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August 2018

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Page 18 of 43 17 POST AUGUST 2018 DIRECTOR'S CHAIR working away, and thinking, 'This is so slow, I can't take it!' And by the end of that day we had maybe a minute of the film cut, and I thought, 'This is so painful!' But then after a few days, you gradually get into the rhythm, and your nervous system slows down and you find the right pace to really finely craft something. Then you cut a :30 scene, and it comes together, and it's so exciting and satisfy- ing. So I came to really love post and now it's my favorite part." Talk about editing with Catherine Haight. How did that work? "She wasn't on the set at all. She was here in LA while I was shooting in New York, and she did the editor's assembly. And if there were scenes I wasn't sure about, I'd call her and tell her to cut them together so we could see if they worked. It's so easy now to send files, and she'd send me scenes or segments and I'd look at them and we'd go from there." What were the big editing challenges? "I think finding the right overall pace and rhythm for it was the big concern, like with every movie. And then making sure the chemistry between Kelly and Irrfan developed and worked. We ended up having scenes that were entirely constructed in post, which is the real magic of editing. This isn't a fast-paced story — and it shouldn't be — but there's always a lot of back and forth about whether you need to speed up a scene or sequence. You worry about holding the audience's attention, but then you also have to trust the material, and Cate is brilliant and it wouldn't have worked without her and her ability to shape the coverage and mold it all in post. If I get credit for the film, I know just how much it's due to her and Joe, because when you watch the finished film and it's all flowing smoothly and naturally, you can easily forget just how much work is put into post and editing." There were a few VFX, right? "Right, and most of them were technical. When the woman serves tea, we had to jump her down the hallway, and Harbor did a bunch of clever little shots like that you'd never notice." Talk about the importance of sound and music to you. "I take a very active role, but I also know to let the sound guys have enough freedom to do their work, so we discuss everything — how much sound you want, the kind of sound you want — and then you have to get out of the way. It's the same with good actors, a great DP and so on. If you're smart, you know when to say things and when to walk away. Then you come back, give notes, and so on. Sound is so import- ant, and the first time Kelly opens a puzzle, they added this sound of sand pouring, like at a beach. It's very subliminal, but it gives a sense of the tactile nature of jigsaw puz- zles, as I wanted this sense that Kelly was almost having a physical relationship with the puzzle. It was so pleasing to her. So when you hear that sand sound, it tells you how she feels touching those pieces. And sound is like this giant puzzle too, with all the balancing of levels and elements. And the music by Dustin O'Halloran is another huge part of it, and I pumped up the music in some of the montages as I loved it so much, and I wanted to create space in the story. As they say, sound is half the movie." Where did you do the DI and how important is it to you? "At Harbor with colorist Joe Gawler, who I think is one of the best in the world. I'm also pretty involved in that, along with the DP. The movie has a very specific look that changes over time. At the start, the DP used a lot of smoke in the house, to underscore that she was trapped in space and time, and I wanted to give a sense that the house, where she was raised and then had raised her own family, was heavy and dense. And that 's also echoed in the costumes and wallpaper and cinematog- raphy and lighting. Then, when she gets to New York, we lightened it and took furniture out of the house, and the light changes. And we gave a lot of attention to all that in the DI." Did the film turn out the way you hoped? "It really did. I'm very happy with it. I'm already reading a ton of scripts. I'm looking for another character-driven piece, where there's tension and conflict, where the characters are nuanced." Joe Gawler performed the DI. Harbor Picture Company handled sound and VFX. Cate Haight edited the feature in LA.

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