Global Perspectives – International Partnership Program

January 5, 2022

Since the start of the pandemic in early 2020, many of us had to move out of our editing rooms. Confined to our homes, we had to start working remotely from our improvised editing rooms in spare bedrooms and home offices while any close contact with colleagues, assistants, directors and producers was strictly prohibited. But after first dabbling with existing platforms like Skype, FaceTime and WhatsApp, we were finally introduced to the Zoom phenomenon that paradoxically made communicating with colleagues a lot easier and more normal than before. With only time zones as a limiting factor we now normalized talking, showing edits and sharing documents to far away colleagues with some clicks on URLs.

All of a sudden other more sophisticated sharing platforms became available and ACE gatherings like the Eddie Awards, Invisible Art/Visible Artists (IAVA), EditFest and Tech Days became more accessible for editorial enthusiasts around the world. ACE Executive Director Jenni McCormick saw an unexpected opportunity to broaden the appeal of these ACE events and she and the ACE staff were able to engage an unprecedented number of participants in these virtual gettogethers with chat rooms and interactive connections with sponsors. It seemed that technology was able to obliterate borders, travel and other restrictive elements that kept us apart for too long.

The success, the potential and the joy we experienced attending these online events gave the members of the ACE International Relations Committee a renewed impulse to push forward with their goal to eradicate the borders separating editors around the world. For almost a decade we’ve been searching for ways to engage editors from other countries and make them more connected to the prestigious ACE brand.

These efforts culminated with the plan to design a membership program for foreign editors. We contacted our known sister organizations over the years in a variety of countries to find out if they were interested in participating in such a program. We received a lot of positive feedback from around the world and we finally were ready in early 2020 to get the ACE International Partnership Program started.

When the initial shock of COVID gave way to the new opportunities via Zoom and other platforms to communicate with far-away colleagues, the ACE International Relations Committee – led by founders Edgar Burcksen, ACE, and Michael Ornstein, ACE – became stronger with the addition of two new motivated members: Michelle Tesoro, ACE, and Amsterdam-based Job ter Burg, ACE. With almost weekly Zoom meetings catered to the different time zones we were residing in, we hammered out the details of the new category of ACE members and with the help of the ACE Board of Directors to ratify the changes in the bylaws, we were ready to launch the new Partnership Program in July 2021. With the help of Jenni McCormick, our Executive Director par excellence, we scheduled the official launch at EditFest Global on Aug. 28 with a video presentation and a panel discussion moderated by Jazz Tangcay of Variety, featuring international editors Alex Berner, ACE, from Germany; Janus Billeskov Jansen from Denmark; Yang Jinmo, ACE, from South Korea; Soledad Salfate from Chile and Committee member Michelle Tesoro.

It was an invigorating experience to see and hear these well-known colleagues with very different cultural backgrounds talk about their art and craft and the importance of communicating and learning from each other. ACE International Partners will go through the same rigorous process of vetting as ACE active membership applicants, though members in this category will not use the ACE acronym after their names. Each potential member will be nominated by their national sister organization that participates.

n the ACE International Partnership Program. Then the ACE International Relations Committee will invite them for a casual interview via Zoom and make recommendations to the Board of Directors. If the Board votes to invite the applicant to become an ACE International Partner, the Active and International Partner membership will have 30 days to respond to the invitation. When the 30 days have passed the president of ACE or the chair of the International Relations Committee will call the applicants and officially invite them to ACE.

As a longtime member of the ACE membership committee that does the monthly interviews with prospective ACE Active members, it always has been and will be an incredible joy to talk to the interviewees about the job of editing, how they came to it, what their history is, how they describe their job to others, what their goals are and why they decided to become an ACE member. I heard amazing stories about how certain movies were created in the editing room and how they interacted with the directors, producers and sometimes actors. How they tackle an almost impossible job, what their workflow is, how they sometimes create something amazing out of near nothing and how they change the drama of sequences to support the story. As a veteran editor who has worked in film, tape and then digital, I am surprised how through these interviews you can still pick up an enormous amount of insights and ideas.

Editing is a lifelong learning experience. Of course there has been an ongoing push for years in the international editing community to get in touch with each other. Berner in Germany and ter Burg in the Netherlands, both editors with an extensive international list of credits, have been active in connecting editing organizations in the annual Edimotion film festival in Cologne, Germany that is specifically designed to the art of editing. There, at the International Film Editors Forum, the idea started to create TEMPO, an association of organizations representing editors in Europe and eventually sister organizations from all around the world. Berner and ter Burg are now also members of the ACE International Relations Committee and we are eager to expand our interaction and communications with editors around the globe. We know that our ideas about editing are going to be vastly enriched by the contacts we are planning to build at ACE with our international colleagues.

In fact, streamers like Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon and Hulu have already expanded their reach around the world, actively producing local language content in a number of countries that, with increasing frequency, appears on American screens in theaters and at home, subtitled or dubbed, with an ever-growing audience. When motion picture production does not seem to be limited by borders, we as editors should make sure that we are also not limiting ourselves to the walls of our editing rooms, the borders of our countries or the oceans that separate us.

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