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I was listening to a podcast this morning in which Eliza Hittman, the director of the feature film Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always was being interviewed. It very clearly highlighted to me that she is a talented filmmaker, although I have yet to see this film or any of her others. She just talked like one, both in terms of her writing and her directing. But something caught my ear as she was discussing her work, and that was the praise that she had for her editor.

Now I’d have to say it was brief, and understandably so. The interviewer was pressing her on her approach to filmmaking and she was trying to respond succinctly to his questions.

But in pondering what to write about this week it made me want to highlight the craft of editing that can so often go unacknowledged, whether it be in features, drama, or any other genre. Sure, we have awards that bestow upon the editor some recognition, but in general conversation both within and outside of the industry you rarely hear someone say that the editing was amazing.

Of course it’s not that easy to single out editing, in big part because the best editing is invisible according to many of the greats who practise the craft at the highest levels.

It can be easy to think that editing is a technical craft, particularly since digital technology took over the edit suite. Yes, button pushing, technical wizardry and digital manipulation have replaced scissors and tape. Editing operates though at both a conscious and an unconscious level—feel, mood, pace, tension—these and all the other elements of filmmaking are as much the realm of the editor as they are of the director.

As in Eliza’s case, the person most likely to complement the editor is the director, particularly in features. They generally are true collaborators crafting the work together: Scorsese with Schumacher, Caro with Coulson, Pooley with Woodhouse. You don’t have to dig deep to see where the director – editor bond exists, and stays when the connection is found.

In television, it’s more often the producer who appoints the editor or editors to a project. And most producers know a good editor can save their bacon. Smart directors quickly figure this out as well.

We are fortunate in New Zealand to have a lot of good editors. On the DEGNZ board, Annie Collins, Francis Glenday, Margot Francis. Peter Roberts, former President of DEGNZ, another. Current President Howard Taylor, who now firmly sits in the director seat, started out and worked for many years as an editor. And we have many other current and past members who have made their mark as editors on both New Zealand and international features and shows. As well, we see in our workshops and through the work we are exposed to new generations of editors who are grasping both the craft and the art that makes great editing.

Next time you watch something great on the big or small screen, take some time to find out who the editor was if it’s not something you do already, and look them up. They will have made a big a contribution to your enjoyment most likely because you didn’t notice it.

So let’s move that rarely said acknowledgement to sometimes or always, making editors and editing a little more real to everyone.

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

Ko te manu e kai ana i te miro nōnā te ngahere, 
ko te manu e kai ana i te mātauranga nōnā te ao.

‘The forest belongs to the bird who feasts on the miro berry, 
the world belongs to the bird who feasts on education’.

Two-Day Workshop for Maori Editors 17 & 18 April

This workshop is for emerging to mid-level Maori editors with a focus on preparing you to transition to independent drama productions.

Tikanga Maori will be in place, some tutors are te reo speakers, and te reo is welcomed in the workshop.

We will cover:

  • setting up an Editorial department
  • interaction with the pre-production and production crew
  • scheduling an edit
  • setting up the workflow systems from camera originals through to handovers to independent post houses (sound design, picture conform, composer, VFX, titles graphic artist)
  • relationships with other departments including producers and directors
  • handling screenings, and giving and receiving feedback.

The focus is on managing an independent Editorial department for an independent production, not on how to edit – it is assumed that you know how to edit and you have your own style and vision that you should retain. The workshop will use Avid Ultimate 2020.8, and you are urged to familiarise yourself via online tutorials.

The workshop commences at 9:30am each day, finishing around 4:30pm with capacity for a chat, or a little extra time for finishing a task until 5:30pm if required. Lunch is provided, tea and coffee for morning and afternoon breaks.

Limited Spaces. We will email you to confirm whether you’ve been accepted.

Workshop Details

Ngā Kaiwhakahaere: Hineani Melbourne (NAW) & Tui Ruwhiu (DEGNZ)

Ngā Kaiako:

Te Rurehe Paki (editor Merata: how Mum Decolonised the Screen, Vapnierka, Making Good Men, The Gravediggers of Kapu)

Annie Collins (editor Coming Home in the Dark, premiere Sundance 2021)

Location: South Seas Film School Campus – Yoobee Colleges, Unit 6/75 Ellice Road, Wairau Valley, Auckland 0629

Price: Workshop offered free of charge because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Travel Allowances: If selected to attend, DEGNZ and NAW members may apply for financial assistance of up to $150 (incl. GST) towards their travel costs. To be eligible:

  • Applicants must live in New Zealand outside the Auckland region.
  • Applicants must be a current member of DEGNZ or NAW.
  • There are up to 8 travel allowances available for this workshop.

 

Application Form

Applications Deadline: Friday 9 April, 2PM

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Brought to you by Ngā Aho Whakaari and the Directors & Editors Guild of NZ

       


with the generous support of the
New Zealand Film Commission.

NZFC

 

The series, naturally, shot in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, is now available for kiwis to enjoy. Several DEGNZ members are credited on the series, including Alex Boyd as Editor, Amanda Mulberry as 1st Assistant Editor and Scott Milligan as Assistant Editor.

New Zealand’s favourite spooky investigators are back in business! Officers Minogue and O’Leary are keeping the streets of Aotearoa’s capital safe from the unexplainable. Catch it on TVNZ2 or TVNZ OnDemand. New episodes Wednesdays.

Watch now

DEGNZ member Ben Wildish is the Kaiwawahi Korero (editor) on the series. The series follows kiwi icon, Stan Walker through 2020 as he juggles the role of musician, activist, son, brother and friend. With whanau on both sides of the Tasman, the show offers an unfiltered look into the lives of Stan and his whanau.

New episodes are released every Monday.

Watch now.

Editor Chia Hsu

The Directors & Editors Guild of NZ is pleased to (finally) announce DEGNZ member Chia Hsu as the attachment to editor Dan Kircher.

Originally, Chia was to commence her attachment in March of this year when the production of New Zealand feature film Millie Lies Low was halted by the coronavirus pandemic. Millie Lies Low is now in post production in Auckland.

“I am really looking forward to observing how Dan approaches editing up close, to learn how he solves problems, and to have a sneak peek at how he works his magic into a film,” said Chia.

She entered post production in mid-2015 as an assistant editor to documentaries, working with veteran filmmakers and editors on films and series, including Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web, Yellow is Forbidden and Dark Tourist, among others. Her work includes editing on short film Memory Foam, additional editor on Yellow is Forbidden and The Girl on the Bridge.

Her experiences working on these projects and the exposure steered her towards a career path in film and TV editing.

“I am thrilled about the opportunity to be privy to the editing process of a feature drama film,” Chia writes. “How editors communicate and collaborate with directors and producers is an area I wish to gain further insight, and I would also love to know more about the editor’s involvement in the online process and post sound.”

The DEGNZ Drama Editor Attachment Scheme was initiated to give emerging drama editors the opportunity to advance their craft through shadowing and mentoring from an experienced drama editor. Recipients learn through attendance during editing and later, at director, producer and/or funding body screenings, about the critique and response process so vital to the successful creative collaboration required of the feature film editor. The scheme is made possible thanks to funding from the New Zealand Film Commission.

Millie Lies Low is directed by Michelle Savill, and produced by Desray Armstrong and Angela Littlejohn.