EditFest 2008 Editors Unite to Inform Next Generation

The American Cinema Editors (ACE) has advanced the art and dignity of editing for almost 60 years. On August 8 and 9, the society continued its mission with the first annual EditFest, highlighting the craft of editing and celebrating some of the industry’s top film and television editors.

The intimate event and informal setting provided plenty of opportunities for interaction between panelists and attendees, starting with a Friday-night welcome panel moderated by ACE vice-president and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit supervising producer, Randy Roberts, A.C.E. The panel, consisting of editors Tina Hirsch, A.C.E., Maysie Hoy, A.C.E., Bonnie Koehler, A.C.E., Carol Littleton, A.C.E., Stephen Lovejoy, A.C.E. and Michael Tronick, A.C.E. discussed how they became editors and gave advice to future generations. After a raffle that gave away DVD sets, Video Symphony gift certificates and Avid editing software, more individual advice on editing was imparted at the networking cocktail party that followed.

Saturday’s itinerary began at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood with the second annual Prime Cuts panel, moderated by Shawn Ryan, creator and executive producer of The Shield. Co-hosted by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the panel—made up of top television editors, Marus Berzins, Gregg Featherman, Chris Nelson, A.C.E., Tatiana S. Riegel, A.C.E., Andrew Seklir and Leo Trombetta, A.C.E.—showed clips and discussed their Emmy-award winning work.

After lunch, attendees reconvened at Universal Studios for the Editors of Summer Blockbusters panel moderated by ACE president Alan Heim. Using film excerpts for show-and-tell, editors discussing the specific challenges and ways of working on big-budget special effects pictures were Mark Goldblatt, A.C.E. (The Terminator), Mark Helfrich, A.C.E. (X-Men: The Last Stand), Dan Lebental, A.C.E. (Iron Man) and Rick Shaine, A.C.E. (The Incredible Hulk).

Visual Effects Society founder Tom Atkin moderated the Animation Editing panel. Sharing the inside story of the editing process in animation by screening clips that showed the progression from storyboarding to final animation complete with sound and music, were top animation editors Torbin Bullock (The Bear and the Bow), John Carnochan, A.C.E. (The Simpsons Movie), Pixar post production supervisor Paul Cichocki, Axel Geddes (WALL-E), Clare Knight (Kung Fu Panda) and Jim Stewart, A.C.E. (Monsters, Inc.).

Wrapping up the EditFest was the Cutting for Comedy panel moderated by veteran editor Steve Rasch, A.C.E.. Revealing what it takes to edit “funny,” comic editing masters Craig Alpert (Pineapple Express), Janet Ashikaga, A.C.E. (Seinfeld), Dana Glauberman, A.C.E. (Juno), Jeff Gourson (Happy Gilmore), Peck Prior (Joe Dirt) and Kevin Tent, A.C.E. (Sideways) had the last laugh as they shared clips and stories about how to tickle the audience’s funny bone.

The wisdom of years of experience and the stories shared were colorful and numerous, and the passion for storytelling and dedication to a demanding, yet rewarding career was apparent in all the panelists and appreciated by attendees aspiring to follow in the footsteps of these accomplished editors. Dana Glauberman perhaps summed up the joys of working in the profession best in her comment, “I get lost in what I do because I love it so much.”

Sponsors for the event were Avid, Laser Pacific, Universal Studios, UTA, Motion Picture Editors Guild, Lantana, Paradigm, Video Symphony, Artbeats, Frankfurt Film Fest, HD Expo, Hollywood Post Alliance, P3 Update, Post Magazine and Runway.

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