Directors and Editors:
The Magic of Documentary Storytelling
When a filmmaker and an editor click, the magic, the art, the craft, the “Oh my God” of documentary storytelling happens.
In documentary, the best editor’s work is invisible. The film is shaped by the often-close collaborative relationship between the editor and director. The editor is absorbing a director’s vision and then imagining the film through the eyes of the audience, or as Lewis Erkine says, editors “turn the raw materials of the film into the gold that an audience gets.”
This year we are lucky to host special guests: Aisha Jamal, (The Long Way Home), Sean Liliani (Editor), Mike Munn (Modified), and Melanie Wood (Shut Up and Say Something)
In this panel discussion, we will ask the three directors and two editors questions such as: “How do directors and editors work together (or not!) to find the crucial story? What structure emerged to tell that story? How did you develop the characters? What ended up on the cutting room floor?”
Moderated by Carolyn Kay, a Professor in the Department of History at Trent University.
AISHA JAMAL completed her PhD in contemporary German cinema at the University of Toronto. She was born in Kandahar, Afghanistan, grew up in Germany and now lives in Toronto. In recent years, she shot and directed her first documentary, Dolls and Bombs (2008), and curated various film series and exhibits. Her main interest, academically and artistically, is in conceptual and theoretical issues of migration and Diaspora. Her short film, The Long Way Home is being screened at this year’s ReFrame
SEAN LILIANI has an MJ in Journalism from Carleton University. He is a video journalist, filmmaker and editor who sneaks references to his favourite childhood movies into his work. A two-time Golden Sheaf winner, he has worked for the Globe and Mail, CBC Radio, The Mark News and WADR Senegal. Sean’s short film, Powers of Towers previously screened at ReFrame Film Festival.
MIKE MUNN is critically-acclaimed for both dramatic and documentary editing. His edited films have played at Cannes, Berlin, Venice and Sundance, among other festivals, with eleven features accepted into the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). He edited Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell, which was short listed for the Documentary Oscar, as well as being voted in a TIFF poll as one of the 10 best Canadian films of all time. Mike edited the film, Modified, which is being screened at this year’s ReFrame.
MELANIE WOOD’s films pursue themes that are both universal and deeply personal – from School of Secrets, about girls who were instructed to keep silent about their sexual relationship with a teacher, to Liberia ’77, about brothers returning to the war-ravaged land of their childhood. Her deep understanding of the complexity of human relationships is undoubtedly informed by the geometry of her own family as she is the eldest of seven, from several different marriages. Her most recent film, Shut Up and Say Something is being screened at this year’s ReFrame