May 28, 2014

On today's POV Blog, 2014 Fellow Colin Nusbaum is interviewed about the role of the assistant editor:

What are the responsibilities of an assistant editor? Do they vary from job to job, or are they very well defined?

Each film is going to be very different. I’ve rarely ever replicated the exact process as an assistant, but always took it upon myself to carefully consider what might work best given the technicalities and goals for each film. Naturally, that also meant that if an editor was already set to work on the film that I would check in with him or her about organizational preferences.

Read on...



Colin Nusbaum (photo by Tanya Braganti)

March 6, 2014

Colin Nusbaum is our 2014 Fellow! The selection committee was struck by Colin’s intelligence, humility, love of collaboration, passion for non-fiction storytelling and his excellent work as co-editor of the feature documentary, The Sheik and I. He will formally receive the Fellowship on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at the SXSW Film Festival Awards Ceremony in Austin, Texas.

Board President Garret Savage, who oversaw the selection committee, praised Colin and his qualifications: “We were really impressed by the caliber of our applicants, as we have been for the past four years. But Colin stood out as an especially adept editor and a perceptive problem-solver. Plus, his collaborators testified to what a special person he is to work with. We can’t wait to help him in the next phase of his young career.”

Colin is thrilled about the honor. “The validation and opportunity that this fellowship provides is prodigious,” he says. “While I don’t aim to or think I can fill the shoes of Karen, I will certainly look to her approach, professionalism and her heart as a guide. Similarly, I hope to follow in the path of past fellows who are proving themselves amazing editors on award-winning films.” Read about more of Colin's thoughts on the Fellowship, stories worth telling, and Karen in his first Fellowship blog entry.

Colin's editing mentors will be Jean Tsien, ACE (Drivers Wanted, Please Vote for Me); Jonathan Oppenheim (Paris is Burning, The Oath); and David Teague (Cutie and the Boxer, E-TEAM).


Colin, originally from Toledo, Ohio, was inspired to pursue filmmaking after taking a tour of the International Red Cross museum in Switzerland. He saw that although the Red Cross lacks military might or binding power, they can change minds and incite action based on the stories they tell about people's lives. When he returned home, he delved into watching documentaries and working on independent films.

When Colin moved to New York in 2008, he worked as a research and production intern on Liz Garbus’s HBO film, Shouting Fire: Stories from the Edge of Free Speech. Since then he’s worked in a variety of roles, but none captured his attention like editing. Colin says he is “drawn to the subtle artistry of editing, where small alterations of timing, sequence, and character revelations can wholly change the experience of the audience.”

He got a big break in 2010 when he was hired to shoot Caveh Zahedi’s documentary The Sheik and I in the United Arab Emirates. In addition to their daytime roles, Nusbaum and the crew shared the task of editing down of the massive amount of dailies at night. Caveh says, “It quickly became apparent that Colin’s scenes were not only the best ones, but better than what I myself could have done.” Back in New York, Zahedi hired him to co-edit the film with him and now says that Colin “has a sense of pacing, of economy, and of the poetry of a scene that is extraordinary. He’s the most naturally gifted editor I have ever had the pleasure to work with in my 30-plus years of filmmaking. He’s also one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.”

From The Sheik and I.

Colin's latest editing credit is the feature documentary Tough Love, directed by Stephanie Wang-Breal, which premieres at a Full Frame next month. Stephanie says, “Colin was a magician in the edit room. He was able to make elements appear and disappear so elegantly that you forgot you had watched the scene 15 different times already. His sense of humor and character brought great energy to the edit room and editing process.”

From Tough Love.

In case you were wondering (we were!), in the edit room Colin devours raw almonds and drinks a lot of tea. He lives in Brooklyn.



by Colin Nusbaum, 2014 Fellow

I think I inherited a skepticism and penchant for realism from my father. He liked to watch sports games, and when I was little, I liked to watch them with him. We were not deterred that our favorite teams from Detroit didn’t win very often because the journey of a game was enough entertainment. We would watch movies together too—mostly Hollywood hits or whatever reruns were on cable. At the time though, the fiction movies I saw didn’t do much to convince me that the actors playing roles were involved in situations that I should really care about or believe in. I had a difficult time investing in characters and stories that I understood to be fantasy, and so the entertainment seemed a bit flat.

To read the rest of Colin's first blog entry, click here.



February 24, 2014

Cultural Weekly ran an extensive (and awesome) interview with Jim Hession about the process of cutting Rich Hill.

At one point, writer Sophia Stein asks Jim, "How were you introduced to directors Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo for the first time and invited to collaborate on 'RICH HILL'?"

Jim replies, "I received the Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship Award at the beginning of 2013, which generated some nice press. I believe that’s how Tracy and Andrew heard my name."

Well, we're awfully proud of Jim and are please to know that we helped him get hired on a great film. That's a big part of our mission!

Click here to read the entire interview.



Awarded annually, the Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship was created in 2010 to honor the memory of gifted editor Karen Schmeer. It is a year-long experience that encourages and champions the talent of an emerging documentary editor. It creates opportunities to help cultivate an editor’s artistry and craft, and expand his or her professional and creative community.

The 2014 Fellowship includes: 

  • Mentorship with three veteran editors
  • Full festival passes to ACE EditFest in New York and Los Angeles
  • Class at the Manhattan Edit Workshop – an Apple, Adobe & Avid Authorized Training Center
  • Film Badge with full film festival access to the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas
  • Chrome Pass with full festival access to the Independent Film Festival Boston
  • Travel expenses to two of the aforementioned festivals/classes (airfare, 3 nights of hotel, per diems)
  • Summer Series Triple Membership for Rooftop Films, NYC, plus a $1000 equipment rental credit
  • Season Pass to Stranger Than Fiction at the IFC Center in NYC
  • $1000 cash award
  • $250 online gift certificate to Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon (Karen’s favorite)
  • "Special" membership in ACE (American Cinema Editors society) (benefits include subscription to Cinema
    Editor magazine)

For more information about Fellowship benefits and eligibility requirements, please visit the FAQ page.



AMERICAN CINEMA EDITORS (ACE) is an honorary association of professional film editors that celebrates and promotes the art of editing. Editors are included on the basis of professional achievement, dedication to educating others, and commitment to the craft of editing. ACE Website