pointed out Vachon’s name at the top, insinuating that she is the person to go for.
With Vachon on board, the next move was to set up meetings between Vachon and Robert Reeves, associate provost at Southampton campus, and that is when everything fell into place.
“It was a really great natural fit,” Brandeis said about Vachon. “She was right away very forthcoming, very open about what her interests are and what she was looking for.”
The first step for students is to develop and idea. Students enter the program with a vision of something that they want to create and throughout a two semester course sequence they are able to put their ideas into action to create a short film with the help of professionals who have experience in the field, including Vachon and her partner at Killer Films Pamela Koffler, who, between them, have produced approximately 80 films.
Another new addition to the Southampton faculty who will help guide students through the film program is Lenny Crooks. Crooks works with Killer Films on its developmental slate and has more than 20 years of experience in the film industry.
The door to enter this new world of film and Stony Brook is open to anybody. Whether it is a Broadway producer who wants to learn how to move into feature films or a doctor who has a vision of learning how to produce a show about first responders. People from any discipline are welcome to take classes, not just those who already have a background in film.
Credited and non-credited classes are available for those who wish to peruse a degree in film or for those who already have the knowledge of producing or screen-writing and would just like to try and learn a different skill or view.
Currently, courses are being offered where students learn how to budget, schedule and finance a feature film.
Stony Brook’s partnership with Killer Films is what draws people into the new program. Killer Films is an independent film production company based in New York that has produced a number of acclaimed films.
“We are creating a content partnership,” Brandeis said when discussing the goal of all of this, in addition to creating an academic program. “In science, there is a long term tradition of research and then partnering with a corporation to develop something and what we are working on at Southampton arts is a model of public private partnership.”
Brandeis describes Stony Brook Southampton as the “creative hub” partnering with a business, Killer Films, to generate their own content.
“We’ve been growing, and then it became clear that this is how we can grow,” Brandeis saidabout the launch of the new program.