"Buoy," Schmeer Editing Fellow Lindsay Utz's first narrative feature, is screening this Saturday at the Northwest Filmmakers' Festival at the Whitsell Auditorium. We love that it was made in Karen's hometown of Portland.

  Lindsay and Steve take a break from editing "Buoy" 

Lindsay and Steve take a break from editing "Buoy" 

Oregon Confluence has an article about the film. And here's a one-minute trailer.

It begins a theatrical run at the Hollywood Theater in Portland on November 28.

Lindsay told us a little about working on it: "I cut the film in October 2011 in my parent's upstairs guest bedroom in Portland. We hauled a bunch of borrowed gear over to their place and set up the edit suiteI got the gig through my friend David who is the producer of Portlandia. The film world in Portland is small, so it's not uncommon to know pretty much everyone. My production career really started in Portland, so I have a lot of great contacts there still, and I love a good excuse to go back. It wasn't competitive to get the gig because they had no budget for an editor! Since I really wanted to get my hands on a fiction film, and also do something that was radically different from Bully, I volunteered a month to do the project. I would work alone during the day and then Steve would come by at night with dinner and beers and we would work together for a few hours. It was really fun to cut a film where, 90% of the time, you're in your pajamas. :-)"

Boston Phoenix coverage of Lindsay and the Fellowship

Monica Crowley at the Boston Phoenix wrote about Lindsay and the Fellowship in her "Outside the Frame" blog:


"Monica Castillo reports from South by Southwest: #1 The Karen Schmeer Fellowship"

And this year's award for promising new editor goes to...  

South by Southwest is just picking up speed in rainy Austin, and Boston has already made the news. Just ahead of the film festival's award ceremony on March 13 came the announcement that the Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship will be given to Lindsay Utz, editor of the controversial "Bully" documentary that is currently fighting with the MPAA over its recent rating ruling.

The KSFEF Board singled out Lindsay's skill in helping to tell the stories of 5 young students struggling to cope with bullying for its honor, marking the film as a stand-out first feature for the young editor. The Fellowship was established at last year's SXSW film festival to honor the memory of Karen Schmeer, a local award-winning film editor and Boston University alum. Her work on "The Fog of War" was singled out by fellow local director and frequent collaborator Errol Morris during his Oscar acceptance speech back in 2004. Sadly, she passed away in 2010 at the young age of 39.

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                                                                                                                                     photo ©Tanya Braganti

                                                                                                                                   photo ©Tanya Braganti

We're delighted to announce that Lindsay Utz (pronounced “yootz”) is the recipient of our second annual Fellowship! Lindsay will receive the Fellowship on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at the SXSW Film Festival Award Ceremony in Austin, Texas.

Lindsay impressed us with her keen intelligence, passion for storytelling, creative vision and her astute handling of sensitive material in her first documentary feature, “Bully” (releasing in theaters nationally on March 30). In addition to her raw talent, she’s articulate, perceptive, and committed to her craft. We can’t wait to help create opportunities for her to grow creatively and expand her professional community.

She started her career in Portland, Oregon—coincidentally Karen's hometown. In Portland, India, LA and New York, she worked as an editor, producer, and director on a variety of short-form projects. During her time as GOOD Magazine’s Director of Online Video, where she produced and/or edited over one hundred short documentaries and online episodes, Lindsay began to set her sights on cutting her first long-form project.

In 2010, she volunteered to edit an early trailer for a feature documentary work-in-progress. Her remarkable dedication and skill led to her being hired as the editor on the feature film itself. The film, “Bully” (formerly known as “The Bully Project”), went on to win several festival awards and was picked up for a national release by The Weinstein Company. The film is a character-driven documentary that takes an unflinching look at how bullying has touched five kids and their families. Since completing “Bully,” Lindsay has worked as consulting editor on the documentary "First Position;" edited “Buoy;” an experimental narrative feature; and cut two episodes of “The Fashion Fund,” a six-part documentary series for Hulu.

"I’m simply thrilled to be this year's Karen Schmeer Fellow,” Lindsay said. “Karen was a truly groundbreaking editor, and I’m humbled to be chosen for a Fellowship in her honor and memory. My work can only begin to live up to the exacting standards in craft, vision and creativity she left behind. I feel especially honored to be chosen for this award by my peers in the filmmaking world." Read more from Lindsay in her first blog entry here.

The year-long Fellowship is designed to foster the development of an emerging film editor by creating opportunities for him or her to grow creatively and expand his or her professional community. The experience includes mentorship opportunities, passes to film festivals and screening series, a $1000 cash award, and a $500 gift certificate to Portland’s Powell’s Books (Karen’s favorite bookstore).

“Karen always made time to help other filmmakers and editors, especially those just starting out, even when she was deep in her own edit,” notes Garret Savage, KSFEF Board Member. “In her characteristically humble way, she often downplayed how effective her advice would be, but those of us who received her perceptive insight valued it immensely. A group of us—some of Karen’s friends and colleagues—started this Fellowship as a way to honor her and carry on her generous spirit. And we’re very excited to be presenting this year to Lindsay, a talented emerging editor with so much potential.”

The KSFEF Board of Directors would like to thank all of the individuals and companies who have generously contributed funds and institutional support to make the Fellowship possible. 


Left: Erin Casper. Photo credit: Tanya Braganti.

Right: Erin accepts the fellowship at the SXSW Film Festival Award Ceremony on March 15, 2011.  Photo credit: Mary Sledd


The Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship, founded after the passing of accomplished editor Karen Schmeer (The Fog of War, Sketches of Frank Gehry), has awarded its inaugural fellowship to Erin Casper. Casper, editor of the documentary feature Our School, received the award on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival awards ceremony in Austin, Texas.

The fellowship is a year-long, in-depth experience designed to foster the development of an emerging, talented film editor. The fellowship includes: mentorship with an ACE editor, chosen to match the interests of the fellow; education at the Manhattan Edit Workshop; full festival passes to ACE Edit Fests in Los Angeles and New York; SXSW Festival Film Badge, including full access to films, panels, mentor sessions and more; chrome festival pass to the Independent Film Festival of Boston (IFFB); travel and hotel accommodations to one of the aforementioned festivals; $500 gift certificate to Powell’s Books in Portland (Karen’s favorite bookstore); a year-long membership to DocuClub, Arts Engine’s monthly screening series of documentary works-in-progress; and a season pass to Stranger Than Fiction, the IFC Center’s ongoing documentary film series.

Erin Casper is a rising talent in the documentary editing world. Having worked as an assistant and associate editor on a variety of documentary films including Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love, Erin recently completed her first feature as lead editor, Our School, a verité documentary directed by Mona Nicoara about school segregation of the Roma (‘Gypsy’) children in Romania. “Erin has been a joyful and formidable collaborator,” says Nicoara. “I have learned to fully trust her instincts and to listen very carefully when she stands her ground on issues of emotional structure and stylistic choices. The film fully reflects her quirky sensibility, emotional intelligence, and profound understanding of documentary ethics.”

Nearly 100 applications were received for the initial year of the fellowship from a diverse and talented group of editors across the country. Ms. Casper impressed the fellowship committee with her dedication, love of editing, humility, humor, curiosity and remarkable ability to shape a story as demonstrated in Our School. The film is premiering at the One World International Human Rights Film Festival in Prague this spring, followed by screenings at the Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival, Visions du Réel, and in competition at the Tribeca Film Festival, where the film will have its North American premiere. Casper was an editing fellow at the Sundance Institute Documentary Edit Lab in 2009 and at the Independent Filmmaker Project Documentary Lab in 2010. She attended the University of Iowa, graduating with honors with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and Art.

“Erin is the ideal recipient of the inaugural fellowship,” says Garret Savage, Fellowship Board Member. “She is on the precipice of an exciting and creative documentary editing career, and it’s our goal to help her reach that next level.” Through the fellowship’s year-long program, including notably a mentorship with an ACE editor, Casper will be afforded the chance to deepen her understanding of her craft and broaden her involvement in the documentary community.

"I am deeply honored," says Casper. "The news comes at a very exciting time, having just finished editing my first feature film and preparing for the next steps of 'editorhood.' Although I never met Karen, she inspired me to create a blueprint of how to be an editor, which makes this fellowship a particularly resonant honor for me personally."


Leah Marino, one of Karen's closest and dearest friends, wrote lovingly of Karen on the Austin Film Society website:

Karen Schmeer will always be my soul’s best friend. She was also one of the most talented documentary editors of her time.  If you love documentaries, you’ve seen her work including the first film she edited called Fast, Cheap and Out of Control, by Errol  Morris. She spent a lot of time with friends here in Austin where the city and people held a place in her heart. Many of you crossed paths with her, I’m sure. That makes me happy to think about. You can learn more about her life and death here.

I’m writing to tell you that The Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship has been launched in her name to recognize, honor and assist editors—offering an assortment of opportunities to the perhaps “under-served’ but not undeserving editor.


How do you remember someone and keep him or her close forever? I’m still trying to figure it out, but I think it’s through continuing to spread the love and the spark that is their life.

Sincerest gratitude to the supportive community I have found here and that has helped me through the most difficult… and great times.


Original article here.