Spring 2017

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65 Q2 2017 / CINEMONTAGE 65 Q2 2017 / CINEMONTAGE compiled by Laura Almo n L illian Benson saved our film, Conscience and the Constitution. We had a strong story — about the largest organized resistance to the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans — but the script read more like a book, with a rough cut to match. ITVS gave us finishing funds, and told us to go hire a real film editor. Lillian and co-producer Shannon Gee holed up with the material and came back with a new cut that to my eyes turned the film inside out. "Where did you get that shot?" I exclaimed. "It was in your footage," Lillian said. "And that one?" "In your footage." By following the visuals, she built a new through line that holds one's attention for the full hour, leaving spaces for me to insert narration. Lillian made the editing process one of great joy and discovery. She is a true collaborator, and I am forever in her debt. Frank Abe Colleague; Writer, Producer, Director n L illian Benson is one of the most gifted, resourceful and dedicated editors with whom I have had the privilege to work. From Eyes on the Prize II to The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker, her talent has enriched every project. Congratulations, my sister, on this well deserved honor. Much love and respect. Debbie Allen Friend/Colleague; Actress, Director, Producer n O ne of the first times I met Lillian was when we were both on a panel of documentary editors. Every time Lillian spoke, I hung on every word she said. She is a luminous editor, and I delighted in hearing how thoughtful, profound and frankly honest she was in describing the work that we all do and love. When it was my turn to answer a question, the first thing I replied was, "What Lillian said!" But then, of course, her eloquence inspired me to speak from the heart, just as her grace and brilliance continue to inspire me — and so many others. Brava, Lillian! Kate Amend, ACE Colleague; Editor n T here isn't enough space on paper to describe the impact Lillian Benson has had on me as a mentor. She coined herself my "artistic" mother after being mistaken for my real mother at a film festival — and she is just that. Working as her assistant editor on a documentary, I remember having to cut a scene comprised of war stock footage. Our edit rooms shared a wall and both of our doors were open. I started cutting the scene, which made my room sound like a war zone, and I kept thinking to myself, "I don't know where to begin…" Moments later, Ms. Benson enters and says, "I think you should try cutting that with the sound turned off," and then leaves. In my mind, I translated that into "I'm being too loud," so I turned the volume down. Alas, I was wrong. She re-entered and repeated herself. That's when I realized it wasn't the sound; she was teaching me. Once I turned the audio off, something clicked and I started putting the scene together. Is she a soothsayer? I cannot say, but I can say that editing that scene with the sound up wasn't working for me. Ms. Benson has a knack for seeing what you need before you even realize you need it. I think somewhere in that lies her greatness; her ability to see those things could quite possibly come from her countless edits. Among her many known accolades, she may have one of which she is unaware: her "artistic" selflessness, which is helping to raise and inspire the next generation of editors. Saleem Aziz Friend/Colleague/Mentee; Editor n L illian Benson is one of the best editors I know. After nearly 30 years in the business, she stands out as someone whose creativity, work ethic and diplomacy are of the highest caliber. Mark Baldwin Colleague; Editor n W hat I remember most about working with Lillian is her infectious smile and sense of humor. Yes, she's organized to a T and great with story and so forth — all the traits that the best editors possess. But it's the things you can't measure that are most important to me. It's the fun we have together. Whether it was in her office or mine, the company was always pleasant and made the tedious work a joy and something to look forward to. I only regret having the opportunity to work with her just once so far — she edited my short, The Lift — but not for lack of trying. Stay tuned... A big Congrats, my friend! You're a true pioneer, LB. This honor is well- deserved and incredibly overdue. Lyndon Barrois Colleague; Animation director n I am so pleased that Lillian Benson is receiving the honor she so deserves Lillian's Devotees Some Words from Her Admirers …

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