Global Editing Perspectives

It was not until I applied for the Dutch film school in Amsterdam that I realized that films are actually made by multiple persons. And it was only when I graduated that I understood that all those people were not just following orders from a director, but that they all added their own creative input to the process;  and that a movie can only be good and successful when the sum of all those creative minds actually adds up to something special. The existence of ACE, for me and my classmates, was the indisputable proof that also in my line of work, there were people who had reached that stage of creativity: film editors who were so talented, experienced and awesome that they were allowed to place the divine letters, ‘ACE,’ after their names.

Together with two of my friends, editors Job ter Burg, ACE, NCE, and Wouter Jansen, NCE, we met on a regular basis to discuss each other’s work, to learn from each other’s experience, and each other’s mistakes, and to check if any of us potentially had reached the divine status yet. These boozed nights were so inspiring and motivating that we tried to interest other editors in joining.

From there we set up in 2005. We regularly dove into the work of one of our colleagues, and those meetings became increasingly popular. Our advantage was that we were greatly helped by the film school in Amsterdam, whose screening room we were allowed to use, and by the fact that almost all Dutch editors own and work on their own equipment. We keep backups of entire projects, also after the films are done. After a few years, the time had come to make things more serious: We decided to start an official association. In 2011 the NCE, the Netherlands Association of Cinema Editors, was born, with colleagues Herman P. Koerts, NCE, and Stanley Kolk, NCE, joining the three of us as board members.

Edgar Burcksen, ACE, became our first and honorary member. He was already a renowned editor in Holland before he moved to the U.S., and his dedication to ACE and CinemaEditor was an inspiration to us. Edgar still is an important liaison at ACE for us – which we feel is important, since ACE is the largest and most professional editors organization in the world. More recently, Bart van den Broek, NCE, and Tanya Fallenius, NCE, have joined the board in attempt to better reflect the variety and diversity in our membership. The NCE is a place to meet and inspire, to connect with editors from other countries and with other disciplines within our own film industry.

We are not a union, our focus lies on the art and craft of film editing itself. However, we’re regularly consulted by Dutch film institutions and cultural government bodies that deal with film for advice. Our regular meetings around Dutch films still exist but we do more than that. The NCE organizes many international master classes, with guests such as Joe Walker, ACE; Walter Murch, ACE; William Goldenberg, ACE; John Ottman, ACE; Pernille Bech Christensen; Herve Schneid, ACE; Mick Audsley and Niels Pagh Andersen.

These events are very successful and are also attended by many filmmakers that are not editors. We co-organized the Robert McKee ‘Story’ workshop in Amsterdam twice, and have active partnerships with ACE EditFest London, Film+ in Cologne, the Netherlands Film Festival, various film organizations in Holland, and we keep in touch with sister organizations in many European countries, including Belgium and Germany. We currently have 45 active members, 36 associate members and four special members. We have a balloting program for new members to make sure only qualified editors get in, especially when applying for Active Membership. Active members have at least five years of experience on high-quality long-form productions and can use ‘NCE’ on credits. Associate members don’t need that experience; some are not editors but work in related fields like visual effects. Special memberships can be granted by the board. Our members work on features and shorts, long and short documentaries as well as TV shows, commercials, trailers and music videos.

Most of our work is for the Dutch market but our members are increasingly involved in international productions, sometimes helped by tax incentives or cash rebates. Of the twenty-some movies produced in the Netherlands annually, a few receive worldwide acclaim. In the last decade, NCE members have been responsible for cutting films like Elle (directed by Paul Verhoeven), The Hunt (directed by Thomas Vinterberg), Borgman (directed by Alex van Warmerdam), Paradise Now (directed by Hany Abu-Assad), Brimstone (directed by Martin Koolhoven) and Death Race 2 (directed by Roel Reine). The NCE has become one of the most successful and respected organizations of film professionals in the Netherlands.

We’ve made both the craft and the editors themselves visible to our colleagues in the Dutch film industry. Nowadays, as an active member, I can use the acronym, ‘NCE,’ after my name, and I hope that, for aspiring editors in the Netherlands, this will be just as magical as when I first saw ‘ACE’ in the cinema. For us, ACE has been an inspiring model when we started our NCE, and we strongly hope that our collaboration will continue and flourish