Category Archives: Film Editors

Editor/Colorist Liang Xia Expertly Combines Technical Precision and Nuanced Emotion

The film industry is home to an army of specialty craftspeople and technicians, each working in distinct specialized niche disciplines. These widely varying duties abound in the post-production field and while many seem almost esoteric in their limited scope, some actually have a critical impact on the finished films emotional appeal and ability to directly reach an audience.

Chinese born Editor/Colorist Liang Xia is a prime example of this. His is a uniquely demanding position, one that requires a masterful sense of nuance and subtlety, balancing the aesthetics’ which a production’s setting and style requires while subtly enhancing the film’s overall mood and emotional appeal. Xia achieves this with a both comprehensive attention to minute detail and an overarching perspective on the sweep of the entire film.

“There are three different things that a colorist does,” Xia said. “First, I adjust the exposures of the footage. A lot of things, such as lighting issues, weather, location and cause the cinematographer to get incorrect exposures. In most films, there will be several shots under or over exposed and colorists fix those issues in post-production, making sure each shot is the correct exposure and matches other shots.”

“Second, Colorists need to correct unnatural colors or unwanted colors. Sometimes, color temperature of the lighting is not accurate, or if the camera setting isn’t right, the color in footage will not be correct. Even when every setting is right, the camera sensor will receive more light and colors than we can see, and there will be some unwanted colors, or the contrast will change. Colorists fix all these problems during the process of color correction. And after this process, the color will become very accurate and satisfying to audience.”

The third aspect of the colorist’s job is the most important, and also where Xia excels.

“Color can also express emotion,” he said. “As we know, red means passion or blood, blue means cold or peace. Colorists can also use color theories to emphasize emotions in scenes, chapters or even whole films. A subtle change of color tone is not very obvious to audiences, but when they watch the film and see the color, they will have a natural, almost subconscious reaction to the color tone. In this way, a colorist enhances the film, allows it to further express subtexts and emotions.”

His work on the recent feature film Strawman exemplifies Xia’s perfected mix of vision and expression. A gritty look at a youth forced into a life of petty crime to support his siblings after their parents abandon them, Xia’s atmospheric approach and attention to detail further burnished director Tian Xie’s impactful drama.

Xia is driven by a fascination with the human condition and the inescapable drama of common life. It’s a combination of sensitivity, aesthetics and technique striking an unusual balance between meticulous technical precision and broad emotional strokes. For Xia it’s almost therapeutic and this unusual artistic perspective enhances every project undertaken and has, in a few short years distinguished him as a professional force to be reckoned with.

Strawman was the first time I worked with Liang,” director Tian Xie said. “Besides his editing concepts and skill, Liang has very good vision and a feeling for color, so his color correction is excellent. Liang had a five-year experience in studying paintings, including traditional Chinese painting and watercolor. I think that’s an important reason for his excellent sense on color. When we worked on Strawman, I told him the story takes place in summer, a hot summer. Liang did some adjustments on his color panel and created an ideal overall look, immediately. That color tone was what exactly I want, and I said, ‘that is the one.’”

Xia’s lifelong affinity for both art and film created the perfect combination for his profession. “I’ve loved film since my childhood,” he said. ”After high school, I studied TV and film directing in college. After I came to U.S. to study film, I found my logic and patience gave me a strong advantage and decided to work on editing. Then, during my post-production study, I found I am sensitive to color, so I started to study color theories on my own and also took some class about film color grading.”

And it’s working. Strawman took Best Foreign Feature at 2016 Los Angeles Independent Film Festival and Best Feature Film Diamond for director and editor at the 2017 NYC Indie Film Awards, and led to an on-going collaboration with he and director Tian Xie, most recently on the short Promise. In fact, Strawman and Promise each won a Gold Remi Award at 50th WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival. Additionally Strawman officially selected in the 19th San Francisco Indie Film Festival, the 6th Richmond International Film Festival and 23rd New Jersey Film Festival.

“I love editing and doing color,” Xia said. “My goal is to keep working on indie films. In my opinion, indie films more focus on humanities and society. I want to have more chances to edit more indie films. It not only provides me editing or color jobs, but also makes me connect to the real world.”

*I like dramas that focus on people who are often ignored or marginalized by society, and these give me the chance to using my post-production skills to build complete characters—and to build a complete me.”

Film Editor Fei Zheng Masterfully Edits Narrative Film “Red”

 

Film Editor Fei Zheng
Film Editor Fei Zheng

So much goes into a film in order to create the visual story that unfolds on the screen, but in the end, it’s the editor who truly sets the tone and pace of the story. Without them, all there’d be is hundreds of hours of costly, disconnected footage. Someone has got to sew it all together in a way that piques our interest and touch us on an emotional level, and one of those uniquely talented individuals is Fei Zheng.

Over the past five years Zheng’s work as an editor has become increasingly well known throughout China and the United States. Regardless of whether she is editing narrative films, television series, commercials or music videos, Zheng is a master of the cut. She knows exactly what shots to choose, where to slow down and where to speed up the footage, and what color tones to use in order to set the mood.

While her work as a film editor, specifically on the 2016 films “Red,” “She” and “Broken,” have proven her artistry when it comes to cutting together highly impactful narratives, she began her career editing television series back homes in China several years ago. Before moving to the U.S., Zheng was the lead editor at Maya Village Culture Communication Company in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. There she edited Hangzhou Television’s popular series “Ye You Shen,” which airs weekly on China’s HTV-2, and “Xiao Yaer,” a weekly program that airs on HTV-5, Hangzhou Television’s children’s channel.

With the series “Ye You Shen” focusing on Hangzhou nightlife, and “Xiao Yaer” being a children’s series about interesting places, Zheng not only perfected her skill at simultaneously editing two shows with totally different concepts, but also editing under an incredibly short deadline. Whatsmore, Zheng was not only the editor of both TV series, she was also the director; and, she would often have only three days between coming up with the concept for each episode to the day it aired on national television!

“I would create an idea for new episode and write the script in one day…  After one day of shooting, I would translate the footage to my computer and begin to edit. I would arrange the footage and do rough cut based on my script in one day, because I already directed everything on set, so I was familiar with the footage. The third day, I would include the voice overs, music, sound effects, and subtitles,” explains Zheng.

“This experience helped me to learn to edit under tight deadlines, how to quickly spot the best shots to tell the story, and how to clearly present the information in the show within a short time slot.”

Since moving to the U.S. several years ago, Zheng has focused her editing talents on cutting together narrative films, but she hasn’t left short form content behind completely. She recently edited the “K-Drama” and Marble” commercials for Myanmar’s leading dairy brand Alpine Dairy, which began airing across Asia earlier this year. While her skill editing commercial campaigns has been a huge draw factor for the post-production companies that hire her, it’s through narrative projects that her gift as an editor truly has the chance to shine.

Last year she edited the touching romance film “Red” directed by Yuxin Zhang. Centering on a Chinese man named Moyan who moved to San Francisco to find work, the film follows Moyan as he runs into the lover he left back home in China 14 years earlier. The beautifully shot film perfectly portrays the understandable heart-ache and nostalgia that erupts between the two people as a random coincidence brings them back together again.

Zheng’s work as the editor of the film was key in driving home the film’s emotionally touching story. Upon its release in 2016, “Red” garnered a unanimously positive response from festivals across the U.S. with the film earning awards at the LA Spotlight Film Festival, being nominated at Mississippi’s 5th Sun and Sand Festival, as well as being chosen as an Official Selection of the  8th Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles, the SFAI Showcase, 18th Annual NewFilmmakers New York screening event in Manhattan, and more.

“I slowed down the pacing for the film and used the limited footage to make each frame interesting…. I checked the footage back and forth to choose the best shot for each character’s performance. I also sped up some parts to create a big contrast with the emotional and slow parts,” explains Zheng about her work on the film. “At the same time, I did the color correction to make the frames more attractive and layered, which also improved the emotion of the film. “

Fei Zheng
Fei Zheng at the screening of “Red: during The Los Angeles Spotlight Film Festival

Besides being a supremely gifted film editor who sews together the footage and creates a seamless and highly impactful story like the one that unfolds in the film “Red,” Zheng is an expert when it comes to color correction.

About the color correction and overall editing Zheng did for the film, director Yuxin Zhang says,”Fei Zheng was the producer, editor and color corrector on the film. Her work made the story more emotional and visually beautiful than I ever could have imagined. She is definitely one of the best editors I’ve worked with, and I look forward to working with her on other projects in the future.”

Having successfully carved out a prominent position for herself in the U.S. film industry as a multi-talented editor whose extraordinary ability to turn hundreds of hours of footage into a seamless story that touches audiences on an emotional level, it comes as no surprise that a long list of productions are vying to attach Fei Zheng to their projects as a lead editor.

Zheng is currently slated to edit 65 episodes of Mango Television’s upcoming series “We fall in love in New York,” and the series “The Brightest Star In The Night Sky” starring Chinese celebrities Zitao Huang (“Edge of Innocence,” “Railroad Tigers”) aka Z. Tao, and Yi Sun (“My Original Dream,” “The Legend of Miyue”), as well as the thriller series “The Decoding Game,” which is currently being developed by executive producer Han Sanping, who was a producer on the films “Shaolin,” “The Karate Kid,” “Mission: Impossible III” and several other notable features.

 

Editor Rudy Vermorel Nails the Mark on the Campaign for Award-Winning Video Game Clash Royale

Often referred to as the ‘invisible art’ that takes place behind the scenes of a film, commercial and other visual media projects of the like, the work of an editor is critical to setting the tone, style, and structure of a project. While their work requires extensive skill and often long, laborious hours in order to sew hundred of hours of footage together into something that unfolds seamlessly on screen, editors rarely receive their due credit in the press; but that’s just the nature of the game, the mark of the best editors means their work goes unnoticed. One editor who deserves quite a bit of attention for his extraordinary talent though is Frenchman Rudy Vermorel.

Vermorel began his career nearly a decade ago, and what he’s accomplished since is nothing short of amazing. With a keen eye for the perfect shots and the ability to create a seamless flow on every project he lends his magic editor’s wand to, Vermorel has become known for his distinct skill through his work as the editor of commercials for auto industry leader Ford, the video game Homefront: The Revolution, and countless music videos for artists including Demi Lovato, Party Favor, Av DiVinci, Alexx Mack.

Last year Vermorel signed on as an editor at Eyestorm Productions, an LA-based creative agency whose well-known clients include Hasbro, BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse, video games such as Tom Clancy’s Endwar, Call of Juarez the Cartel, Rocksmith and Zombiu, and many more. Eyestorm Productions also did the TV Spots, behind the scenes and featurettes for “Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith,” and most recently the ad campaign for the video game Clash Royale.  

As the lead editor on all of the trailers and commercials for Clash Royale, Vermorel’s work for the game has been hugely successful on an international scale with the collection of ads garnering over 120 million combined views on Youtube, and other social media platforms.

“Last year Rudy came on board as the editor of the Clash Royale campaign, one of Eyestorm Productions latest projects. The series of commercials he edited for Clash Royale really drove home the intense competition and modern vibe of the game in a way that seamlessly represented the product to users and made them want to start playing Clash Royale. He nailed the project in every aspect,” explains Eyestorm Productions owner Michael Klima.

Released on March 2, 2016 Clash Royale was developed and published by popular mobile gaming company Supercell. Referred to as the ‘King of Gaming’ by Forbes in 2013, Supercell gained worldwide attention when its first two games, Hay Day and Clash of Clans, began pulling in $2.4 million per day.

Clash Royale is a real-time multiplayer mobile strategy game starring the Royales from the popular Clash of Clans game. Mixing together elements of a collectible card game, tower defense, and multiplayer online battle arena, Clash Royale allows users to form their own Clan and share cards to build their very own battle community. Available on Android and IOS platforms, Clash Royale quickly became No. 1 in the U.S. on the top downloads chart, as well as the top-grossing list on the iOS App Store game upon release. Last year Clash Royale also earned the coveted Google Play Award for Best Game of the Year, an award emphasizing app quality and innovation over the previous 12 months selected by a panel of experts on the Google Play team.

Over the past year Vermorel used his extraordinary editing skills to cut a plethora of commercials and In App ads for Clash Royale, including the incredibly popular “Clash Royale: Settle it with a Duel (Doctor v Doctor),” “Clash Royale: Settle Your Check With A DUEL!,” which has earned over 20 million views since it’s release last month, “Clash Royale Settle it with a Duel (Santa v. Dad)” and “Clash Royale: DEFUSE the Situation with a DUEL!” commercials.

“Clash Royale: Settle it with a Duel (Doctor v Doctor)” has earned a whopping 14 million views on Youtube since it’s debut on the Clash Royale Channel in January. The highly cinematic commercial is full of intensity and bright colors, which heightens the energy as two doctors battle it out over what treatment to give their patient– the perfect parallel to the intense competition users feel when playing Clash Royale.

Any user who sees the commercials edited by Vermorel would be hard pressed not to be pulled in by the cinematic effects, precise cuts and building energy set by the EDM music playing in the background– it’s no wonder that millions of users around the world have signed in and begun playing Clash Royale!

Vermorel says, “I love the game, and I love the company! They have a very modern way of working, each project is different, and there is always a new story.”

Rudy also edited a series of hilarious and visually modern character spots for the campaign, such as “I Am The Knight,” “The Log,” “Princess Got It,” “It’s A Goblin Barrel!,” and several more, all of which have gained incredible traction with viewers around the world garnering over a million views each on Youtube.

“I wanted to showcase the funny side of the characters and design the ads in a way that made them endearing, then I opted for a modern, dynamic editing approach in order to attract the interest of a large audience,” says Vermorel about his inspiration as the editor of the campaign.  

Aside from editing the Clash Royale campaign, Vermorel also edited a plethora of successful ads for Supercell’s Clash of Clans game. From the way he’s edited the commercials for each campaign, endowing the videos with an energetic and engaging vibe that is relevant to modern gamers, one might assume that Vermorel is a gamer himself, but ironically he is not! The fact that he is not a gamer, but has managed to edit the campaigns for both Clash Royale and Clash of Clans in a way that struck an obvious chord with users says quite a lot about his creative talent as an editor.

Klima says, “Rudy’s unique creativity and extensive knowledge as an editor are what have made him so successful. From our experience working together I can easily say he is the best at what he does and that is why we’ve hired him to continue on as the editor of future campaigns for Clash Royale.”

 

MASTER FILM EDITOR TAKASHI UCHIDA’S LIGHT TOUCH STRIKES COMEDY GOLD

Whether film editor Takashi Uchida is assigned a drama, fantasy or action film, the Japanese born craftsman always delivers a crisp, distinctive cut which enhances the impact of any story. Equally adept at complex narrative dramas—he worked with ten different directors on Actors Anonymous—or the walloping animated adventure of the Netflix Kong: King of the Apes series, Takashi’s technical facility and innate grasp of any subject’s subtly and nuance is uniformly excellent.

Takashi’s instinct for what a story requires and the impact even a single frame of film can have to achieve a specific dramatic goal is masterly, and these formidable skills were recently brought to bear on a new type of subject for the editor, the fizzy tween comedy Jessica Darling’s IT LIST, an Amazon online release starring Disney TV actress and YouTube phenomenon Chloe East.

Adapted from the sixth of Megan McCafferty’s best-selling teen novel series, the middle school-set prequel presented a unique new setting for Takashi. The titular ‘It List” passed down by a sibling to her little sister when  she enters junior high, touts “the 3 Ps: popular, pretty, perfect” as Jessica’s requisite goals for survival. Intrigued at the prospect of exploring new thematic territory, Takashi didn’t hesitate.

“I was introduced, by a mutual friend, to editor Daniel Hanna, who was a good friend of the director, Ali Scher, and I joined the team as co-editor,” Takashi said. “After I started the project, a couple of Japanese friends said they had read the novel as teens and told me how the books actually became an important part of their young lives. So, I was really proud to be working on a project that I hoped would stay in the audience’s heart like that, as a bright spot in their own youth.”

Takashi doesn’t just inhabit a story, he carefully manipulates the action in a way that elevates each sequence. “In order to express the youth and freshness of the story, we were using a very playful editing style, making creative transitions,” he said. “But at the same time, however comedic it is, there’s still dramatic arc in each character and the editor’s job is to reconcile these two elements.”

Takashi’s deft handling of the story’s content paid off. “Takashi is a great editor because he is dedicated and detail oriented.” Scher said. “He’s also a fantastic storyteller. He can see where the story in a scene is and flush it out in the cut in a way I might not have thought of. That’s what a great editor does—brings the director a new perspective on something they’ve looked at a gazillion times. It’s always very exciting to get to see your film in a new light, the great editors understand this and push the envelope with their first cuts. Then it’s all about collaboration and marrying the two visions. Takashi excels at this because he doesn’t bring his ego to the table. The edit should never be a fight, but rather a dance, where the two partners each bring a lot of passion and a lot of give. Takashi is a great dance partner.”

Together with Hanna, the emotional content was carefully addressed. “In this film, we are trying to capture Jessica’s nervousness and struggle in this new place,” Takashi said. “It is her journey to find out who she is and also what it means to stay true to yourself. As an editor, crafting a narrative to express her emotion was the most important thing and our goal was, always, to build character and express their emotion.”

“There were a lot of challenges,” Takashi said. “I learned so much from editing this film. I was really lucky to work with such a talented director, Ali, and Dan, a great co-editor. Also, a lot of times the editor really has to work on shaping up the acting in post-production, but I didn’t have to worry about it at all—these kids were so talented. I am really proud of it and I believe this film will remain in the audience’s heart along with many other classic teen movies.”

The mutual pleasure which radiated throughout the IT LIST team imbued the finished product with great warmth, charm and appeal, and connected them on both a personal and professional level. “Takashi was such a joy to work with,” Scher said. “He was innovative and hard working. It takes a lot of determination and perseverance to be a great editor and Takashi worked a scene until it truly sang. I personally could not be more pleased with the work that Takashi did and the way the film turned out. I would definitely work with him again, no question.”

 

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.”

Canadian Editing Magician David Guthrie

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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.

The Magician Behind the Scenes: Sunghwan Moon

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Korean Film Editor Sunghwan Moon

 

No medium exhibits the importance of collaborating with a wide array of creative minds quite like film production. And possibly no other title at the center of this marvelous art form holds it all together like the position of an editor.

An actor’s rehearsed lines have no meaning without the editor’s contribution. The director’s constant input lacks any sort of importance or cohesion without the editor working his or his magic. And most importantly, the writer’s story has no discernible narrative if not for the hard work fashioned by the editor, which ties everyone’s work together in the final product.

Sunghwan Moon knows this better than anyone. His hard work, dedication, resilience, and knack for working well with others have helped establish him as a remarkable editor in the world of film and television.

It is no wonder that the Korean-born Moon was one of only 14 film editors selected annually to participate in the renowned American Film Institute (AFI) conservatory program.  His talents were quite apparent in the film and TV industries in Korea but once he moved to Los Angeles to attend AFI his career officially took off.

Attending AFI allowed Moon to build a significant and valuable network of relationships, including a couple of directors that would go on to provide him with some of the most challenging, yet satisfying jobs of his career to date.

One such film was director Kristine Namkung’s well-received romantic comedy Head Trauma. This film, which revolves around an Asian-American girl who gets a head injury and loses her ability to control her impulses, was right up Moon’s alley. The film’s simple yet elegant editing style helped gain attention noticed among festival goers including rave reviews at the Los Angeles Shorts Festival.

Shortly after receiving high praise for his work on the film, Moon’s successful momentum in the industry continued when he landed an editing position on writer-director Logan Sandler’s film Tracks. Starring Keith Stanfield (Straight Outta Compton, Selma) and Dominique Razon (Criminal Minds, Scorpion) the film follows the life of an amateur skater who is left to care for the young daughter of his girlfriend on the day of an important skateboard tournament.

“The director’s vision for this film was very clear…He and the DP shot the film in a way so that the camera looks at the main character all the time like a documentary,” says Moon.

In fact, in order to emulate the appropriate effect for Tracks, Moon reached out to veteran editor Nicholas Chaudeurge (Still Alice, Fish Tank) whose work inspired Moon’s editing on Tracks. His advice was immensely helpful and shortly thereafter they became close friends.

“I tried to respect how it was shot and edit accordingly. And this film got into many festivals around the world including this year’s AFI FEST,” adds Moon.

In addition to being chosen as an Official Selection of the Cambridge Film Festival, Rome International Film Festival, and the 24FPS International Short Film Festival where it received a Best Actor Award for Keith Stanfield’s performance.

“I’m happy that he won because a big part of editor’s job is to shape actors’ performance,” explains Moon.

.Moon’s precise edits coupled with the enthralling story and crafty camera work earned the film a Grand Jury Prize nomination at the 2015 AFI Fest.

Moon definitely understands the importance of paying close attention to the director’s vision of any project, as well as the DP’s shooting technique in order to properly accomplish the desired effect.

He says, “In general, I believe how the footage is shot tells you how to edit. The footage tells you how to cut.”

Some of Sunghwan Moon’s other films to date include The Confession, The Superman, Mrs. Alderman, The Lost Generation, Together Alone and many more. Through each of his projects as lead editor it is easy to see this truly talented editor’s intuitive relationship with footage and his ability to create a seamless story that fits the goal of the film, no matter how different one project is from the next.