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“It’s Always Fascinating to Realize the Divergence of Feelings and Meanings”: Editor Yorgos Mavropsaridis on Olla

Olla, an Eastern European woman, finds herself in a sketchy situation after she answers a dating ad and moves to the French suburbs to live with Pierre and his aging mother. Editor Yorgos Mavrosaridis talks about collaborating with director Ariane Labed and his natural penchant for the process. Filmmaker: How and why did you wind up being the editor of your film? What were the factors and attributes that led to your being hired for this job? Mavropsaridis: It was Ariane’s choice. I happily accepted after reading the script. Filmmaker: In terms of advancing your film from its earliest assembly to […]

“We Took a Minimalist, Naturalistic Approach”: DP Charlie Sarroff on Relic

The devastation of dementia is translated into a haunted house horror film in Natalie Erika James’ Relic. It follows Edna (Robyn Nevin) after she mysteriously disappears from her home, causing her daughter and granddaughter great worry. She eventually returns without an idea of where she was, and it appears that something sinister follower her back. DP Charlie Sarroff talks about the inspirations for the visual style of Relic and the equipment that made it happen. Filmmaker: How and why did you wind up being the cinematographer of your film? What were the factors and attributes that led to your being […]

“It Was Important to Draw Out Tension and Let the Awkwardness Breathe”: Editor Sean Lahiff on Relic

Natalia Erika Jame adapts the real-world terror of degenerative disease into a supernatural horror film in Relic. Edna, an aging woman, is feared for by her daughter and granddaughter after she abruptly disappears, leaving in her wake the signs of someone struggling with dementia. One day, she inexplicably returns, and a dangerous entity may have come back with her. Editor Sean Lahiff talks about why he so enjoys editing the “darker side of genre films.”  Filmmaker: How and why did you wind up being the editor of your film? What were the factors and attributes that led to your being […]

“Feels as if Time Is Unspooling in Front of Our Eyes”: Editor Gabriel Rhodes on Time

Fox and Rob Rich are married, but they’ve been apart for 21 years—Rob is currently serving a 60-year sentence for a crime that they both committed. Fox has been diligently fighting for the release of her husband, while also filming home footage to share with Rob so he can watch his six children grow and observe the home life he cannot be a part of. Garrett Bradley’s documentary feature debut Time explores the violent oppression of African American people entrenched in America’s prison system and editor Gabriel Rhodes elaborates on the process of weaving archival, home and interview footage together […]

Impact Partners Executive Director Jenny Raskin on Financing, Fellowships, and Following the Filmmakers’ Lead

From 2018’s feature doc Oscar winner Icarus, to 2019’s Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary recipient Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, to the Sundance Grand Jury Prize nabbing Of Fathers and Sons and Dina (in 2018 and 2017, respectively), Impact Partners has been behind some of the most critically acclaimed nonfiction work of recent years. The company’s winning streak, however, actually goes back a decade, all the way to 2010’s Academy Award for Documentary Feature recipient The Cove. And Impact Partners itself goes back even further. Founded in 2007 by Dan Cogan and Geralyn Dreyfous with a mission to bring […]

“I’m a Massive Expert on Horses”: Editor Jamie Pearson on Dream Horse

Welsh director Euros Lyn adapts a true story about one woman’s determination to prove people wrong in Dream Horse, starring Toni Collette as Jan, a waitress who suddenly takes up the challenge of breeding a racehorse, with both skeptics and supporters by her side. Sure enough, Dream Alliance, the horse and the syndicate, become horse racing champions. Editor Jamie Pearson explains how he came up in the industry, how the narrative for Dream Horse was shaped and also divulges a few spoilers. “ Filmmaker: How and why did you wind up being the editor of your film? What were the […]

“Time Is Always the Biggest Challenge”: DP Zach Kuperstein on The Climb

In Michael Covino’s The Climb, best friends Kyle (Kyle Marvin) and Mike (Michael Covino) embark on a bike ride in the south of France to celebrate Kyle’s impending marriage to a French woman. In the process, Mike admits to having slept with Kyle’s fiancée, causing an understandable riff in their friendship. Presented as one long take, DP Zach Kuperstein divulges the intricacies of the unorthodox process of filming The Climb.  Filmmaker: How and why did you wind up being the cinematographer of your film? What were the factors and attributes that led to your being hired for this job? Kuperstein: […]

“The More Real We Could Make the Film, the More Unsettling It Would Feel”: Editor Benjamin Moses Smith on Spree

In Eugene Kotlyrenko’s Spree, a rideshare driver, Kurt (Joe Keery), dreams of social media fame—but he’ll settle for notoriety. He decks his car out with eight cameras and livestreams something called #TheLesson, which quickly results in carnage. Editor Benjamin Moses Smith talks about the editing of a “live stream” movie, the sensitive material integral to the film and his impending title as “the best “8 cameras mounted inside of a car editor in the world.” Filmmaker: How and why did you wind up being the editor of your film? What were the factors and attributes that led to your being […]

“I Wanted to Fight for the Pictures”: DP Jake Swantko on The Dissident

The global controversy—and subsequent cover-up—surrounding the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is the subject of Bryan Fogel’s documentary The Dissident. After the news broke about Khashoggi’s murder, Fogel reached out to DP Jake Swantko, and the two immediately began collaborating on the documentary, traveling to interview Khashoggi’s fianceé, close friend and insurgent Omar Abdulaziz and others. Swantko shares his experience with the often dangerous aspects of making a documentary about a highly politicized figure.  Filmmaker: How and why did you wind up being the cinematographer of your film? What were the factors and attributes that led to your being […]

“Omission Is a Powerful Storytelling Tool”: Editor Sara Shaw on The Climb

Two best friends embark on an extensive bike ride in the south of France—one of the friends, Kyle (Kyle Marvin) is getting married to a French woman, and his best friend Mike (Michael Covino) is working up the guts to tell his friend he’s slept with the bride-to-be. Presented as one continual long shot, The Climb (also directed by Michael Covino) examines this codependent friendship in what appears to be real-time. Editor Sara Shaw takes Filmmaker through the challenges of editing continuous shots, figuring out the trajectory of a narrative and the power of what isn’t shown. Filmmaker: How and why […]

“Editing Is a Process of Trial and Error and Personal Instincts”: Editor Jeff Gilbert on Boys State

Documentary filmmakers Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine look to 1,000 17-year-old boys from across the state of Texas in order to examine the state of American democracy in Boys State. The film follows a cohort of teenagers tasked with building a representative government from the ground up, each boy vying for the top title at the Texas Boys State competition—governor. What seems almost too akin to Lord of the Flies to result in anything similar to a functioning government actually perfectly reflects the current state of American politics. Editor Jeff Gilbert shares his insight on what made the film so […]

“I Cried Many Times Watching Clare Dunne’s Powerful Performances”: Editor Rebecca Lloyd on Herself

In Phyllida Lloyd’s Herself, single mother Sandra (Clare Dunne) struggles to support and accommodate her two daughters in Dublin after leaving her abusive husband. Realizing that the system in place is not designed to provide any meaningful support, Sandra reaches the conclusion that she is the only one who is able (and willing) to affect any real change in her own life. She decides to build a house—literally from the ground up—in order to ensure that she and her daughters have stability and security in the future. Editor Rebecca Lloyd shares insight into her roots as an editor, what it […]

“The Film I Imagined on That First Read Came to Life Before My Eyes in the Edit”: Editor Patrick Lawrence on Scare Me

In Josh Ruben’s Scare Me, two strangers, stuck in a secluded cabin during a power outage, tell each other scary stories to pass the time. As tensions rise and fears are heightened throughout this horror-comedy, Fred must also face his own insecurities as a writer. The film’s editor, Patrick Lawrence, discusses the challenges of best showcasing the performative scary stories that make up the film, as well as the ways in which his background in music has influenced his editing style. Filmmaker: How and why did you wind up being the editor of your film? What were the factors and attributes […]

“Forgiveness is a Big Part of the Movie”: Director Lynne Sachs on her Slamdance-Premiering Doc, Film About a Father Who

Lynne Sachs has been making films since Drawn and Quartered in 1986. Her latest, the documentary Film About a Father Who, screens January 24, the opening night of Slamdance. Her father, Ira Sachs, Sr., helped turn Park City, Utah, into a destination resort. In documenting his life, Sachs uncovers a web of secrets. Film About a Father Who will also screen at Doc Fortnight 2020, MoMA’s Festival of International Nonfiction Film and Media on February 11 and 14. Sachs’ 2019 tribute A Month of Single Frames (for Barbara Hammer) will screen in the series on February 8. Filmmaker spoke with […]

“Documenting the Scene on Camera is Sort of Like a Dance With the Subjects”: DP Kristoffer Kumar on The Painter and the Thief

The Painter and the Thief is a documentary that investigates the legitimacy of conventional labels: criminal and victim, vagrant and artist, unstable and rational. It follows Czech painter Barbora Kysilkova, who had a naturalistic work of hers heisted from an Oslo art gallery, as well as Karl-Bertil Nordland, the man convicted for stealing it. Mysteriously, the painting was never recovered, but Kysilkova had a proposition for the man who made her work vanish—could she paint his portrait? What follows is a story about human connection and its infinite possibilities. DP Kristoffer Kumar, who has collaborated with Ree extensively, talks about […]

“Since My Background was from Journalism I Had to Learn Film Language, and Relearn What I Thought About Storytelling”: Benjamin Ree on His Sundance Doc The Painter and the Thief

Spectacularly cinematic and employing a risk-taking structure that keeps the viewer as off-balance as the film’s emotionally fragile protagonists, The Painter and the Thief is the second feature-length doc from Norwegian director Benjamin Ree. (Ree’s prior film Magnus, a coming-of-age tale about the chess prodigy Magnus Carlsen, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2016.) The film follows the stranger-tha- fiction story of Barbora Kysilkova and Karl-Bertil Nordland, the former a Czech naturalist painter living in Oslo, the latter a Norwegian ex-con struggling with drug addiction. Their worlds collide when Nordland and an accomplice steal two of Kysilkova’s artworks from a local gallery, […]

“You Might Think it’s a Fun Work About Pizza, But It’s Really a Meditation on Mortality and Gentrification”: Director David Shapiro on his Sundance Premiering Doc Series, Untitled Pizza Movie

Filmmaker: You and I spoke once about this project, and I remember you saying that it was crazy and weird and that you weren’t sure what it was going to turn out to be. But I don’t remember you intimating that it might not even be a film but would turn into a series. And now that’s what it is, with three episodes premiering in Sundance’s episodic section. Shapiro: Well, I originally conceived it as a film — that’s in my wheelhouse. I know how to make a feature-length documentary. But it’s an archive film, right? Most archive films take […]

“Human History is Created by People with the Courage To Do the Right Thing”: Eunice Lau on Accept the Call

Based in NYC but born in Singapore, filmmaker Eunice Lau is intimately familiar with the immigrant experience. And yet, her own history seems a far cry from that of the family portrayed in her most recent (IFP supported) doc Accept the Call. One of my top picks for the Human Rights Watch Film Festival last summer, the nuanced character study centers around Yusuf Abdurahman, a refugee from Somalia who fled that country’s civil war in the ’90s. Abdurahman now lives in Minnesota, where he married (and subsequently divorced), had seven kids who he’s wholeheartedly devoted to, and currently serves as […]