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.

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The Fellowship is presenting a panel at this weekend's Independent Film Festival of Boston entitled "The Art of Documentary Editing: Case Studies" Panelists will be Francisco Bello ("Our Nixon" and "Best Kept Secret") and Pola Rapaport ("Here One Day"). We'll be comparing scenes as they were in the rough cut with how they look in the final cut. The panel, moderated by Garret Savage, will be at 3:30 on Saturday, April 27 at The Somerville Theater. Tickets are free and first-come-first-served. Last year we sold out. For more info click here.


FRANCISCO BELLO (Panelist) is an OSCAR® and three time Emmy nominee. He launched Ropa Vieja Films in 2007 with "Salim Baba" (HBO, Canal+, EBS), which he shot and produced in Kolkata, India. "Salim Baba" has screened in over 100 festivals worldwide including Sundance, Telluride, IDFA, and Tribeca. In 2008 "Salim Baba" was Nominated for a Best Short Documentary OSCAR®, followed by a News & Documentary Emmy Nomination in 2009. His directorial debut commissioned by HBO Documentary Films was "El Espíritu de la Salsa," which premiered at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival. Francisco produced and edited "War Don Don," which won the Special Jury prize at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival and the first annual IFFB Karen Schmeer Award for Excellence in Documentary Editing. "War Don Don" received Emmy nominations for Outstanding Coverage of a News Story and Outstanding Editing. Most recently, he edited the films "Our Nixon," "Best KEpt Secret," and is co-directing "Dreaming Against the World" (formerly titled "Mu Xin: Notes from the Underground) all due for release in 2013.

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POLA RAPAPORT (Panelist) is a writer, director, and editor of many award winning films. Her work includes "Subway: The Musical" (a work-in-progress feature documentary), "Hair: Let the Sun Shine In," the definitive documentary on the phenomenal Broadway musical; "Writer of O," a portrait of the elusive author of the erotic novel Story of O; "Family Secret," the story of the filmmaker's search into her father’s secretive life and of the discovery of her secret Romanian brother; "Blind Light," a story of a photographer’s peak experience in a villa in Italy, starring the star of “The Sopranos," Edie Falco; and "Broken Meat," a portrait of the mad poet Alan Granville (Sundance Film Festival doc competition). She is the editor of several feature documentaries, including Kathy Leichter's “Here One Day," the award-winning “Grace Paley: Collected Shorts," "Aug Wiedersehen," and "Fine Rain," as well as editor of several successful fundraising promos and short documentary pieces. She was a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, a sound editing Emmy nominee and winner of numerous grants & awards. Pola is Married to DP Wolfgang Held, with whom she has often collaborated. She is a graduate of the Institute of Film and Television at New York University.

GARRET SAVAGE (Moderator) is an editor and producer based in Brooklyn. His documentary editing credits include the Peabody Award-winning “My Perestroika,” HBO's “How Democracy Works Now” series, “Ready, Set, Bag!” (LA Film Festival), and IFC's “4-Cylinder 400.” He was an associate producer of the Emmy-nominated feature documentary “Pressure Cooker” (Participant Films). He has enjoyed working for Paramount Pictures, ABC/ESPN, Discovery, IFC, AMC, MTV, and more. Garret was a 2009 Sundance Documentary Edit and Story Lab Fellow. He was the Program Director of the Nantucket Film Festival’s Teen View Film Lab and is a founder and Board President of the Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship.


                                                                                                                   photo ©Tanya Braganti

                                                                                                                   photo ©Tanya Braganti

In a year featuring many strong applicants who were deserving of recognition, Jim Hession ("Hesh-uhn") impressed us with his intelligence, integrity, sense of humor and the exceptional editing talent he displayed in his role as co-editor of the acclaimed feature documentary Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present. We look forward to helping him by creating opportunities for him to grow creatively and expand his professional community.

Jim will officially receive the thrid annual Fellowship on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at the SXSW Film Festival Award Ceremony in Austin, Texas. We hope you get a chance to meet him soon.

Born in New York City and raised in Northampton, Massachusetts, Jim has worked in film and television for the last 10 years. He graduated with a B.A. in American Studies from Tufts University, where his interest in documentary film was first piqued after enrolling in an "experimental journalism" course.

"Our first assignment was to watch Fast, Cheap and Out of Control," remembers Jim. "And our second assignment was to watch Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. Of course, both of these films were edited by Karen, and I can honestly say that if I had never seen them, I may not have pursued a career in film."

After graduating, Jim first worked as an assistant editor at Scout Productions in Boston, Massachusetts. He soon moved to New York City, where he began assisting on various HBO productions for a number of documentary editors, including Juliet Weber and Geof Bartz, A.C.E. In 2008, the production company Show of Force hired Jim as an associate editor on CIRCUS, a 6-part documentary series that premiered on PBS in early 2010. Following the project's completion, he remained with Show of Force, editing numerous commercials, web videos, trailers, and industrial documentaries before being asked to edit Marina alongside editor E. Donna Shepherd.

Jim's favorite edit room snacks are pistachio nuts, sunflower seeds and Gummy Bears. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, Mariela, and their daughter, Isabella Rose.

“I am both thrilled and honored to represent the Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship as this year's fellow,” Jim says. “Karen’s work has been enormously influential in my life, and it is consequently very sobering for me to have been granted the opportunity to play a small role in helping keep her memory alive.” Read more from Jim in his 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 $250 gift certificate to Portland’s Powell’s Books (Karen’s favorite bookstore).

"Karen carried her immense talents, creativity and intelligence with remarkable humility and open-minded generosity," said Ellie Lee, a founding Board Member of the Fellowship and a close friend of Karen. "She treated her films with the same care as she did her friends and complete strangers: with deep empathy, humor and kindheartedness. I was, and still am, amazed at how, despite how busy she was, she always tried to make time to help young editors and aspiring directors. We're honored to carry her legacy with this annual Fellowship in her memory."

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

KSFEF SXSW Meet Up Details Announced

The Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship is hosting a meet up at SXSW for editors, filmmakers and film industry folks on Monday, March 11 at Cheer Up Charlie's (1104 E. 6th St., Austin) from 2-4 PM. There will be drink specials and lots of awesome editors (are there any other kinds?), including our new Fellow. RSVP to info@karenschmeer is helpful but not required.


"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.

 Continue reading...


                                                                                                                                   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.