In Memoriam – Mike Banas, ACE

May 31, 2022

Mike Banas, ACE, CCE died on Feb. 23 following a battle with cancer. He was 53. Born in Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada, Mike grew up in the punk and hardcore scene of the ’80s, was briefly a house painter, worked in Iceland gutting fish and was even “a human guinea pig” before landing a job as tape dubber on Outer Limits and the pilot of Stargate SG-1.

From there he climbed his way up the ladder, eventually working as an AE on shows like Highlander: The Raven, Call of the Wild and Da Vinci’s Inquest. It was on Inquest when editor Roger Mattiussi broke his leg skiing that Mike was asked to step up and received his first “Edited By” credit.

He would go on to cut for many TV shows including Jeremiah and Dead Like Me for Bryan Fuller (who he worked with again on High Moon); Godiva’s, The Dead Zone, Exes and Ohs, Continuum, Rush Hour for Bill Lawrence, before eventually coming full circle and returning to the Stargate franchise.

And that’s where we met. Me a young writer, Mike a less-young editor. We were professionally inseparable for the next 15 years. Mike edited my first feature Young People Fucking, cut most of the episodes of The L.A. Complex, as well as Blindspot, Kung Fu and most recently his final project Keep Breathing, which will debut on Netflix later this year.

In between those projects Mike became a go-to pilot editor, working on Pure Genius for Jason Katims, and The Enemy Within for Mark Pellington. He also forged a close relationship with Robert Carlyle who he met asan actor on Stargate Universe, and would go on to edit Mr. Carlyle’s feature film Barney Thompson.

A self-styled grump who fooled no one, Mike was a kind and generous soul who spent a lot of time mentoring his AEs. Often entrusting them with larger and larger pieces of the show they were working on, he was quick to take the blame if a producer didn’t like the work and just as quick to give credit when they did. Mike also made a point to help burgeoning filmmakers make their first short films, cutting Aaron Abrams’ It’s Not What You Know, Florian Halbedl’s Whispers of Life and Luna Ferguson’s Limina.

Frequently, when I would ask my longtime friend and collaborator to change an edit I would be met with a heavy sigh and a curt, “You’re fucking up my shit.” Most of the time he was right, he had already found the best version of the scene. Because that’s what Mike did. He found the best versions of things. Of scenes, of episodes, of films, of people.

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