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January 2016

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Page 37 of 53 34 POST JANUARY 2016 O S C A R buzz hree-time Academy Award and Golden Globe nominated screenwriter/director David O. Russell (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle) just released his latest film, Joy. Shot on location in Massachusetts, Joy is loosely based on the story of Joy Mangano, the inventor of the Miracle Mop. The film reunites stars Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro in a story about family, relationships and overcoming chal- lenges. It also reunites film editors Alan Baumgarten and Jay Cassidy, who both worked on American Hustle, with Russell. Here, Baumgarten and Cassidy speak with Post about their latest collaboration. How would you describe the editing style? What was David looking for? CASSIDY: "He doesn't quite think of it in terms of style. He thinks of it in terms of what the story is he's telling and when the film is done and somebody looks at it and describes a style to it, that's fine. But I don't think he goes in with a stylistic intention. He goes in more with an intention to tell a story. In this case, a multi-generational family who all learn to make accommodations for each other in order to get through the day, wheth- er it's having your ex-husband living in the basement or your mother watching soap operas all day long. He loves how the character of Joy kind of triumphed through this family relationship. If questions of style come up, at the end, they're by-products of the execution of an intention." BAUMGARTEN: "Execution of how he tells the story, and how he tells the story in all of his films, and the question keeps coming up. It's quite interesting — it's re- ally more of something you look at in the end. It's how David uses all the elements of storytelling, which he uses so well. Music, voiceovers, cutting across differ- ent time periods — backwards, forwards. I think other filmmakers do as well, but he doesn't set out to do it as a device." CASSIDY: "Also, David believes in the audience and believes they are smart. I believe that, too. There's no condescen- sion and very little conceit. I think he's gotten to that place as a storyteller to tell real honest stories about their lives." BAUMGARTEN: "They're stories about people and not about plot. It's really about characters and human relation- ships and dynamics that audiences and individuals can relate to." How early was post brought into the process? BAUMGARTEN: "Very early. We got the call a month in advance. Both Jay and I heard word from David that he scripted an idea and that he wanted to get us on board. Due to scheduling conflicts, we couldn't start editing in the beginning [Tom Cross and Christopher Tellefsen be- gan the edit], but then we were involved two months prior, in story meetings, where he would pitch ideas, he would talk about how he was going to ap- proach the film and we went repeatedly to visit with him and talk about it and get on board with the story. We watched dai- lies from the beginning and both started editing as soon as we could." Did you edit on Avid? Why? CASSIDY: "Yes. When you're dealing with movies on certain scales, you have to be able to share the project and share the media. Avid is the only alternative. I'm not dissing other software. I'm just saying [Avid] is the one when you're working on the scale we're working on." Were there any editing challenges? CASSIDY: "Nothing stands out. Everything is scrutinized to a great degree and experimented with to a great degree, and certain structures we experiment with. The question David's always asking himself is, how can he tell the story in a more engaging manner and so consequently he's not necessar- ily content with the structure that he has originally and sometimes in both American Hustle and Joy, he shot things with optional structural elements, dif- ferent points to tell different exposition because he wanted to keep his options open about how he can tell a story." Anything different or unique about this film from others you've worked on? BAUMGARTEN: "There is something different about David's films from any other projects I've worked on. Also, David as a writer/director is a treat because someone who has that story from the beginning in their mind, and then on the page and then they refine it and shoot the film all the way through post. So, with David, the one thing that's a little different from others, perhaps, is that his scripts can be long, longer, than the finished product, so we end up with quite a bit of material and as Jay said earlier, with different options as to where to place certain beats, and it's just very interesting and very challenging." Editing JOY ALAN BAUMGARTEN AND JAY CASSIDY ON CUTTING DAVID O. RUSSELL'S LATEST OFFERING BY LINDA ROMANELLO T Baumgarten (top, right) and Cassidy (bottom right) agree that Avid is the choice for editing films of this scale. PHOTOS BY PETER ZAKHARY

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