Summer 2015

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34 CINEMONTAGE / SUMMER 2015 by Tom White portraits by Sarah Shatz T he documentary form has been around since the beginning of cinema, and over the past 15 years, The Doc Workers of New York Pushing for Union Jobs Editing Non-Fiction pundits have bruited this past decade and a half as "The Golden Age of Documentaries." No matter the platform — theatrical, television or online — documentary has transformed itself from the margins to the mainstream as a galvanizing and provocative art form. So given that, why are there relatively few documentary editors among the Editors Guild rank and file? Well, despite the dramatic growth in popularity, the documentary process is a decidedly low- budget one, one that calls for economy in personnel and versatility in skill sets. Two- or even one-person production crews are not unusual, not only to keep costs down, but — when making docs in dangerous, war-torn areas, for example — for safety considerations as well. And in the post- production phase, too, a skeleton crew is often the rule. What's more, fundraising is a constant through-line in the documentary process, and it's not unusual for documentary makers to spend seven years or more on a project. Chalk it up to the volatility or capriciousness of the documentary career, but there just aren't many doc editors who are also MPEG members. However, CineMontage managed to track down three, all of whom toggle between docs and feature narratives. David Tedeschi, left, Deborah Peretz and Phillip Schopper.

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