Colin Nusbaum (photo by Tanya Braganti)

                                                                                                                     Colin Nusbaum (photo by Tanya Braganti)

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.

From   The Sheik and I.

From The Sheik and I.

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   Tough Love.

From Tough Love.

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.”

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.