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First Oscar nomination goes to Stony Brook University filmmaker

Past Lives stars Teo Yoo and Greta Lee as Hae Sung and Nora, childhood friends who reconnect years later.
Stony Brook University
Past Lives stars Teo Yoo and Greta Lee as Hae Sung and Nora, childhood friends who reconnect years later.

A Stony Brook University filmmaker has been nominated for an Oscar.

“I mean I think we made a terrific movie… you know, from a first time director, and great stories always impact the community in a great way,” said Christine Vachon, artistic director for the university's MFA in Film program.

Vachon produced the film Past Lives, a romantic drama that premiered in early June 2023. The movie highlights childhood best friends, Nora and Hae Sung, from South Korea. After Nora’s family moved to New York City, the duo were separated for 20 years. They reconnected for one week in the Big Apple — and fell in love.

In addition to her work as a producer, Vachon founded the independent television company Killer Films in 1995. The indie film company is responsible for the production of movies like May December, Carol, Far from Heaven and Past Lives. 

Despite her long career in the industry, this is Vachon’s first Oscar nomination by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. At the university, she recommends young professionals look for any opportunity to get into the industry.

“It's important to really walk through whatever door is open for you,” Vachon said. “Sometimes you don't get offered the kind of job you want initially, and you get offered something in a different part of the film business or content creation business, and I think it's really important to explore.”

The award ceremony is scheduled for March 10 at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood.

Maya Duclay is a news intern at WSHU for the spring of 2024.