DOCUMENTARY FILM EDITING
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FENCING FOR THE EDGE
sound design, music supervising, music editing
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In 2014, Director and fencer Holly Buechel set out to film a high school girls fencing season in NJ. Ten years later, I was tasked with turning this massive collection of vérité footage into an emotional, riveting, and educational feature documentary film. For 22 months, we worked tirelessly on uncovering the Bernards Team's story buried within the footage while simultaneously puzzling over how to introduce the world to high school fencing.
I wore many hats for this project. In addition to editor I also chose and edited the music, directed the composer in crafting the original score, and did the sound design.
I am so grateful for what this film taught me as an editor. Crafting a story out of a mountain of vérité footage truly exercised my pattern seeking abilities and challenged my storyteller mind to veer in new directions. I also went from knowing nothing about women's fencing (or high school sports for that matter) to falling in love with its depth of athleticism, its rich history, and unlimited potential for personal growth. My hope is that audiences walk away with a newfound appreciation for fencing and a nostalgia for their own coming of age stories.
Mallory Grossman was a talented 12-year old gymnast and cheerleader with a sensitive soul and a bright future. After months of relentless bullying and cyber-bullying she fell victim to the abuse and committed suicide. Her parents Dianne and Seth Grossman blame the school of not only failing to stop the bullying, but for perpetuating it and being the final straw that caused their daughter to lose her life. As they fight for justice, they are determined to ensure no other family has to endure this avoidable pain. They begin a nonprofit called Mallory's Army to promote kindness in middle schools across New Jersey and propose legislation called Mallory's Law to help protect future children in the state.
As editor, I was given a bunch of footage of Dianne's speaking engagements in middle schools where she would tell Mallory's story and lecture about the importance of kindness. The challenge was to tell Mallory's story from these presentations and an intimate interview with Seth and Dianne. I realized that in order to tell the full story, we needed to delve deeper into the psychology of bullying victims and the intricacies of cyber-bulling. As writer, I determined what types of professionals we needed to interview and wrote the interview questions. I asked for more footage of the family in their home, Mallory's Army events, and Dianne interacting with the public.
What blossomed was a heart-wrenching story about loss and resiliency, infused with a powerful hope. Mallory, though gone from this world, is in fact changing the world and saving lives.
Two years after the release of this film, the Grossman family was awarded a $9.1 million settlement from the Rockaway Township School District - the largest bullying settlement in U.S. history.
ASHES TO ASH
Season 2 Episode 21
True Crime Docu-series
Ashes to Ash is a docu-series that investigates unsolved murder cases. In this episode, the team traveled Perdido Bay between Florida and Alabama where a supposed "accidental drowning" occurred. They recreate the conditions of the boat trip in question to determine if the suspect's could possibly be true.
Sifting through two days worth of go-pro footage from multiple angles, I pieced together the many recreation attempts into a cohesive story complete with maps and graphics for optimal clarity. I used previous interview footage and audio recordings to draw comparisons between the Ashes to Ash team's results and the official story told to police. The difficult task was finding the gems in the many hours of go-pro footage and identifying parallels in the series to connect everything to the greater story. I then had to devise an organizational structure through which to depict the complicated multiple experiments that would be easy to follow and also exciting and suspenseful to watch.