Global Editing Perspectives

May 31, 2022

Following the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ move to degrade the best editing Oscar as a sideshow in their 2022 broadcast, it becomes even more important to educate the general public all around the world about the onlycreative discipline that is unique to motion pictures: editing.

Of course ACE has been very active since its inception in teaching whoever wanted or even did not want to be enlightened about the least understood art and craft of how anything that appears on small or giant screens is created. To empower our virtual bullhorn even more we have tried for years to broaden the reach of our
voice across the borders and actively look for and connect with sister organizations across the globe.

ACE’s active International Relations Committee (IRC) has been working and advocating the expansion of our international presence. Especially when we were confined to our homes during COVID we were blessed with the proliferation of the new digital platforms that made connecting without masks and dangers of infections a healthy alternative to in-person meetings. But it also allowed us to better and more conveniently connect with our colleagues and sister organizations abroad. Time zones, foreign languages and proficiency in English proved to be the only limiting factors in discussing the challenges we as editors around the world face on a daily basis: We soon noticed that there are more things that unite us than things that separate us on the technical – and even more on the creative – side of our jobs.

Over the years the major U.S. studios and especially streamers like Netflix, Amazon and HBO have increased their presence and production capacity around the world not only because of exotic or historic locations but also due to lower wages and limiting factors like unions and labor laws. They’re able to do this because the work that goes into the making of a motion picture is very similar wherever you go. But this similarity gives especially the workers in all the creative disciplines of the motion picture industry the opportunity to connect with each other and exchange the ties that bind us.

Almost at the same time that ACE started to look into ways to expand its reach internationally by creating the IRC, editors in Europe connected through the Filmplus Festival in Cologne, Germany. This festival, last year renamed Edimotion, is dedicated to honoring editing in motion pictures. At this festival,

European editors formed TEMPO, an overarching body of editor organizations that later expanded to also include organizations globally. This year ACE, following the advice of the IRC, joined TEMPO with Michelle Tesoro, ACE, and Edgar Burcksen, ACE, NCE, as representatives. As the oldest,  most prestigious and largest honorary organization of editors, ACE can bring a wealth of experience, knowledge and ideas through TEMPO to all our sister organizations around the world.

To bolster our venture into the international realm of editing, the IRC has expanded last year to more than 15 enthusiastic ACE members. This was necessary because last year ACE officially started its International Partnership Program (IPP) that gives editors in other countries – whose work has no presence in the U.S. theaters, network, cable and streamers programming, a chance to become an ACE International Partner. The IRC started two sub-committees aimed at expanding our international presence.

The IRC membership sub-committee has already interviewed three prospective ACE International Partners and recommended them to the ACE Board of Directors. The board unanimously approved our three new IPP members: Melissa Parry from sister organization SAGE (South African Guild of Editors); Peter Sciberras (the Eddie and Oscar-nominated editor of The Power of the Dog) from our sister organization ASE (Australian Screen Editors); and Dr. Nikki Comninos, also from SAGE and possibly our first editor with a PhD in Creative Arts. Our president, Kevin Tent, ACE, an outspoken supporter of ACE’s international endeavors, will contact them and officially invite them to become our first IPP members. Some of our IRC members also are enrolled in the ACE Welcoming Committee and they will help our new International Partners to become familiarized with ACE and how they can become an active part of our community. With about six ACE International Affiliate members who will be grandfathered in as International Partners, we are well on our way to growing our IPP roster and very important international voice.

The second sub-committee is exploring options for establishing an International Eddie Award. Michael Ruscio, ACE, Arthur Tarnowski, ACE, Fabienne Bouville, ACE, Avril Beukes, ACE, Heidi Scharfe, ACE, and David Salter, ACE, are spearheading this effort. An International Eddie would be a very important incentive for our sister organizations to get involved in ACE’s initiatives. The members of our sister organizations face the same challenges as ACE to give our profession a more recognizable cachet. By establishing the Eddie Awards in 1951, we started to give motion picture editing a more visible presence in the annual award frenzy.

While the Eddies have become a very respected event in awards season, it could unfortunately not prevent the slide as an unglamorous category lacking the star power and exciting wardrobes into a second tier broadcast class of the 2022 Oscars. So there’s a lot of work ahead of us to continue to lift editors around the world, and establishing an International Eddie Award is a part of that equation. The IRC Eddie sub-committee is diving into the logistics and aiming to finalize their work for an International Eddie Award hopefully starting in the 2024 award season.

The push to open up ACE into the international realm is a major development in the long history of the organization from which editors in all motion picture-producing countries willbenefit. We hope that other honorary societies in the ‘below the line’ sector will follow suit and also connect with their colleagues abroad to bolster the importance of our contributions to the productions that light up screens worldwide

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