Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool

I’m writing to invite you to take a look at Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, a biography of Miles Davis, directed by Stanley Nelson.

I cut this film – with the help of my great team – and I think we’ve made something special. This week Insider and the Grammys agreed: the film is nominated for Best Music Film and on the list of “50 best movies of the year, so far.” It is so delightful to cut a film about a musician and be recognized by musicians for doing a great job. Hearing from the critics ain’t too shabby, either!

The film is streaming on the ACE Eddie portal of, on the Screeners app on AppleTV, and at a precious few theaters in Los Angeles and New York. I’d love for you to take a look.

I want to shout out my editing crew: Natasha Mottola, who really helped figure out the structure, really made sense of the emotional make up of the film. Yusuf Kapadia who came on fresh from college, swung hard (in a jazz sense, of course) and kept the cut moving and improving in subtle and powerful ways.

Stanley and I have made a lot of films together (over the last 20 years!), but we feel this one is head and (80’s Miles red, leather, padded) shoulders above the rest. (I’m sorry, that was too easy…).

I would so appreciate you giving Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool a look.

Thank you.

Lewis Erskine ACE

Letter From the Editor – 2nd Qtr 2019



2nd Qtr, 2019

There’s a cool, early-morning breeze off the ocean carrying with it the aroma of woodsmoke and orange blossoms. I’m with CinemaEditor magazine Editor in Chief Edgar Burcksen, ACE, who has just finished a 25-mile ride down the coast on his Cannondale Supersix bike with Velo Club LaGrange. We’re sitting outside Peet’s Coffee on 14th and Montana in Santa Monica.

“I love California. When I left Amsterdam, I came first to Marin County and worked with George Lucas on the EditDroid for a couple of years. The Bay Area film world is all about post-production and it’s a supportive, knowable community. A good transition from Europe. Then on to L.A.

It was by then the early 1990s.” “What brought you to American Cinema Editors and our magazine?” “In Holland, I was part of a group of experimental filmmakers who had an avantgarde magazine, SKRIEN. We learned that
we make different kinds of aesthetic connections in the cutting room and in print.  I value exploring aesthetics and storytelling through the written word as well as with images on the screen in the camaraderie of a like-minded group of artists.

That’s ACE for me. I was invited to join ACE in 1998 and became Editor in Chief of CinemaEditor in 2001 after an article I wrote on the psychology of working in the cutting room garnered some attention.” Edgar took over from Chris Cooke, ACE, who had worked with the magazine in transition after Jack Tucker, ACE, had spent years nurturing it from a small mimeographed member newsletter, getting it on its feet as a full-color glossy periodical.

“Our magazine gives film editors a voice. It advances every aspect of our mission statement at ACE. And now CinemaEditor has a global reach. It’s on newsstands around the world – the only periodical where post advertisers can connect directly with an international audience,” emphasizes Edgar.

It’s the global reach of film editing that has brought us together this morning. After almost 20 years with CinemaEditor magazine, Edgar is stepping down from his role at the helm to focus more fully as an ACE ambassador to film editors and their organizations around the globe.

In 2003, with permission from the Board of Directors, he co-founded the ACE International Relations Committee with Michael Ornstein, ACE. They are now in conversation with editors in over 15 countries including: the U.K., Argentina, Ireland, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, France, Austria, Israel, South Africa, Canada and Australia. “It’s taking more and more time, but I’m delighted at the network we’re building.

Editors in every time zone share the same obstacles, aspirations and enthusiasms.” Edgar’s still working fulltime cutting feature documentaries so, as all film editors know, the hours have to be budgeted carefully. “Growing up in Holland I speak four languages and love to travel, so the international outreach is a natural fit for me.”

Edgar plans to continue to contribute to the magazine and encourage film editors from around the world to do so as well. “Our magazine’s in great hands. The team includes the Zakharys – Luci as our art director and inspired graphics designer and her husband, Peter, as our magazine and events photographer are amazing. And Peter has raised the bar involving advertisers, allowing the magazine to keep growing. Adrian Pennington in London
is our international editor, a beat that’s also blossoming. Carolyn Giardina is a top-notch journalist in the media industry and we’re lucky to have her expertise as our editorial consultant.”

Harry B. Miller III, ACE, and Andrew Seklir, ACE, continue to provide support on our Advisory Board and our membership and Board of Directors are very engaged. Currently, CinemaEditor publishes four issues a year – our annual Eddie Awards issue, the Television issue focused on the Emmys®, our Oscar® issue and our Summer Movie issue.

“There’s an appetite for more. With the inspired guidance of our ACE Executive Director, Jenni McCormick, and the excitement of EditFest, Invisible Art/ Visible Artists, the Eddie Awards – the con- versation around film editing is booming. The industry and the viewing public are seeing filmmaking from the point of view of the cutting room, where it all comes together.

Film editing is the only art form unique to motion pictures. Without it, there is no movie. The young innovators want to ‘disrupt’ but they can only do it effectively after they have mastered all the building blocks, all the beats.

As more and more people get their hands on tools and learn to communicate with pictures in motion, there’s an insatiable hunger to learn how we, the professionals, do it. We are the tastemakers. Storytelling. It’s the master craft.”

ACE TechFest

ACE TechFest Brings Editors and Latest Technologies Together

American Cinema Editors Launches New Event to Provide Access to Experts and Important Product Developments

American Cinema Editors has unveiled its newest educational technology event: ACE TechFest (LA). ACE TechFest is a half-day event during which editors and post team members will be able to access users, experts and new products in a limited-seats-available environment that offers all of the information of a major trade show without the hassle, travel and frenzy. It will be held at the Universal Studios lot, June 8, 2019.

To provide greater flexibility to attendees, ACE TechFest allows event-goers to choose one of two separate but identical sessions, either 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. or 1:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The morning and afternoon sessions will feature the same technical and product presentations as well as access to experts and users in our curated exhibit area.

Jenni McCormick, Executive Director of ACE, remarked “Editors often don’t have the time to leave the editing room to go to NAB and other out-of-town trade events where the technical community presents important news and developments. Those developments actively impact editors’ work and working lives. ACE is focused on making sure that editors have access to the latest information and ACE TechFest is a great opportunity to learn what’s new, meet the experts who can most accurately present them, and mingle with peers.”

ACE TechFest is sponsored by Platinum Sponsor Adobe, and Gold Sponsors Avid, Blackmagic Design, Ever/Cast, and NBCUniversal StudioPost. For tickets go to: TechFest.

For information about sponsorship, contact Peter Zakhary,, 626.695.7493 or call the ACE office at +1 323 956 2900.

ACE TechFest Media Contact:
ignite strategic communications | +1 818 980 3473
christine purse | | mobile: +1 323 806 9696
kate eberle |

Editor Oscar Decision

Academy Reverses Its Oscars Decision

“The American Cinema Editors wishes to thank the Academy for hearing and acting on the concerns of the industry and the artists who are such a vital part of the film making process.  We are pleased that the film editing award, along with all other categories, will be presented in its entirety.  We would also like to express enormous gratitude to the many prominent filmmakers and industry leaders who stood up and spoke out for the recognition of our craft.”


Stephen Rivkin, ACE
President, American Cinema Editors


Academy Reverses Decision, Will Air All Oscar Categories Live>>


Hollywood Reporter – Academy Reverses Decision, Will Air All Oscar Categories Live


American Cinema Editors Call on Academy to Reverse Its Oscars Decision

The Hollywood Reporter, February 14, 2019 by Carolyn Giardina 

`“We respectfully ask that the Academy and ABC please consider an alternative to this decision and equally honor the people who actually make the movies,” writes ACE president Stephen Rivkin.

Leaders of honorary society American Cinema Editors and IATSE’s Motion Picture Editors Guild (Local 700) on Thursday issued statements on the Academy’s decision to present four Oscar categories during commercial breaks.

Film editing is one of four categories affected, along with cinematography, live-action shorts and makeup and hairstyling. Per the Academy’s plan, these categories will be presented during commercial breaks and video of the presentations will air later in the Feb. 24 ABC broadcast of the 91st Oscars. The plan calls for a rotation, meaning that at least four different categories would be presented in this manner in 2020.

Also on Thursday, Editors Guid president Alan Heim sent an email to the Guild’s 8,100 members, voicing his union’s opposition to the Film Academy decision. “It doesn’t matter which categories are affected this year or next; none of them should be,” he asserted. “The very idea is anathema to the collaborative nature of filmmaking.”

Read entire article…

Brad Pitt Christopher Nolan Join Call Academy Reverse Oscar Decision

ACE President, Stephen Rifkin, Calls on Academy to Reverse Its Oscars Decision

The American Cinema Editors has been dedicated to elevating the perception of the art of film editing for nearly 70 years and we remain deeply committed to that core mission. Although we understand the tremendous pressure put on the Academy by the ABC Network to shorten the show to 3 hours, we cannot agree with any idea that diminishes the effort for which we have fought so hard: to promote and recognize Film Editing as the key creative position that it holds in the process of making a film.

Compressing four categories and presenting them in a shortened version later during the Oscar telecast, will not amount to enough running time to save more than a handful of minutes. This is hardly enough to be worth the amount of negative sentiment expressed by our ACE membership and the industry as a whole. We respectfully ask that the Academy and ABC please consider an alternative to this decision and equally honor the people who actually make the movies.
Stephen Rivkin, ACE
President, American Cinema Editors

Alan Heim’s Letter to the Academy – President MPEG

Dear members,
In its mandate to shorten the Academy Awards’ telecast, the Academy has insulted all of us who work “below the line.” Many of our members and those of other IATSE Locals are understandably upset.

The people who watch the Awards across the nation and the world should be fully exposed to ALL of the crafts that go into the creation of a film. The Awards should be entertaining but they are also an opportunity to enrich the film-going experience of the audience by informing them of the creativity our crafts bring to every project. How many people over the years have been motivated to pursue careers in film after watching the Awards? The educational value may be even more important than the entertainment.

It doesn’t matter which categories are affected this year or next; none of them should be. The very idea is anathema to the collaborative nature of filmmaking. The Academy has historically honored ALL of the crafts involved in filmmaking and the search for better TV ratings shouldn’t affect that. We have always been told that the Academy honors the very best in filmmaking, but removing some categories from equal acknowledgement on the air seems to contradict that narrative.

There is much outcry for the Academy to reverse its decision, and the Motion Picture Editors Guild joins those voices. If it does not reverse its decision, let us all do everything we can to see that this demeaning experiment will not be repeated.

Yours in solidarity,

Alan Heim, ACE
President, Motion Picture Editors Guild IATSE Local 700