Christine 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. This year, a dedicated “Teddy30” lineup of classic LGBT-related films was screened as a full program of the festival to celebrate the award’s 30th anniversary.
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.
Vachon was in Berlin in 1991 with Haynes’ first feature, “Poison,” which won that year’s Teddy Award. Asked whether she missed the more chaotic, less institutionalized nature of the queer award 25 years ago, Vachon responded: “I’m not much for nostalgia. I don’t really like to look backwards. What I think is pretty amazing is that 30 years ago the Teddy existed. When we got to Berlin with ‘Poison,’ we were told that there was an award we could win, and we were like, ‘For a gay movie?’ In a festival that isn’t known as a gay film festival, that felt really revolutionary. That was extraordinary.”
Vachon is one of the producers of Andrew Neel’s frat hazing drama Goat, which premiered at Berlin. As part of the Teddy’s 30th anniversary special showcase, Vachon also presented John Cameron Mitchell’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which won the Berlin queer award in 2001.
Vachon and Killer Films also produced Carol, a lesbian romantic drama that has received more than 180 industry and critics nominations and over 50 awards, including six Academy Award nominations. Carol earned Best Film, Director, Screenplay and Cinematography awards from the New York Film Critics Circle, and was selected as one of the Top Ten Films of the year by the American Film Institute.
View a video interview of Vachon by Germany’s Deutsche Welle News about how LGBT cinema has moved from the margins to the mainstream.