September 2014

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26 CINEMONTAGE / SEP-OCT 14 by Rob Feld portraits by Sarah Shatz Y ou have to be willing to roll with a few punches to work on an Abel Ferrara movie. It's a lesson picture editor Anthony Redman learned some 30 years ago when he first found a constant collaborator in the director, and which more recent inductee sound editor, sound designer and re-recording mixer Neil Benezra seems to re-learn every day. Ferrara, the prolific New York iconoclastic indie staple, maker of such controversial films like The Driller Killer (1979), King of New York (1990), Bad Lieutenant (1992), Body Snatchers (1993) and, most recently, Welcome to New York (due this fall from IFC Films), focuses on the darkest underbellies of human experience, with a shooting style to match. "It's run-and-gun," says Redman, who knew from childhood after seeing Citizen Kane in an Orson Welles triple bill that he would work in film, and discovered editing at UCLA film school. He worked in the film library at Universal Studios doing outside sales, but would ask for sequences to cut while servicing editors with film for Universal's TV shows. "That was one thing that got my chops up," he recalls. This led to an eight-year apprenticeship and a job on the series Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974- 75). But once he found indie film via Roger Corman, Redman was hooked. Benezra began by studying architecture at the Pratt Institute in New York but then switched to music theory and composition at Hunter College. His varied experiences have seen him designing sound for the museum exhibitions of many prominent video artists, writing music for off-Broadway shows and working with New York avant- garde theatre creator Richard Foreman. "I worked in his New York theatre for years doing sound, and then toured with him through Europe and Asia for seven years," Benezra remembers. "We would go to different festivals and re-create the sound design of a play, which was layered and complex. We'd go from a small, black box theatre one night to an opera house the next. It gave me a good taste for how to translate my mixes from working in small rooms to a lot of different situations." Ferrara's desire to capture a sense of reality has called upon all of both editors' acquired skills, as he shoots in found or live locations, sometimes grabbing shots without even acquiring city permits. Welcome to New York, which imagines the sexual-assault scandal that brought down French presidential hopeful Dominique Strauss-Kahn (played by Gérard Depardieu), combines the varied visual and sonic textures of hotel-room sex parties, gritty prison environs and an affluent New York townhouse. No matter where they are, though, Ferrara speaks to his actors through every take, all of which provides additional challenges for Redman and Benezra as they meld sights and sounds into the director's particular vision of New York's unique reality. CineMontage interviewed the pair in late May about the new film and working with Ferrara. Whatever It Takes, Just Make It Work Picture and Sound Editing/Mixing for Iconoclastic Indie Director Abel Ferrara Neil Benezra, left, and Anthony Redman.

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