We're excited to announce that Anna Gustavi is our 2015 fellow! She captured the screening committee members’ hearts and minds on many levels, including her self-described "sense of responsibility" to the sounds and images she assembles, her keen interest in learning from other editors and filmmakers, and her sensitive portrayal of pianist Seymour Bernstein in the feature documentary Seymour: An Introduction. She will officially receive the fellowship on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at the SXSW Film Festival Awards Ceremony in Austin, Texas.
"It’s so fitting to present our fifth annual award to Anna," says Garret Savage, Schmeer Fellowship Board President. "Having discovered film through a fine arts education instead of film school, Anna has followed a unique career trajectory, as did Karen, who studied anthropology and photography before editing for Errol Morris. While Anna has only completed one feature documentary, she has already demonstrated an innate sense of rhythm and emotion along with a natural instinct for stellar storytelling.”
Anna is elated about receiving the fellowship, “I have a deep admiration for Karen’s style, sensibility and craft. And the fellowship, in the way that it helps emerging editors, is a great tribute to her legacy. I’m very honored and humbled to join an accomplished line of previous fellows. I’m looking forward to experiencing all that the fellowship has to offer, especially to humbly receive mentorship from skilled editors whose work I admire.”
Anna’s mentors for the year will be Bob Eisenhardt, A.C.E. (Meru, Valentino: The Last Emperor); Matthew Hamachek (Cartel Land, If a Tree Falls); and Toby Shimin (Buck, How to Dance in Ohio).
About Anna and her work
Anna grew up in Sweden where, in art school, she was drawn to the boundary-pushing work of experimental film and video artists. Frustrated by the lack of attention paid to the craft of filmmaking in the art world, she self-taught through books, screenings and trial and error. In 2006, she moved to New York where she got a BFA from the School of Visual Arts and learned that films can successfully straddle the worlds of the gallery and the movie theater. Anna has approached her work from that point of view ever since.
In the midst of interning and working on friends’ projects, a career break came in 2013 when Anna was given the opportunity to cut a sample trailer for what became the feature documentary, Seymour: An Introduction (Ethan Hawke, dir.). Her excellent editing led Room 5 Films to hire Anna as the film’s editor. Greg Loser, producer of Seymour, praises Anna as a “bright, hard working filmmaker who’s driven by artistic, rather than career-minded, principles. She’s adept at balancing storytelling with moments of grace and poetry.” This is evident in the film’s success: it had its world premiere at Telluride, received glowing reviews, and went on to screen at the Toronto and New York film festivals. Seymour: An Introduction will be released theatrically this Friday, March 13 in New York City by IFC Films followed by a wider release on March 20.