It took a while to land in documentary, but land I did. It’s at once deeply frustrating, and incredibly exhilarating, but nowhere else have I felt the kind of magic that happens when a story comes together.
I’ve worked on films in English, Swedish, French, Swahili, Dutch, Farsi, Spanish, and more. At times I am brought in because I don’t understand the language of origin, because I focus in on the visual storytelling, and help craft the project for a more international audience. The process is rarely easy, but what it does well is challenge a filmmakers assumptions, after they’ve been with a film for ages.
I love building stories with filmmakers.
BROWN GOLDcreators Annika Gustafson & Phil Jandaly
Brown Gold is a feature length documentary that explores poverty, responsibility, the problem of aid to developing countries, and sanitation itself. Visually it`s an amazing game of leapfrog from a chaotic Kenyan slum to the icy crispness of Sweden, and back again.
I`ve been on board since the beginning of the project, researching and refining the story with Annika, participating in research trips in the US, India and Kenya, editing the trailers and co-writing the proposals. Our collaboration resulted in significant grants from the Sundance/Skoll stories of Change initiative, as well as development grants from Canada. We took the project on the road and have pitched it at Hot Docs in Toronto and the Good Pitch at the SILVERDOCS festival in Silver Springs.
PRISON SISTERSdir. Nima Sarvestani
Directed by Nima Sarvestani, and co-edited with Jesper Osmund, Prison Sisters was a unique project as it was part of Nima’s trilogy. Shaping the story was a real challenge, that between Jesper and I we managed to crack.
(It’s also a great film for me because I use it in my master class as a case study of what can happen when editors and directors disagree.)
dir. Koen Suidgeest
Koen contacted me to come to Holland as a ringer, to help pull his ITVS commission together. The story of 5 young women from around the world standing as role models in environments burdened by poverty, it was a pleasure to build a story founded on positivity, and the can-do attitude of women who refuse to let themselves be limited by their circumstances.
dir. Setareh Persson
This was a biggie: my first editing job in Swedish, after being in the country just over two years. The director near central Sweden. One producer in Denmark. One in Malmo. And me, in the middle of nowhere.
Between on-line tech and good communication channels this doc about one woman’s horrible abuse, and the failure of the Swedish system to protect her was finished. The process of making it made me a better editor, helping me focus on the material that truly mattered to tell the story in the clearest and most respectful way possible, without falling into cliche or becoming too literal.
There are lots of accomplishments I’m proud of, but this one rankes up there with the top of the list.
KILLING TIMEdir. Annika Gustafson
winner Palme D’Or – Montreal Human Rights Film Festival
Covering the forced expulsion of a sixth of Bhutan’s population in the late eighties in a display of ethnic cleansing, the challenge here was in maintaining the dignity of people whose story is being told, of not reducing them to numbers or cliches. Another struggle was piercing the popular view of Bhutan as a peaceful Shangri-La where nothing of the kind could ever have happened. We were amazed at people’s resistance to the idea that a Buddhist nation were responsible for more than 100,000 refuges getting deadlocked in refuge camps in Nepal, waiting patiently and peacefully for a return to their homelands that would never happen.
The biggest nut to crack was how to cut a film where nothing really happens, where the central characters spend most of their time waiting.
Fortunately, shot in both Nepal and New York, we had an abundance of material to sift through, and the choices revealed themselves as the process unfolded. In that sense time became our friend. The people are beautiful, and their dignity shines on every frame. Letting them tell their own stories was the best choice we made.
dir: Peter Wiren
My first Swedish language work (not that there’s a lot of swedish in it).
A very fun project courtesy of Ett skott från höften, Malmö, a local event that puts teams of filmmakers together with a concept, gives them a week to fine tune a script, a day to shoot and a day to cut. A really well prepared shoot meant that I got a pretty simple batch of material to assemble. But then, as Mies van der Rohe always said, “God is in the details.”
Anyway, now I’ve cut films in 3 languages I didn’t understand. What more can you ask for.
THE PROPERTY SHOP
Season 1, Ep 10
Whalley Abbey Media
The most resources I’ve ever had to work with, but also the most material in the tightest timeline. I was second to last in the chain of editors who shaped this program, from the a-rollers to the b-rollers to the fine, fine cutter at the top.
A mountain of material was sifted through to isolate the true story nuggets (bless those assistants) and all the writers, producers and other editors were available in an unparalleled display of cooperation, to craft the best show we possibly could.
Demanding, but the most fun I’ve had on a TV show.
THE SHELDON KENNEDY STORY
As a native English speaker who also speaks perfect french, my skills were perfectly suited to this piece, shaping the nuances of the English content to the minutest detail and coupling it with the french.
I was brought in to take an hour and a half content assembly and shape it into the final program. B-roll material and music was delivered bit by bit, so I did a bit of my own archival research and discovered some material that was even more disturbing than what the producers had found. That’s when I realized that I’m a great information hunter.
It’s a depressing project ( in terms of story) to discover it with, but even so.
For a more comprehensive filmography please consult my IMDB page.