Category Archives: Editor

TV COMMERCIAL EDITOR PAVEL KHANYUTIN IS A MASTER OF THE 60 SECOND EPIC

Small is beautiful—the economy and discipline of the short form, whether a haiku poem or one minute television commercial can be as rewarding, in its own way, as a feature length project. But that spare intimate moment also poses a tremendous creative challenge, one which only an acutely capable craftsman can master, and Pavel Khanyutin epitomizes that nuanced, subtle skill.

The Russian-born film editor-visual effects supervisor’s instinct, delicacy and precision have allowed Khanyutin to build a solid professional reputation as a master of both thirty second TV spots and feature length films. Navigating such a broad spectrum takes a very special gift, and the ease with which he manages it only underscores Khanyutin’s natural talents.

Khanyutin’s earliest experience was cutting documentaries, a genre where the straight expositional narrative succeeds largely due to how the editor frames and delivers that information.

“I started doing advertising at the beginning of my career in 2000,” Khanyutin said. “At that time I already had experience in editing documentary films and I’d been working with computer graphics for several years.”

“Advertising, of course, can’t be compared with films in complexity,” he said. “Time spent in the editing room and the tasks differ a lot. However, advertising is strongly connected with film. To my thinking, this goes both ways and dozens of techniques move from ad to film and back, improving and gathering sensibility along the way.”

Khanyutin soon found himself working for all the top Russian ad production companies—DAGO, Bazelevs, Robusto, Action Film , Park Production and international agencies like Instinct (BBDO Group) and Leo Burnett Worldwide.

“These gave me fantastic opportunities, within a short time, to edit dozens of TV promotions in many genres, to work with different directors and studios, for various brands and in different formats.” Khanyutin said

The ability to infuse cinematic qualities into a television commercial gained Khanyutin a great advantage in the field and he has done successful spots for such major international clients as Mars, P&G, Garnier, Pepsi, Toyota, Google, IKEA, Tele2, Megafon cellular and many others.

“The skill of editing commercials has a lot to do with one’s ability to pinpoint the soul of a story and convey it in the most economical way possible,” commercial director Rachel Harms said. “Pavel’s brilliance is evident at every stage of the editorial process. He’s a master at uncovering the choice moments, shaving them down to their essence, establishing rhythm and musicality, and finally juxtaposing images in a way that achieves maximum impact.”

Khanyutin relishes the challenge television ads present. “During editing, I consider a TV ad to be like a short film,” he said. “There are many possibilities in spite of the very restricted format, but you also face a limitation of possibilities. As an example, there are ads with a lot of dialogue or an overload of text information, and you must always consider the strict time limit of 30 seconds to one minute.”

“Another type is the ‘branding’ or ‘mood’ ad. These have a much less strict structure. The characters do not speak much or don’t speak at all. Here you almost unlimited possibilities for editing, with many variants on how and where to put focuses–to solve the task rhythmically. All small details are of great importance. One flash of half a second may finish the composition in full, if you find its right position in editing.”

Khanyutin’s focus, dedication, comprehensive vision and innate knack for conceiving and presenting the ideal cut on any given assignment has kept him in demand as a TV commercial editor for more than fifteen years

“I’ve worked with countless editors across the globe in the course of my career as a commercial director,” Harms said. “It’s rare to find such extraordinary intelligence and insight wrapped in such a collaborative heart. Pavel listens well and quickly attunes to a director’s vision, yet he never loses his own strong point of view.”

“After a shoot, I know that my material will either live, die or thrive in an editor’s hands. This is the final critical stage where everything will either come together or will be derailed. With Pavel as my editor, I’m always confident the finished product will be exceptional.”

Shayar Bhansali’s Editing on “Against Night” Earns International Recognition

Shayar Bhansali
“Against Night” team from left to right: editor Shayar Bhansali, Elena Caruso (actor), Stefan Kubicki (writer/director), Saba Zerehi (producer), Konstantin Lavysh (actor) and Lucas Lechowski (composer) at AFI Fest in Los Angeles

 

Getting his start as an editor in the world of narrative film with none other than the iconic India based production company, Yash Raj Films International, Shayar Bhansali seemed destined for greatness even at the very the beginning of his career. And, the international success he’s received over the last few years through his work on multi-award winning films including “Wild & Precious” and “Kicks” make it undeniably clear that he’s already made it to the top.

One of Bhansali’s recent projects as lead editor, and one that proves why he is such a sought after talent in the film industry, is “Against Night” from writer/director Stefan Kubicki.

Set in the 1960s, “Against Night” starring Konstantin Lavysh (“Five Days of War,” “Karaganda,” “Juke Box Hero”) as Vitali, multi-award winning actress Elena Caruso (“Paper,” “Cloverfield”) as Marina, and Eve Korchkov  (“Joseph,” “A Night at Christmas”) as Lenka, follows Vitali, a cosmonaut who crash lands in a seemingly desolate stretch of snow-covered land in Mongolia.

Climbing out of the small capsule, Vitali stumbles his way through the ostensibly endless miles of snow and nothingness in the midst of a blizzard until he finds himself at the door of a lamp lit yurt in the middle of nowhere. The home of a reticent and shaman-like man, once Vitali steps into the yurt, the real emotional drama and the film’s underlying story begins to reveal itself. As he drifts into a deep and feverish dream-state, Vitali’s present world intermixes, through a series of flashbacks that serve as a major source of plot development, with painful memories of the daughter and wife he lost in a tragic accident years prior.

“[The film] explores the relationship we have with time and memory,” explains Bhansali. “Part of the challenge with the project was to find a good handle on tone, and to be able to maintain the style and rhythm achieved by production through the edit.”

The numerous awards Bhansali earned from festivals across continents prove that he nailed the task with his work taking home the Festival Prize for Best Editing at India’s 2015 Kolkata International Film Festival and the LAIFF June Award for Best Editing from the 2015 Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards.

Immediately drawing viewers in with a heart-pumping scene of Vitali and his co-pilot struggling to remain calm as their capsule malfunctions and begins to crash, Bhansali’s precise edits created a beautiful and dynamic rhythm for the unfolding story throughout the entirety of the film. Through his edits Bhansali provides the necessary pauses to allow viewers to really understand and feel the pain of Vitali’s loss when the emotional aspects of the dram are at their height.

While “Against Night” was shot with Russian dialogue, Bhansali admits that there were many similarities in his approach to editing regardless of the language. “I’ve worked with other languages before and the interesting thing for me is how similar the process is – I still spend a lot of time watching dailies and making decisions about performance, thinking about structure and the emotional rhythm of the piece and putting together a first cut within the time frame that’s expected for a project like this. The thing that’s a little different is how the director and I end up spending our time – initially a lot more of it was spent looking at dialogue delivery and sculpting performance.”

A film that has had an incredible impact on audiences, “Against Night” actors Konstantin Lavysh and Eve Korchkov earned the Best Actor and Best Actress Awards at the Long Island International Film Expo for their performances in the film. Aside from the awards Bhansali and the two lead actors earned for their work on the film, “Against Night” also won the Cinematic Achievement Award from THESS International Short Film Festival, the National Jury Award from the USA Film Festival, the Maverick Award and the Jury Prize from the Woodstock Film Festival, the Best Narrative Award from the Ojai Film Festival and several others.

You check out the trailer for the multi-award winning film “Against Night” edited by Shayar Bhansali below:

Some of Shayar Bhansali’s other work includes Mattson Tomlin’s drama “Persuasion,” Sahirr Sethhi’s “Zoya,” Shuming He’s comedy “La Bella” and the drama “Loveland.”

About the powerful force Bhansali brings to the table as an editor, “Persuasion” director Mattson Tomlin (whose film “Rene” Bhansali is currently editing) explains, “The work of the director, cinematographer, and the actors very often falls on the editor’s shoulders. A great editor is able to champion the best of the best performances and manipulate even those at their worst into something emotional and resonating. In the case of Mr. Bhansali, I have seen him time and time again act as both a problem solver and a treasure hunter, often finding the key moments to make a scene work in the most unintended places.”

Over the years Bhansali has proven his ability to tackle some of the most challenging stories and translate them into seamless visual productions through his precision as an editor. While he earned his master’s in film editing from AFI, he initially began his collegiate career many years ago studying psychology, something that has proven to be incredibly useful in his work as an editor because it allows him to understand the mindsets and emotions of the characters in the stories he creates with his edits.

“As filmmakers, I believe we are constantly working with the medium to guide the way our viewers feel – and to do this successfully one has to have to be sensitive to the way we think. I’m not sure I realized this at the time but my interest in psychology and the way our minds work definitely helped me shape emotions and characters,” explains Bhansali.

“Whether it’s a fictionalized post apocalyptic world with a robot as it’s protagonist or a based-on-reality story about a soldier fighting in WWII – the thing that makes these movies resonate with me is the humanity within the story and characters.”

Brazilian Director of Photography Makes International Impact Across Australia

Photo5_Kauss
Brazilian Director of Photography Samar Kauss embodies a humanitarian sensibility within her superlative filmmaking endeavors.

 

The highly successful and prolific Director of Photography, Samar Kauss, is a Brazilian creative force who has made far reaching cultural change within the Australian Department of Health. Kauss, known for her work as a longtime editor for several of Brazil’s most popular television shows on the leading network TV Globo, has helped the Australian government lead the charge in documenting and spreading awareness on the plights of aboriginal tribes across Australia. The government-funded 2013 documentary, Big Day Out, in which Kauss performed as the Director of Photography for, aimed to raise awareness to the health issues and concerns of seclusion that the Wadeye community undergo almost 5 months out of every year. Kauss worked tirelessly to capture shots of the Wadeye and their home, in an attempt to unobtrusively capture the everyday life of a tribe member. Kauss has proven herself as an international humanitarian, as she has helped the Australian government in their strives to create a positive cultural impact through their documentaries, on which she at times found herself immersed in a community entirely different than her home back in Brazil.

Kauss was also approached again by the Australian Department of Education to create the Young Achievers Program documentary. She worked closely with the Australian government as their Director of Photography for the documentary, attempting to determine through extensive interviews whether or not the average Australian student received adequate resources to reach their academic goals. As the Director of Photography, Kauss was crucial in documenting the students in a way that empowered the argument of the filmmakers while expertly capturing the ongoing concerns surrounding the future of public education across Australia’s public school system.

Photo2_Kauss

Few filmmakers can easily make such graceful and critical strides on key social issues that Kauss has undoubtedly taken on throughout her career as a successful Editor and Director of Photography. Kauss’ history as a Director of Photography for some of the most culturally and socially impactful documentaries that the country has to offer speaks volumes to her abilities as a filmmaker of genuine impact and marks her as a key Brazilian creative force to watch.

VERONICA LI USES CREATIVE SOUND DESIGN TO CONNECT TWO DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE WORLD AND TWO DIFFERENT WORLDS IN MANDALA

One of the key components of any renowned artist is the ability to achieve popular success while simultaneously keeping their artistic vision intact. This is no small accomplishment and can be quite a balancing act. The yin and yang of this  (whether it is music, painting,  film, etc.) is required to both satisfy the masses as well as lift the art form to new places. When executed at its highest level, art can challenge us to consider our thoughts on love, life, and the world. Technology has created a world in which we are more in touch with other cultures and lifestyles; it seems intuitive that it would bring the elite of the artistic world into a closer community. Sound Designer Veronica Li is an example of this very ideal. She has made a name for herself as a talented and in demand sound designer in Hollywood. Working on box office hits like Michael Bay’s 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (grossing 53MM) as well as artistically praised films such as STAND (for which Li won the Outstanding Achievement in Sound Award at the First Film Festival) has displayed Veronica’s ability to match the tone and scale of her work to any film and assist the filmmaker’s desired emotional impact.

Ask any director what they require to make a great film and they will tell you that it takes a highly skilled and talented team in order to achieve their vision. Ask Guan Xi, the director and writer of Mandala, about Veronica Li and she will reinforce that statement. Mandala received multiple nominations at the 2015 Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards including a win for LAIFF’s Best Foreign Language Film in July, as well as being recognized by the film community in Italy and India.  Guan Xi states, “Veronica’s work was critical to the success of the production, as evidenced by the numerous official selections to the industry-renowned film festivals in the U.S. and around the world.” Veronica’s achievements on award winning films like Looking at the Stars captured the attention of Xi while they were working on this film and solidified the director’s resolve to enlist Li to work on Mandala. Remarking on the experience, Guan Xi comments, “Veronica’s work as a Sound Designer and Sound Editor on the production was absolutely crucial, as the sound in a film is one of the most important facets of filmmaking. Mandala was critically lauded by some of the industry’s most prominent directors and producers. The Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker, journalist, and novelist Mark Harris called the film ‘Beautifully shot and impressively produced…’ while Amanda Pope, the Emmy Award-winning director called the film ‘A visually exquisite story of an artist torn between her modern life and her Tibetan Buddhist culture.’ Many more luminaries in the field have voiced their praises for the film.”Li 5

Mandala is a timeless and universal story of the loss of a loved one and the attempts of a female artist to overcome her pain while at the same time reconnecting with her roots. The story grounds itself in the physical world and its day to day realities, while the emotional upheaval creates a bridge to a metaphysical world. Only by dealing with the less familiar “higher plane of consciousness” does the heroine stand a chance at living a life once again free from sorrow and unattached to the tragedies life can bring. The sounds required to make viewers accept both visions of life as reality are equal to the demands of the visuals…if not even greater. Li is highly aware of the subtle yet highly important nature of her role professing, “I think sound design helps to bring a film to life. It definitely makes the environment more believable. Most of the sound designs in Mandala are so subtle that the audience won’t notice them but they will help to set the proper mood. They can really sell the shot.” The dichotomy of the setting of New York City’s Gotham and Tibet’s peaceful mysticism is stark and the sonic environment must reflect this in a “not too obvious” manner. Li’s expertise was called upon to meet this lofty goal. Guan Xi praises Veronica’s ability to exceed expectations recalling, “I needed the sound of the film to be at an exceptionally high-quality level. Veronica perfectly combined and contrasted Tibetan and NYC sound elements together, and as the Sound Designer and Sound Editor, she spent countless hours collaborating with the Composer, working seamlessly on the sound design and score of the film. Not only was I able to entrust Veronica with the sound design and sound editing of Mandala, but what most impressed me was the fact that she really understood the story and my needs as the director.” Veronica used her talent as well as some creative ideas to help link the main character’s two geographic anchors of NYC and Tibet. Li reveals, “In addition to contrasting the two places, we also wanted to connect them. Helena is someone who belongs to Tibet but is currently trapped in the city. We decided to use a very subtle Tibetan musical cue whenever we saw Helena’s Tibetan painting. The horns of the cars passing by would gradually change to Tibetan musical bells, as if Tibet was calling from inside Helena whenever she and Lobsang Lama walked by each other on the city street.

Authenticity was paramount in the approach to producing Mandala. With the exception of the lead roles of Helena (Sarah Yan Li, also know for Fast & Furious 6) and Paul (Omar Avila, also know for The Punisher), all the other lead actors were Tibetan. To ensure that the original Tibetan Buddhist culture was presented correctly, the production team consulted eight living Buddha about every detail in the movie. Tibet contains the highest plateau in the world making it quite difficult for non-Tibetans to do strenuous activities. Even though the filming could have taken place at a less “difficult” location, the audience needs to feel, see, and hear the real Tibet. In the rare cases that a modification needed to be done, they were delicately handled with the highest level of professionalism.  Since shooting is forbidden in a real Tibetan temple, a temple was recreated in Los Angeles for filming interiors. Editor Cheng Fang describes his experience working on the film with Veronica commenting, “In Mandala there is a scene in which the female character is taking a test in a Tibetan Buddhist Temple to see if she is the reincarnation of the Rinpoche that passed away several years ago. During the scene, the character has several ‘visions’ and eventually has a mental breakdown. We finished the picture editing of the scene but everyone knew there was something missing. The picture itself was just not powerful enough. The mental breakdown of the character seemed to end abruptly. Veronica went to work on it. After she finished, we viewed the scene again…it was now so powerful! Veronica successfully combined the sound of Tibetan music instruments with mysterious murmuring; transforming the mental journey of the character into a crescendo as the music got louder, resulting in an intense ending.”Li 6 When a poem that was already recorded was unable to fit due to time constraints, Guan Xi once again called on Veronica Li and her expertise. The director explains, “Veronica helped me choose the certain words from the poem, and reorganize them so they could fit the style of the movie but still deliver the message I wanted to tell. To be able to change such an important sequence in the film, yet stay true to a Director’s vision is one of the most difficult tasks in filmmaking, but Veronica was able to flawlessly execute it.”

Veronica Li and the message of Mandala share a few striking similarities; each is the story of a woman from one culture, living in another culture, striving for excellence in the arts, all the while using the best of each part of the world to tell the universal stories we all share.

British Journalist’s mandate is ‘percolating and sifting the information of the world’

BritWeek
Journalist Richard Bence specializes in travel narratives and is a fixture among world-class publications.

 

British-born journalist Richard Bence has an elegant, energetic and always expressive professional style. His capable navigation of the oft challenging post-print landscape has earned Bence a solid reputation as a versatile writer with a comprehensive grasp of subject and clarity of presentation. These gifts have taken him from a solid decade-plus stint as a travel writer to the loftiest pinnacles of specialized prestige periodicals and web presences, serving both as a contributor and editor.

Bence, who is equally at ease creating in-depth magazine features and effective public relations campaigns, realized his calling at an early age, thanks to none other than Superman and his “mild-mannered newspaper reporter” alter ego, Clark Kent. “I distinctly remember watching “The New Adventures of Superman” with Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher in the mid ’90s and knew that is what I wanted to do,” Bence said. “It seemed incredibly glamorous and exciting, like having a kind of diplomatic immunity which gave you access to another world. Back then magazines held the keys to what was cool, they were the gatekeepers, the opinion-formers, the style makers. I wanted to be one of those people, percolating and sifting the information of the world.”

Bence wasted no time pursuing his vocation.

“I was fortunate to know someone at the Express Newspaper where I gained my first valuable work experience and never looked back. Every summer I would contact a magazine, GQ, Attitude, and get more experience, all the while becoming more and more certain that this was the career for me. It was my manifest destiny, and seemed like the ultimate rock and roll profession. It is ridiculously tough to make a go of it as a writer, but fortunately I have always been blessed with staff jobs.”

Gifted with two critical qualities—talent and instinct—Bence has distinguished himself at some very high profile outlets, as a contributor to the prestigious London Sunday Times Style, Condé Nast’s Tatler and as managing editor of Barclays Bank’s elite, invitation-only Little Book of Wonders website, among many others.

“I was a travel journalist for 12 years and that type of journalism will forever be part of my DNA, but things really took off in 2011 when I made the digital leap to become editor in chief of CoutureLab, a luxury e-commerce site for global nomads,” Bence said. “I was the conduit for Carmen Busquets, the high priestess of couture. That was interesting because I wasn’t so much telling my story but that of the chairman, a Venezuelan entrepreneur who entrusted me with communicating her message to the CoutureLab customer.”

From that auspicious assignment, Bence went on to become managing editor of Little Book of Wonders, where he specialized in developing inventive ways to help brands connect with Barclays’s ultra-high net-worth customers.

“This was a shift for me and allowed me to see the commercial power of content,” Bence said. “I had been helping places tell their stories for airlines as an inflight magazine editor. It was a natural progression to use those skills I learnt at the coalface of travel journalism to help enhance experiences for the global elite.”

He excelled in this new capacity, as Creative Director Laura Rule, whose clients have included Victoria Beckham and Mario Testino +, described:

“When Richard was at Couturelab, a leader in the field of online luxury, I commissioned him to consult on two luxury brand projects for Mario Testino +. Richard provided in depth and knowledgeable marketing research and inspired creative ideas, which in turn informed the brands vision on the projects,” Rule said. “Richard has achieved an incredible amount in a short space of time. Needless to say, I am always beyond excited by the results of our work together. Even as a consultant I consider him to be an excellent and highly valued part of my team.”

With a solid international reputation that’s made him a familiar, recognizable force at the highest altitudes of journalism, editing, promotion and marketing, when Bence relocated to Los Angeles he promptly began to expand his professional palette, adding broadcasting—for Monocle 24, a 24-hour online radio station with 400,000 listeners per month—to his already formidable resume.

“Since moving to the U.S. in 2014, I am fulfilling my ambition to become an expert on all things California and have found a special niche celebrating British creativity and innovation in Los Angeles,” Bence said. “As a print journalist, I focus mainly on travel, design and style, but more recently, I have gravitated towards the arts and on air journalism as the West Coast correspondent for Monocle 24. I get to talk about art, architecture, TV and film, which is a dream really. Radio is definitely having a ‘moment’ and I am glad to be part of its renaissance.”

The high flying Bence’s ambitions are matched only by his capabilities and his sterling roster of achievement is uniformly celebrated by professional associates.

“Richard has been an essential asset as a publicist and editor. His ability to establish connections and contribute to all aspects of editorial and creative direction at a high level has been fundamental to the success of our award-winning publications.” said Juliet Nilsson, Creative Director at Vind & Våg Publishing House. “I have no doubt moving forward that whatever journalistic role he will play his professional manner and highly skilled approach will be of significant benefits to future projects.”

Canadian Editing Magician David Guthrie

20141105_164014
Canadian editor David Guthrie

 

Whether it’s a film, television series or commercial, the amount of time and labor that goes into a production is astronomical. There’s writing, funding, planning, casting, costuming, filming, scoring, post-production, marketing and finally distribution, and it takes a massive and cohesive team to pull it all off. Every production is like a massive machine, and at the heart of it all is the editor.

A skilled editor will work closely with the director to achieve the perfect cuts, and nobody is more skilled than Toronto native David Guthrie. As an editor, Guthrie is responsible for setting the rhythm of the end product, in a sense giving a cadence – a heartbeat – to the final arrangement that will be presented to the audience.

Before working on high-profile and award-winning productions such as “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” “Cold Water Captains” and “Room and Bored,” Guthrie took his first steps into film editing when he was a musician. It was while creating music videos for his band that he discovered the power that video and audio can have when edited together perfectly.

“I love the challenge of crafting a story from seemingly unrelated footage, finding a story thread. I love when you find the perfect shot that helps tell that story, or the right piece of music that just works,” Guthrie said, describing the rewarding feeling of his work. “I love that feeling, it’s a rush… Because then you know how to pace the scene correctly and how the audience will feel.”

After realizing his passion for film editing, he began working at the Toronto-based Rhombus Media production company. There, he quickly worked his way up and learned his trade from the company’s highly-experienced team of editors. After getting his feet wet in the editing world at Rhombus, he landed a role as an editor on the feature film “Billy Bishop Goes to War,” which screened at TIFF and CBC.

Before long he had proven to be such a natural that he was trusted with the enormous responsibility of working on David Gelb’s incredbley ambitious projects, one of which was the feature documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi.”

Centered on the man often called the best sushi chef in the world, “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” initially sets out to document Jiro Ono’s daily routine running his world-renowned restaurant in Tokyo. However, the film ultimately tells two much deeper stories about the human condition. One of these is the story of a man who spends his entire life pursuing perfection, constantly coming closer but never reaching the unattainable goal. The other story centers on Jiro’s son and future heir to the restaurant, who works under his father and has spent his entire life in the shadow of a giant, knowing that no matter what he does neither he nor anybody else can fill his father’s shoes.

The film was widely praised by critics and festival-goers. “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” won the 2012 Denver Film Critics Society Award for Best Documentary Film, the Detroit Film Critic Society Award for Best

Documentary, and was nominated for 11 other awards internationally. A global success, “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” was an incredibly valuable and rewarding experience for Guthrie. The countless hours he spent working on the film paid off, and shortly after the film’s success Guthrie found he had established a reputation for himself as one of the most reliable and talented editors in the industry.

After leaving the “assistant” prefix behind, Guthrie’s first project as a full-fledged editor was the first season of the Canadian reality series “Cold Water Captains.” The action-packed series follows three fishing boats in the dangerous waters off the coast of Newfoundland. Guthrie had to pore through hundreds of hours of footage to decide which of it would be turned into the final TV-ready series. After carefully selecting which scenes would make it into the show, he then had to painstakingly cut and arrange it into a compelling and cohesive story to be told over the course of the season’s 10 episodes.

“This show is a monster when it comes to post production… The amount of footage can be overwhelming. That is the biggest challenge of the show by far – trying to cut compelling scenes out of hours of monotonous footage,” Guthrie said, describing the intense process of not only determining which scenes to use, but also of maintaining organization of the scenes and their place in the series. “That was a challenge too, trying to keep track of where I was in each story and how each scene developed the overall story arc.”

Guthrie’s hard work once again paid off when the first season of “Cold Water Captains” was nominated for the prestigious 2015 Canadian Screen Award for Best Factual Series. Guthrie called the nomination a “rewarding” experience after all the hours he and his team spent creating the series. Following the success of the first season, he again worked as an editor for the second season, and in the third season of “Cold Water Captains” Guthrie’s skill and dedication earned him a promotion to a lead editor position.

“I was one of the lead editors on the show and responsible for bringing episodes to delivery to the network,” Guthrie said of the new position. “It is a lot of fun getting to polish the scenes and really make them come alive.”

In addition to his work as an editor Guthrie has also written and directed two projects for television. The first, “Room and Bored,” was a TV movie which Guthrie not only wrote, directed and edited, but also acted in. “Room and Bored” was a hit with both critics and audiences, and was named an Official Selection at the 2013 New York Television Festival. The second and more recent of the two is “Beck and Call,” a pilot which Guthrie calls his favorite project to date. “Beck and Call” follows the hilarious ups and downs of two talent agents as they struggle to make it big in New York.

“Along with editing [“Beck and Call”], I am writing and directing it as well,” Guthrie said. “It has been so much fun working with really talented people, and just making stuff that we want to make… And I love working in the comedy world.”

Few people have a track record that can compare to David Guthrie’s when it comes to producing consistently stellar work while balancing so many irons in the fire. His experience and talent as a writer and director give him a comprehensive understanding of every element of the production process, and serve to strengthen Guthrie’s exceptional talent as an editor. Audiences on the hunt for the next great feature film, narrative documentary or cinematic triumph should be sure to keep Guthrie’s name in mind.

Featured Film Editor: Said Franco!

Film Editor Said Franco
                                                                                         Film Editor Said Franco

In the world of filmmaking, many groups work together to create a production. The vision of the director, the roles of the actors, and the reach of the production team are all important. That being said, it doesn’t matter how incredible these teams are if the film falls apart in the post-production process.

The skill of a film editor can make or break an entire production. When a production company finds a film editor that can rapidly create quality content, they hold onto them. Perhaps this is why Said Franco, 29, has remained so busy for the last decade.

Franco was born in Mexico City, and found himself fascinated with the filmmaking process from a young age. At 15, he decided that he wanted to pursue a career in film editing. At that point, he set out to complete all the necessary education required to turn his dream into a reality.

Franco began working as a film editor immediately after graduating from the University of Mexico with an MBA in TV and Communications. The first job he secured was in 2008, as an assistant editor for the Spanish TV series Capadocia. To add a dash of prestige to his early resume, this series was nominated for three Emmy awards, in addition to winning numerous awards at other events.

After he began working in film editing, Franco realized that he had chosen his career wisely: “While working on Capadocia, I learned that I had the skills that an editor needs to succeed in the business.” Apparently, many other companies have acknowledged his skills as well, as he has since been recruited to lend his talent to an onslaught of productions.

Recently, Franco has been working for Rancho Studios as a chief editor on many international commercials, including those for Apple, Coca-Cola, Ducati, Hershey’s, Sony, and Wal-Mart. After completing commercials for Coca-Cola and Sony, both companies returned to Rancho and asked if Franco would edit their future commercials.

Microsoft also hired Franco for more work after seeing the results of his holiday promotional commercials for the Xbox gaming system. Franco agreed to edit commercials for many video games, including Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty, FIFA 2013, Grand Theft Auto, Halo, and the Need for Speed.

Not all of Franco’s editing work has taken place within the confines of an office though. As a result of his success in his career as a film editor, he has had the opportunity to set forth upon many adventures.

On one of these adventures, Franco travelled to Spain as a representative for Heineken. Heineken, who sponsored the Champions League of Europe football game, hired Franco to edit each game, which was then broadcast to television networks throughout Europe. During his time in Spain, he edited a total of 25 games and six additional events.

While working for Grupo Televisa, the largest media company in Latin America, Franco edited a commercial campaign for the 2010 World Cup. During the month that the campaign for the World Cup aired, he edited five commercials a week, which were broadcast to many major television networks throughout Latin America.

Franco has a wide variety of experience in many different genres of film editing. In addition to his prominent work in commercials and sports, he has expertise in editing television shows, YouTube channels, and music videos.

Several of the music videos Franco has edited have achieved widespread acclaim including the “Voces” video he edited for Division Minuscula, and the “Miedo a Caer” video he edited for Ruido Rosa.

When it comes to film editing, Said Franco is comfortable working within any genre. In the last 10 years, he has repeatedly demonstrated his expertise in his field. This continues to be confirmed as companies return for more work after viewing his product. As important as the film editor is, it’s no wonder they continue to return.

Film Editor Marta Bonet de Gispert Connoisseurs the Perfect Cut

Marta Bonet de Gispert
                                                  Film Editor Marta Bonet de Gispert

Hailing from a family of lawyers, Barcelona native Marta Bonet de Gispert left law school to pursue her creative passions in the film world, a move that has delighted international audiences and filmmakers alike.

Marta Bonet de Gispert went on to attend the prestigious School of Cinema and Audiovisual de Catalunya (ESCAC). About switching professions, Bonet de Gispert recalls, “I started my law degree following my family’s tradition in law. But after a few years, I felt unfulfilled. I had to face my mistake and find a better path. Even though I knew it was a difficult industry, I chose film school. Something inside me told me it was the right thing to do.”

Now an award-winning film editor, it is clear that Bonet de Gispert made the right choice. Her exceptional talent and painstaking attention to detail is apparent in every frame of every film that she’s done so far. Her extensive international resume includes the films Soldados (Soldiers), Padre Modelo (Role Model Father), Devil May Call, as well as many others. She was also the editor on the television shows Latino Dub and Califorma.

It may seem like quite a drastic change to switch from law school to film school, but in truth, both professions require a person who possesses a strong eye for details and an immense understanding of the technical intricacies of their craft. Even more critical in each though, is a person’s ability to use that perceptiveness and knowledge to adapt to a client’s needs—something Bonet de Gispert has accomplished, proven by the sheer number of awards her films have won over the years.

Temporada 92-93 (Season 92-93), one of Bonet de Gispert’s first credits as editor, was a resounding success at international film festivals. Set in Spain where for many fútbol is a religion, Temporada 92-93 tells the comedic story of two inseparable friends united in their love for soccer. One is celebrating his child’s birthday as both split their attention between the festivities and a historic soccer match playing over the radio.

“We had to be careful in selecting the takes we would use,” explains Bonet de Gispert. “Also, as in all comedy, finding the right rhythm was essential. Jokes don’t work well if they’re not on the right pace.”

Winning a staggering 44 festival awards, Temporada 92-93 was incredibly well received by judges and critics alike. Among the honors was the Best Editing Award from the Film Festival Terrassa, an incredible achievement for Bonet de Gispert, whose career had only just begun.

It is the editor’s job to thoroughly understand the director’s vision, to see the story as the director imagines it. Then, with that understanding, the editor uses the footage to turn an intangible idea, concept or even a feeling, into the story that unfolds before us.

Able to seamlessly shift from one genre to another, Bonet de Gispert’s work shows that a great editor doesn’t rely on a film’s subject so much as they rely on the vision of the filmmaker.

In Devil May Call, Bonet de Gispert’s ability to convey that vision was once again put to the test, and once again she surpassed everyone’s expectations with flying colors. What had once been just a nightmarish idea, Bonet de Gispert transformed into a physical manifestation of sheer, unadulterated horror.

Not for the faint of heart, Devil May Call is centered on Sam, an operator for a phone counseling hotline. Sam, played by award-winning actress Corri English (Planes: Fire & Rescue, Holliston) is training her replacement on the night shift; but when one of her regular callers, who happens to be a serial killer, hears that she’s quitting, he cuts off power to the building and traps Sam and the other employees inside. Devil May Call was filmed in Los Angeles and debuted at the 2013 Marches du Film event in Cannes, a dream for many filmmakers.

Bonet de Gispert also recently finished the films El Otro Lado and Gored. El Otro Lado, or The Other Side, is one of three films premiering as part of the Summer Of Shorts event, featuring films from three Spanish filmmakers bringing their work to American audiences. El Otro Lado is about a lawyer who finds himself losing his sense of morality as he goes from laundering money for the cartels to an even darker path. An even greater testament to the fact that she chose the right path by embarking on a career in film, Bonet de Gispert also directed El Otro Lado in addition to working as the editor. Produced by renowned production company La Panda, the film is scheduled to premiere in the U.S. this summer.

Gored, is a documentary about, fittingly, the bullfighter that holds the record for being the most gored in Spanish history. In a fascinating approach to a subject that hasn’t seen much coverage since Hemingway, the film follows Antonio Barrera as he grapples with the decision of a lifetime: whether to leave the ring and join his family while he’s ahead, or to commit himself to a glorious death against his lifelong adversary. The film will debut later this month at the Tribeca Film Festival where it has been chosen as an Official Selection, and is set to screen at several more festivals over the course of 2015.

Editor Oliver Harwood turns Good Stories into Great Films

Editor Oliver Harwood
                                                                 Editor Oliver Harwood

Oliver Harwood understands better than most what it takes to turn a good story into a great story. His work spans the Atlantic, he’s been trained in one of the most exclusive and prestigious film schools in the world, and his talent has been essential to the success of an ever-growing list of award-winning films. So what does it take to make a good story great? It takes the keen eyes and ears of an editor.

Just this year, Share, a film edited by Harwood and directed by Pippa Bianco, premiered at the massive Austin-based SXSW 2015 festival where it won the Special Jury Recognition Award for Narrative Short. Share tells the story of a young girl’s return to school after being in a sex tape that gets shared online.

Harwood fell in love with film-editing inadvertently, when as a teenager he and a friend began filming their own comedy sketches. He became enthralled with cutting, splicing and arranging the clips, and in so doing found that the way stories are told on film come down to decisions made by the editor. Within a few short years, the young Brit was enrolled at the American Film Institute, known the world over for producing some of the biggest names in entertainment and filmmaking.

In 2013, Harwood edited Gala Goliani’s (What the Monkey Saw, Worship) film Red Rider, a dystopian thriller set eight years after a disaster turns the world into a wasteland. The intense action follows Adena, played by Abigail Wilson (Cigarette, The Half Man), as she roams the wastes seeking revenge on a vicious biker gang. A marvelous editing job to say the least, Harwood uses the character’s voice to narrate her thought process as she plans her mission, which gives viewers entry into her world without the overuse of dialogue to explain her plight.

The film was an Official Selection by several film festivals in 2014 including the San Jose International Short Film Festival, the La Femme International Film Festival and the NewFilmmakers New York Winter Festival. It also won the awards for Best Actor and Best Cinematographer at the Los Angeles New Wave Intl’ Film Festival.

After Red Rider, Harwood was tapped by director Leonard LoBiondo (Inheritance) to edit the film Reaver starring Kelly Blatz (Prom Night, 90210, Chicago Fire). A hair-raising chiller, Reaver is the haunting story of two siblings who come face-to-face with the evil specter that spirited-away their father. Reaver won the festival prize for Best Lovecraft Short at the 2014 A Night Of Horror Film Festival.

“Starting Reaver, I was pretty comfortable with myself as an editor, and was ready to experiment with my approach to collaborating with a director,” Harwood said.

A huge part of making a great film comes from knowing how to communicated and collaborate best with your fellow filmmakers. Harwood has been editing films long enough to what he needs to achieve the best possible film, and for him, that has to do with having his own space to create without someone looking over his shoulder. So, when it came time to start editing Reaver, Harwood suggested the use of a separate monitor where the director could view the progress without looking over his shoulder.

That decision really paid off. Harwood recalled, “It helped the director keep a better sense of perspective on the movie… he was much more able to astutely observe how much tension we could bring out from each shot, and how the following shot could be used to further enhance and build on that tension.”

Hot on the heels of Reaver, Harwood began work on Contrapelo in 2014. Directed by Gareth Dunnet Alcocer (Dig!, Exodo), Contrapelo was a huge change of scenery for Harwood. While the film’s dialogue was in Spanish, a language Harwood didn’t speak a word of, he managed not only to do the job, but to edit it into an awe-inspiring and gripping film. Contrapelo focuses on a cartel boss, a barber, a straight razor, and one of the most difficult decisions a person can be forced to make.

“Because I was unable to understand what was being said, I was able to decontextualize the line and turn the dialogue into something like music,” said Harwood, explaining that in a way the language barrier helped him with editing. “The rhythm and tone of the words being spoken helped me guide each cut based on feeling.”

The film’s recognitions included countless awards including Best Indie Short Film and the Audience Award at the 2014 Cine Gear Expo, the Best Short Awards from the Las Vegas International Film Festival and the Los Cortos International Film Festival, as well as nominations for Best Overall Short Film at the Calgary International Film Festival, the German Independence Award for Best Short Film at the 2014 Oldenburg Film Festival, and Best Narrative Short at the world-renowned Tribeca Film Festival.

Harwood’s mastery of his craft is the result of his incredible training, extensive experience and raw, innate talent. He possesses the rare skill to find the exact crossroads between technical genius and creative visionary. His work is certain to leave viewers not just satisfied with the cinematic experience, but contemplating some of the most serious issues facing the world today. And that, after all, is the difference between a good story, and a great story.

Sought After Film Editor Andres Vergara Lends His Talents to “Stray Dog”

Andres Vergara
Film editor and VFX artist Andres Vergara

Over the past few years Andres Vergara has worked as an editor and VFX artist on some of the biggest films alongside some of the industry’s biggest names.

A citizen of both Canada and Mexico, Vergara moved to Vancouver in his youth to pursue his career as an editor and visual effects artist in the film industry. Today he has edited and produced visual effects for films featuring Academy Award winners Denzel Washington (Safehouse), Liam Neeson (Battleship) and Mickey Rourke (Immortals).

As a VFX artist, Vergara has also been tapped to lend his expertise to blockbuster titles such as Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1 and the 2011 prequel/reboot of John Carpenter’s classic sci-fi/horror masterpiece The Thing.

Although Vergara has clearly become a sought after talent for big budget feature films, his latest project, Stray Dog, took him back to the format that originally established his presence in the industry – documentary film.

Stray Dog is a “portrait of the life” of Vietnam veteran Ron “Stray Dog Hall, and was recently shown at the New York Film Festival and BFI London Film Festival. The film won Best Documentary at the Los Angeles Film Festival, and was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the Independent Spirit Awards as well.

“The documentary makes a strong social commentary on America, and modern society, without the need to explain or narrate things to viewers,” Vergara said. “Rather, the film lets audiences draw their own conclusions about the events and gives viewers a unique opportunity to find their own angle on it.”

Vergara worked hand-in-hand with Stray Dog director Debra Granik to select shots, edit sequences and classify scenes from the hours of footage shot in Branson, Missouri and Mexico City.

“Granik was very clear on what she was trying to find, and she communicated her vision and ideas in a way that was profound enough for me to understand the core idea of the documentary,” Vergara said.

For Vergara, editing has been an especially gratifying experience.

“To me, the privilege of being the first viewer of a project, while also making substantial decisions with the director on which scenes have to stay or go, is a hugely rewarding process to be a part of,” Vergara said.

But the talented editor hasn’t married himself to a single genre. Instead, he’s fluidly moved between non-fiction (documentary) and fiction throughout his career, which has allowed him to diversify his talents and excel far beyond those who play it safe and remain in the same genre.

“My experience in both genre’s has constantly proven to me that there is a big reward, and competitive edge, to know the rules of both games, which has lead me to exciting projects and opportunities,” Vergara said.

One of those exciting projects was the gritty, action-packed film Safehouse. Directed by multi-award winning director Daniel Espinosa who is known for the films Easy Money and Child 44 (Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace), Safehouse was set in Cape Town, South Africa, and starred two-time Oscar Award winner Denzel Washington (American Gangster, The Book of Eli, Training Day) and Ryan Reynolds (Green Lantern, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Smokin’ Aces).

As a lead VFX artist for Safehouse, Vergara seamlessly added a full crowd of people into a partially empty South African soccer stadium. He used real footage instead of CGI, which added a level of excitement and a layer of realism to the sequence that CGI could not have accomplished in such a seamless manner.

Vergara also worked as a lead VFX artist on the CGI-heavy blockbuster film Immortals. Based on Greek-mythology, Immortals was directed by iconic Indian director Tarsem Singh (The Cell, Mirror Mirror, The Fall) and starred Academy Award winner Mickey Rourke and Henry Cavill (Man of Steel, Stardust).

Shot almost entirely on green screen, Immortals took full advantage of Vergara’s talents as a VFX artist to achieve the overall stunning look audiences experienced on the screen.

But Vergara’s favorite project so far has been Stray Dog.

“The narrative of the film was structured unlike few, if any, other documentaries ever done,” Vergara said.

Andres Vergara’s refined talents as an editor and VFX artist promise to keep him successfully working in the industry for years to come; and, thanks to his ability to handle diverse projects with ease, his career will continue to be one that is assuredly dynamic in scope.