Sign two-year, first-look deal

MGM specialty unit Goldwyn Films, providing the strongest indication of its filmmaking direction since its formation last fall, has inked its first production and development deal, signing Gotham-based indie producing team Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler to a two-year, first-look pact.

Vachon’s Killer Films, whose production credits include such niche indie features as “I Shot Andy Warhol,” “Safe” and “Kids,” is expected to become a key element of the Goldwyn unit’s strategy, according to Wendy Palmer, the London-based CEO of Goldwyn Films.

Killer Films is not only likely to provide a considerable segment of the Goldwyn slate, but will serve as an unofficial New York office for MGM’s indie unit.

“Christine has amazing relationships with East Coast-based talent,” Palmer said. “Working closely with our Los Angeles and London offices, Killer Films can be our eyes and ears in the New York film scene and a cornerstone in the future development of this company.”

The Killer/Goldwyn matchup — also Vachon’s first development deal — is not a complete surprise. Palmer, during her days as top exec at now-defunct Ciby Sales, the London-based sales arm of French film company Ciby 2000, had brought in and sold Vachon’s Todd Haynes project “Velvet Goldmine.”

No new projects have been set up yet under the Goldwyn deal, Vachon said. Most importantly, she explained, the pact will enable her to handle more film projects and material than ever before.

“It will finally give me access to a steady source of development money, which is always the bane of an independent producer‘s existence,” Vachon said. “We’ve been attracting talent and now will have the resources and staff to really deal with it.”

Vachon and Koffler currently are in post-production on “Velvet Goldmine,” which stars Ewan McGregor. Miramax will release that film domestically, and Goldwyn will distribute internationally. Killer Films also is engaged in post-production tasks on Todd Solondz’s still-untitled new feature starring Lara Flynn Boyle, and is producing “I’m Losing You,” based on the novel by Bruce Wagner.

Other Vachon productions include Haynes’ “Poison,” Tom Kalin’s “Swoon” and Nigel Finch’s BBC production “Stonewall.”

The Goldwyn unit, which will engage in production, acquisition and overseas sales, is run by MGM theatrical distribution chief Larry Gleason and marketing president Gerry Rich. The banner’s first film release, Pedro Almodovar’s “Live Flesh,” has grossed $591,548 since its debut Jan. 16.

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