Hear from our first Grierson DocLab In Focus: Editing trainees on being selected for the scheme
Christie Allanson (Liverpool)
I am over the moon to be accepted on to the Grierson DocLab editing scheme. Although I have been editing for a few years and I have work I’m very proud of as a result, I am still not very confident in putting myself out there for work and opportunities. Thanks to the support of the people I work with, I applied to the DocLab scheme and it means so much to be accepted.
Documentary is such an exciting medium which can be used to educate, raise awareness or just entertain - and it is through editing that you can really be creative in conveying your message. I think in the last few years documentary has become such a huge industry and is more popular than ever, and I would love to be a part of it.
I am excited to gain some industry specific experience and to build my confidence while I’m at it. I can’t wait to see what this leads to.
Georgie Daley (London).
I’m absolutely over the moon to be accepted onto the Grierson DocLab In Focus: Editing training scheme and so grateful for the opportunity. It’s a great privilege to have access to the knowledge and resources this scheme will provide, I feel so thankful and humbled to have been selected. I look forward to meeting other, like-minded editors and I hope we will become a creative community that we can connect with across the course of our careers.
I’ve been working as a videographer and editor across fashion, publishing and beauty for the past five years. My first experiences with video editing were through trial and error, plus teaching myself using free resources online. I naturally gravitated towards documentary as I found it to be a broadly inclusive genre and it was the most accessible to me. I could get away with a lo fi aesthetic, using the limited equipment I had and passing it off as an intentional visual. However, through this process I’ve learnt about narrative being the most important component in filmmaking - regardless of budget, equipment and experience. I found this discovery to be incredibly motivating because it broke down the barriers between me and filmmaking and was a way in.
I have always loved watching documentaries. They’ve certainly contributed to how I see the world. Life, for me, is often far more fascinating than anything we can make up, there are perpetual stories to be told. Documentary has allowed me to see all the people and facets of the world, it’s open, ever evolving and ever discovering.
I feel this scheme will allow me to prove to myself and others who are underrepresented in the industry that this career choice is viable! Especially women who don’t come from a film background or who didn’t have access to the resources and support that others may have. I can’t wait to start!
Hannah Jayawardene (London).
My early influences came from the likes of David Lynch and Wong Kar-Wai, because of their distinct editing styles. I then discovered that the documentary format opened up a whole new world for creative possibilities, whilst I was studying Film and Television Production at the University of Westminster. The challenges that can come with documentary filmmaking, are in my opinion golden opportunities to think outside the box and push yourself to find creative solutions. And the element of discovery is particularly exciting from an editing point of view.
I look back on the documentaries that have stayed with me long after I have watched them and they are the ones that can entertain, inspire, and move me all at the same time. To be able to achieve that as an Editor is my ultimate goal.
The Grierson Trust has special significance to me. A short documentary, which I edited, won the student prize at the Grierson Awards in 2015 and this gave me the confidence to pursue a career in editing. I have since gained professional experience in the industry, but I am now finding it tough to break through from technical roles into creative ones.
I am so grateful to be selected for this opportunity, to focus on the creative aspects of editing and receive guidance on how to steer my career. I can’t wait to meet the other participants and apply the training to the placement.
Ira Putilova (they/them, London).
At several points in my life I have been confronted with hundreds of hours of footage, which I had to make sense of. This experience convinced me that most documentaries take their form in editing rooms and this is where the magic happens. The magic of collaboration between director and editor to find one particular story among dozens of potential ones. The magic of drawing audiences’ attention to specific elements of the narrative, parts of the frame, aspects of people’s characters. The magic of organising the puzzle of sounds, colours, movements, patterns, tensions, rhythm to make a film the best it can be. I can’t see myself doing anything else apart from documentary film editing.
As a political activist and artist, I learnt video editing by putting together evidence of the oppressive Putin regime and creating my artistic response to it. Although I had to leave Russia forever because of my political activity, my ambitions haven’t changed. I want to work on films that tell political stories through people’s personal experiences. Intense or gentle, straightforward or subtle, immediate or ageless, I expect them to give an unusual perspective to one’s exploration of the world.
Although I started editing over 10 years ago, I faced a lot of barriers, which affected my career progression. As a political refugee, non-binary and non-straight person, I’ve always felt under-represented in UK film industry. On many occasions I was discouraged by indirect discrimination within the industry but my need to make films motivated me to try again and again.
Grierson DocLab broke the pattern. Being selected felt not only amazing but it also felt like I was finally given a chance to belong. It’s a feeling that most queer refugees struggle to obtain. I am grateful for this opportunity to meet other ambitious filmmakers, participate in workshops with leading industry speakers and prove my skills on Netflix documentary production. Most of all, I’m thrilled to be part of this amazing community! Thank you!
Lwimbo Kunda (Manchester).
I am a filmmaker and visual artist who has worked in TV, film and theatre. After graduating with a BA in Cultural and Media Studies I have worked in a few different disciplines but mainly working in film and television. I have made independent short films, artwork for theatre productions as well as working in post-production in television. I have edit assistant and editor credits on a range programmes across drama, non-scripted and factual television.
The Grierson Doclab In Focus: Editing scheme is an opportunity for me to elevate my career and focus on making the type of high-end documentaries that I love to watch. I feel like documentaries have the power to educate, entertain and elevate and in some cases change lives. I would love to be part of the documentary production process and bring my unique talent and perspective to tell intimate and diverse stories.
Margarida Cartaxo (London).
I attended the Lisbon Theatre and Film School, where I discovered my love for the craft whilst editing the documentary Almas Censuradas (Censored Souls). I was astounded by the possibilities editing could bring to the story - from the mere artistry of shaping it, to enhancing and weaving more complex layers.
Afterwards, with a degree in one hand and hopefulness on the other, I devoted years to try and succeed in the industry. It was a tumultuous journey filled with definite “no’s”, hopeful “maybe’s”, and the always crushing “what did you expect”. Unfortunately, I came to the harsh realisation that the industry was barren of opportunities and I had to say goodbye to my loved ones and country of birth.
I landed in London and faced more “no’s” and “maybe’s” but somewhere along the way there were a few rare - but nevertheless heart-stopping - “yes, we will take a chance on you”. These yeses changed my life. So, thank you The Grierson Trust for saying “yes”.
The Grierson DocLab In Focus: Editing training initiative is a much-needed injection of hope, guidance, knowledge and skill. I am deeply grateful that such an opportunity exists and humbly honoured that I get to be a part of it. I will promise to cherish and embrace this chance fully.
Sema Basharan (Bradford).
I have been making short documentaries for two years since completing an MA in Film and Television, focusing on history – particularly social history – to unearth stories that have often been neglected or overlooked. I love storytelling through documentary film and the power it has to challenge mainstream narratives and bring fresh perspectives on misunderstood topics. I began my filmmaking career in the charity sector in the UK and in Turkey, and it has always been such an honour to be able to hear people’s stories and share them through film. I especially love crafting the story in the edit and seeing it come to life as all the pieces of the jigsaw come together.
It’s a real privilege to be joining the Grierson DocLab editing scheme and I expect it to be a real game changer in pursuing a career in documentary editing, for which I have encountered many barriers until now. I am excited for the opportunities it will bring and being able to learn from my fellow trainees and industry professionals alike.
Sladana Tegeltija (London).
I feel so grateful and privileged to have been accepted onto the Grierson DocLab In Focus: Editing scheme and I'm eager to get started and make the most of this incredible opportunity. The training, mentoring and resources that the scheme offers are invaluable, especially since the industry can be difficult to navigate and opportunities for assistant editing are hard to find.
Since I started editing at the age of 12 (thank you Windows Movie Maker!), I have gravitated towards documentary and the more I watch and learn about this genre, the more excited I am to pursue a career within it. Documentary is such a powerful medium that has the ability to open our eyes to the world around us, challenge our perceptions and confront our relationship with the truth. With so much scope to tell a range of educational, important and pressing stories, it makes documentary such a fulfilling and meaningful pursuit and is one of many reasons why I want to dedicate my career to this. I am currently working in a post-production house where I have been developing my technical skills and recently, I began volunteering for a social enterprise that partners editors with charities and not-for-profit organisations to create video content for them.
I feel incredibly honoured to be part of such a talented cohort of editors and it means so much to be accepted coming from a background like mine where TV and film didn't feel like a viable career path. I hope that this encourages others, who may have doubts, to follow their ambitions and know that there can be a place for everyone in this industry, even if it looks like the odds are stacked against us. I can't wait to start gaining knowledge, experience and confidence over the next few months and begin taking the next steps in my career with the help and guidance of this amazing scheme!
If you would like to become a mentor to our Editing trainees, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published: 8 April 2021