American Cinema Editors and the Manhattan Edit Workshop will be sponsoring another EditFest NY this June 11th and 12th. This will mark the second consecutive New York event at the Directors Guild of America Theater. This year the sponsors promise "even bigger and better" and from the line up they have so far, that may be the case. What I find interesting about this year's panel sessions is that A.C.E and MEWSHOP are focusing more on editors screening and deconstructing their work. Although last years panels did do some breaking down of scenes and the other topics they covered were fascinating, the real gem of the event in 2009 in my opinion was the editor,Tom Haneke who showed a section of raw material he started with and then the final cut from that raw footage. He followed the screenings of the before and after scene by talking about why he made those editorial decisions and all the ways it made the scene stronger. It was a terrific example of how much sculpting an editor does in order to create something intriguing and watchable. Great material to go to school on.
This year, the second day of EditFest NY is offering a Saturday morning session entitled "The Documentary Edit: Finding The Moment", which is so essential and often the most challenging aspect of documentary filmmaking. Sometimes obvious when you see it while screening material, sometimes a last minute catch of a character's spit-second reaction, these are the moments that can make or break a film. For non-scripted work,"the moments" are the gems to search for. The panel description for this session reads "Documentary editors discuss writing with images". I really believe no matter how experienced an editor is, hearing accomplished editor's process on this subject, is invaluable.
Other interesting highlights include Avatar editors Steve Rivkin and John Refoua, plus Susan Morse (an editor of some of Woody Allen's greats), Andrew Weisblum (The Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Wrestler) and many more, including some great television cutters. Although I didn't notice a lot of documentary editors listed yet, last year they had a terrific list of panelists so I trust it will be the same this June.
I am not an entry level editor trying to get into the business and I still found EditFest NY 2009 to be really quite valuable. I think the sessions speak to both interns and experienced editors alike. It's a unusual event as it's focused on just editorial work and provides an opportunity to really hear from a variety of editors and do a little networking with others that are as excited about the work as you are. See you there.