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January 2016

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Page 32 of 53 29 POST JANUARY 2016 O S C A R buzz ilm editor Stephen Mirrione, who won an Oscar for Best Film Editing for Traffic in 2000, has been working with Academy Award-winning director (Birdman) Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu since Amores Perros in 2000. The two have gone on to complete a series of critically-noted films, such as 21 Grams, Babel, Biutiful and, in 2014, Birdman. Most recently, Mirrione joined Inarritu for a most highly ambitious proj- ect, The Revenant, which was shot (on an Arri Alexa 65 large-format camera) chronologically and relied solely on the sun and firelight, bringing in no artificial lighting. The film, which tells the tale of Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio), a fron- tiersman in the 1820s and his brutal story of survival in the American wilderness, brought both cast and crew on location to wintry Calgary, where they faced bit- terly cold temperatures, limited daylight hours where the window of opportu- nity for shots was brief and extremely high pressure, and an unpredictable environment. While still mixing the film on the Hitchcock stage of Universal Studios in LA, Mirrione discussed his latest project with Post and some of the editing chal- lenges the film presented. How early on did you get involved in the film? "From the very beginning, even before pre-production. In the discussions about the script and then especially in terms of all the preplanning and talking about how we were going to tackle a lot of what we were trying to do, technically as well. Things that we learned from doing Birdman; things we wanted to apply to [The Revenant] and improve upon." Were you on-location during the shoot? "Yes, we shot in Calgary in some very remote locations. Going in, knowing we were going to be up in the middle of nowhere, we wanted to limit the number of people who were on location. We had all these grand plans. Of course, once we got into the reality of it, Alejandro wanted to have access to as much as he possibly could. So, for example, we had a trailer just for editorial. So what we wanted to do was take everything the video playback operator was doing and at various points of the day, shuttle that to editorial. Because what they would do was, rehearse all morning because they were shooting with natural light, there were only a few hours in the day that were really the prime time for getting the actual takes. And so, I would get all that rehearsal material via the playback — the video tap —and I would be able to cut [on Avid Media Composer] that together with maybe some options, show that to Alejandro and that could inform how they would shoot the real stuff at the end of the day. "Technicolor did set up a digi lab there, but instead of having to wait until the next morning or afternoon when we would get the actual processed and colored footage from Technicolor, I could cut with the video tap material that night and in the morning, or sometimes that night, I could give Alejandro a cut of that day's material so that he could feel confident that he had it and know what he was doing the next day." How would you describe the overall look of the film? "It's beautiful. It's very realistic. The sto- ry takes place in a very brutal environ- ment where there are these wonderful contrasts between the beauty of the natural surroundings as well as the bru- tality of being in the middle of nowhere with no luxuries, nothing to kind of help in terms of your own survival. Those are the contrasts that we were constantly seeing ourselves while we were out there but that come up as themes in the movie. Even if you're in this hor- rible, brutal situation that feels hope- less there's still the beauty of nature around you and yet at the same time, there's almost this oppressiveness and relentlessness that nature is just going to keep going regardless of what's hap- pening to you. "In terms of all the things that you have control of when you're making a movie, you can't control the weather. You can't control whether it's going to snow that day or be sunny. You just have to EDITING THE REVENANT STEPHEN MIRRIONE ANSWERS THE CALL OF THE WILD BY LINDA ROMANELLO F Editor Mirrione (inset) cut the feature on an Avid system.

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