CANNES — Producer Christine Vachon and her Killer Films are in Cannes this week touting her latest slate of high-profile indie pics, including Tim Blake Nelson’s “The Grey Zone,” Isaac Mizrahi’s “The Extra Man,” Mary Harron’s “The Ballad of Bettie Page” and Whit Stillman’s “Red Azalea.”
“Last year, we had a great year with ‘Velvet Goldmine’ and ‘Happiness,’ ” Vachon said. “This year, we started off with a bang by making ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ a big sale at Sundance. I just think we’re gathering steam all the time.”
Acknowledging the work of her partner Pamela Koffler and development exec Eva Kolodner, Vachon cited a deal with G2 Films as the key to her development slate of some 18 pics.
G2 is key
“It’s allowed us more freedom in development,” she said. “We’re making our first movie with them now, ‘Crime and Punishment in High School,’ though the title will probably change. It’s just let us have more continuity and more stability.”
Among the slew of pics in development for Killer:
- “The Grey Zone,” which Nelson will direct with Harvey Keitel and Peggy Gormley’s production banner the Goatsingers attached as exec producer. Keitel and Ben Stiller will also appear in the pic, which follows five prisoners in Auschwitz. Film was inspired by the memoirs of Dr. Miklos Nyiszil, a Hungarian Jew who was hand-picked by Josef Mengele to be Auschwitz’s head pathologist.
- “The Extra Man,” with designer Mizrahi making his debut as a director. Pic is based on the bestselling novel by Jonathan Ames about the friendship between a young man and the eccentric old codger from whom he rents a room.
- “Red Azalea,” written and helmed by Stillman. Pic is based on Anchee Min’s nonfiction book of the same title, about brutal oppression and the resilience of the human spirit in China under Mao.
Party boy murderer
- “Disco Bloodbath,” directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato. Pic is a true story about Michael Alig, the notorious Gotham party promoter who was convicted of murdering one of his own devotees. According to Vachon, “He sends us casting ideas from prison.”
- “Black Monk Time,” directed and written by Tom Kalin (“Swoon”). Pic is the true story of the Monks, one of the bands that invented punk rock.
- “The Ballad of Bettie Page,” written by Harron and Guinevere Turner and directed by Harron. Pic is based on the life of the cult icon of the title, a famous kinky pinup girl.
- “How to Marry a Billionaire,” helmed by Bruce Wagner from his own script. Pic is a farce about the status-obsessed world of modern L.A.
- “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” directed, written and starring John Cameron Mitchell. Vachon and Killer came on board as producers for the pic, which New Line Cinema is setting up.
- “The Passion,” written and helmed by Kasi Lemmon, about the destinies of Napoleon’s faithful cook and the daughter of a Venetian boatman, for Miramax Films.
- “Hip Hop America,” based on the book by Nelson George about a young upstart band in the hip-hop world.
- “The Little Fellow in the Attic,” written and directed by Joe Berlinger, about the love affair between a wealthy socialite and the tiny man who lived for decades in her attic.
- “The Lottery,” written and helmed by Dan Minahan. Pic is a satire about reality TV concerning a state-sponsored and televised competition to the death between five contestants chosen at random.
- “The Safety of Objects,” written and directed by Rose Troche, based on a series of short stories by A.M. Homes about four suburban families.
- “Saving Grace,” directed by Kalin. Pic is the true story of the heir to the Bakelite fortune, involving a twisted family history of obsession and incest.
- “Simply Halston,” written and helmed by Minahan, about the rise of the fashion superstar.
- “The Story of Junk,” directed by Tim Hunter from Linda Yablonsky’s bestselling novel about one woman’s thriving heroin business run out of her East Village apartment.