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September 2017

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DEPARTMENT 18 POST SEPTEMBER 2017 IN D E P E N D E N T S' DAY hen it comes to post production, indepen- dent narrative and documentary features are no different from their big-budget counterparts. From dailies and the creative cut to DI color and conform, indie films benefit from top talent, facilities and tools as they pave a path to a theater near you. BATTLE OF THE SEXES Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Battle of the Sexes is based on the celebrated 1973 tennis match between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King in the Houston Astrodome — a match King won in straight sets. It stars Emma Stone and Steve Carell and is scheduled for release this month by Fox Searchlight Pictures. Editor Pamela Martin was faced with a number of challenges in cutting the film, including fidelity to the actual event and the look and feel of the era. "In terms of staying true to the story itself, the match itself wasn't fully fleshed out in the script," says Martin. "Prior to the start of princi- pal photography, I watched the original Battle of the Sexes in order to figure out the dramatic beats within the match. I then edited it down to a 10-minute sequence that had its own build and story arc. Great discoveries were made, such as Bobby's hand cramp in the third set. Was it an actual cramp or gamesmanship? The commen- tary by Howard Cosell, Gene Scott and Rosie Casals [who was replaced in the movie by Natalie Morales] was invaluable. They were having their own battle with chauvinistic comments." Martin's pre-edit of the match "was also import- ant so that I could experiment with different meth- ods of jumping forward in time," she says. "This sequence became the blueprint for the shoot." She points out that most of the ambience of the early 1970s is "a direct result of the beautiful production design and cinematography," the latter by Academy Award-winner Linus Sandgren, ASC. For editorial influence, Martin did some home- work. "Jonathan and Valerie were very interested in the layered feeling of a Robert Altman film, par- ticularly when it came to dialogue, so I rewatched some of his films and incorporated the style into some of the busier scenes in the film, such as the contract signing scene," she explains. She believes it was also key to know the polit- ical context of the time, so she often referred to Town Bloody Hall, the 1971 documentary by D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus about the New York City debate between Norman Mailer and four feminist advocates. "For a period of time, we tried opening Battle of the Sexes with clips from Town Bloody Hall to establish the conflict of the period: a battle to open our battle," she notes. W BY CHRISTINE BUNISH EDITORS AND POST HOUSES GIVE INDIE FILMS THE STAR TREATMENT Battle of the of the of Sexes was cut on an Avid Media Composer at Hula Post.

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