Christine Vachon On IndieCollect's New Kickstarter Campaign

Christine Vachon On IndieCollect's New Kickstarter Campaign

The prolific filmmaker explains the importance of the non-profit's new campaign dedicated to unearthing and preserving independent films

The prolific filmmaker explains the importance of the non-profit's new campaign dedicated to unearthing and preserving independent films

Text: SAMUEL ANDERSON

Carol (2015)

If the success of the 2015 film Carol, which centered on a same-sex love interest portrayed by Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, proved that Hollywood was beginning to wean off some of its ever-persistent norms, that triumph can be traced back to when director/producer duo Todd Haynes and Christine Vachon first teamed up as young filmmakers in New York City in the late eighties. That’s when they founded APPARATUS, a hatchery for experimental films written and directed by Haynes, Vachon, and others who would go on to shape the indie genre throughout the '90s and beyond.

Now, with Vachon's support, film preservation non-profit group IndieCollect has launched a Kickstarter campaign to unearth eight of these cinematic Easter eggs, which range between 11 and 45 minutes in length, varying in subject matter from a love story between a merman and a human male in Anemone Me (1990) to He Was Once (1989), a live-action parody of the Lutheran-themed animated series Davey and Goliath.

Anemone Me (1990)

This rash of countercultural filmmaking predated the online crowd-funding campaigns that today are lifelines to most filmmakers with weird ideas, and, as Vachon told us, the original storytelling that has become the hallmark of the indie genre:

“This idea that you could make a narrative film that still felt subversive. Because up until that time, it seemed like there was a very distinct divide between Hollywood filmmaking and everything else, and everything else was highly experimental. So the idea that you could make something that still required production and was still telling a story, but was telling a story that didn’t usually get told, was really fascinating.”

He Was Once (1989)

Vachon would eventually help bridge that divide by churning out films praised as both social and artistic contributions, from Kids (1995) to Boys Don’t Cry (1999) through her production company Killer Films. APPARATUS would shutter, and the negatives would sit undisturbed in an archive until 2014, when the archive was shut down. That’s when IndieCollect came across them, and approached Haynes and Vachon about the Kickstarter.

“Of course we were extremely excited about this, and said yes immediately,” said Vachon. “They’re a really interesting piece of specific New York independent filmmaking, and it’s a piece of our collective history."

Oreos With Attitude (1991)

In addition to stirring up the early works of APPARATUS, Vachon’s first foray into the Kickstarter landscape represents a throwback to the ground-up financing—a model that’s changing even within Vachon’s own oeuvre. Amazon Studios, a new frontier in financing outside the traditional studio system, will produce her and Haynes’s next collaboration, Wonderstruck starring Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams.

Despite these changes, Vachon believes that when it comes to the drive create, not much has changed: “There was a spirit in the late '80s, early '90s of do-it-yourself filmmaking that’s really come back around in a big way. At the end of the day, things always come full circle.”

If the Kickstarter campaign reaches its goal of $40,000 by July 27, finally bringing these unseen works to a wide audience, those words will never have been truer.

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