We're excited to announce that Eileen Meyer is our 2016 fellow! Eileen impressed us with her her confident spirit, strong work ethic, and the ways in which she has been pushing herself to new professional heights. We also loved her playful and insightful editorial style in her work as an editor of Best of Enemies , a documentary about ideological opposites William F. Buckley Jr. and Gore Vidal as they hold a series of riveting, nationally televised debates that usher in a new era of public discourse and pundit TV. She will receive the fellowship on Tuesday, March 15, 2016 at the SXSW Film Festival Awards Ceremony in Austin, Texas.
Garret Savage, Schmeer Fellowship Board President says, “Eileen is a talented rising editor whose interest in subject matter ranges from social justice issues to music docs. She’s a team player who loves collaborating with her co-editors and directors. We look forward to expanding her community and connecting her to inspiring mentors as she forges her career path and furthers her editing style.”
Eileen is deeply honored to be the sixth recipient of the fellowship and says, “Karen’s work has been inspiring to me in numerous and surprising ways, and it is humbling to join such an incredible group of past fellows. I just want to say thank you to Karen’s amazing group of friends who have created this opportunity in the face of such a tragedy. It is a true testament to her spirit and the effect she had on the people who knew her and the world, that her legacy will be carried on by generations of editors to come. I am looking forward to learning, sharing and collaborating — and to an amazing year ahead!”
Eileen’s mentors for the year will be Greg Finton, ACE (He Named Me Malala, Waiting for Superman); Pedro Kos (The Square, Waste Land); and Kim Roberts, ACE (The Hunting Ground, Food, Inc.).
ABOUT EILEEN AND HER WORK
Eileen graduated from Hampshire College with a degree in film. One of her first jobs was as an intern for Simon and Goodman Picture Company in New York City. They noticed her dedication and quickly promoted her to be the assistant editor for Rehearsing a Dream, a short film edited by Nancy Baker (Streetwise, Born into Brothels), which went on to win an Oscar nomination. Working with the veteran editor had a powerful effect on Eileen and it helped her make up her mind up to become a documentary editor.
By 2006 she was living in Memphis and working as an editor on documentaries and narratives for a small but vibrant community of filmmakers including Robert Gordon (who she would later work with on Best of Enemies), Brian Pera (Only Child) and Alan Spearman ($5 Cover: Amplified).
Seven years later, she moved to Los Angeles where she worked on a variety of projects including narrative films, but was eventually compelled to return to her roots in documentary. Her first feature documentary editing job was as an editor of Best of Enemies (dirs. Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon), which premiered in the U.S. Documentary competition at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, was nominated for Best Documentary at the Spirit Awards, shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Documentary, and nominated for the Cinema Eye Honor for Best Editing.
She’s currently editing State and Union (working title, dirs Lara Embry and Carolyn Sherer), a feature documentary that follows three lesbian families in Alabama whose stories exemplify the challenges that still remain in the fight for full LGBTQ equality.
Eileen’s collaborators are quick to praise her. Robert Gordon, co-director of Best of Enemies, has worked with Meyer off and on for 10 years and says that Meyer “has an empathetic intuitiveness that is rare in humans and, if it could be taught, might bring about world peace—as well as better films.” And Meyer's co-editor on Best of Enemies, Aaron Wickenden, noted that her "love and respect for the characters in our film allowed the audience to tap this feeling as well. It’s fair to attribute the success of the film in large part to this energy that Eileen manifested."
Today, PBS' POV Documentary Blog is publishing "Entering the Edit with Karen Schmeer Fellow Eileen Meyer," an interview with Eileen about her process and her goals for the fellowship