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Killer sets sights on Hollywood

Vachon's shingle sent to West Coast

First the indies took over the Oscars. Now they’re taking on Hollywood.

Christine Vachon’s Killer Films, one of the most quintessentially New York indie shingles, has set up a satellite office in Los Angeles, which is being run by Killer Films producer Jocelyn Hayes.

Move doesn’t necessarily mean more movies for Killer, but it puts the company in closer contact with West Coast talent and filmmakers. It’s also part of Killer’s overall growth strategy as it produces films with a wide range of budgets.

Killer’s first TV foray, “Mrs. Harris,” a biopic of the murderous headmistress Jean Harris that starred Annette Bening, recently bowed on HBO.

The shingle’s next theatrical release is “The Notorious Bettie Page,” starring Gretchen Mol as the notorious 1950s pin-up. Picturehouse is distribbing.

“We are a New York fixture,” Vachon admitted to Daily Variety, “but I also feel like we’re always trying to work both coasts. While we’ve been absolutely stellar at covering the New York film, literary, theater and musical scenes, we’ve never quite attempted to penetrate what was happening in L.A.

“What makes New York so great is that it’s such a cultural stew. I think the same is true of L.A. You may just have to dig a little deeper.”

Producer John Wells, Killer’s equity investor who’s based on the Warner Bros. lot, encouraged the move. Killer’s new office is in the same building as Wells’.

The move does not affect Vachon’s schedule, who even before the expansion was spending a week each month in L.A.

Hayes says that being in Hollywood “definitely speeds up the process.”

“Being around agents and financiers, and having your ear to the ground, knowing what the other projects are out there helps,” she said. “Not being in L.A. and not being aware of the competition probably made us naive in a good way, because we would just charge forward. But it’s always good to be in the middle of things.”

Vachon added: “Not everything is about setting (projects) up, but it’s about being able to pursue the relationships that already exist in L.A. and being able to have a little more face time with people located there.”

Killer recently wrapped Warner Independent’s “Infamous,” a Truman Capote biopic written and directed by Doug McGrath. Pic bows this fall. Shingle also is at work on “I’m Not There,” an unconventional biopic of Bob Dylan that Todd Haynes is directing.