In Memoriam – Raul Antonio Davalos, ACE

November 14, 1954 – October 23, 2017

RAÚL ANTONIO DÁVALOS, ACE, passed away peacefully Monday evening, October 23 at Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Burbank, California surrounded by friends and family, he was 62 years old.  He was diagnosed in December with an aggressive form of brain and lung cancer and fought it bravely.  His survivors include his wife Cindy Fret, his daughter and son with his first wife, Petra; Alina and Alex, and his brother Mario who flew in from the Dominican Republic to be by his side.

Raúl was on his third season as film editor for the television series EMPIRE at the time of his death.  He worked with his wife as his assistant on the series since the shows debut.  He and Cindy met on GILMORE GIRLS in 2003 where he worked on the entire 7 season run from 2000 through 2007 cutting 52 episodes.  Cindy and Raúl were to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary on New Year’s Eve.

Raúl was born into a distinguished family in Havana, Cuba. His great-grandfather was President of the island nation before the revolution.  They fled during the Communist takeover, arriving in Miami on Halloween night 1960 when Raúl was five years old.  They settled in Key Biscayne for an “ideal childhood” said his brother.  After graduating from Loyola in New Orleans where Raúl was the campus radio DJ, he attended The London International Film School in England.  There his mentor, who had worked with John Ford, confirmed what Raúl had discovered on his own: “The editor’s chair is the best seat in the house, kid.”

Raúl joined ACE in September 2001, with sponsorship letters from Carol Littleton, ACE, Norman Buckley, ACE and David Siegel, ACE and was an active member of American Cinema Editors for 16 years.  He contributed to the Membership Committee where he was a clear voice for fairness and diversity, the Internship Program and taught film editing in the Inner-City Filmmaker’s summer workshops in LA and was a charter member and lecturer for the young filmmaker’s program at his high school in Miami (Belén Jesuit Prep founded in Havana by Queen Isabella II of Spain in 1854).

Raúl joined the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2016 with sponsorship letters from members Bonnie Koehler, ACE and Lisa Zeno Churgin, ACE.

It was while working with Carol Littleton on director Larry Kasdan’s THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST (1988) that Raúl had the epiphany that an editor could create a scene that was “an aria, pure cinema, pure emotion”.  Raúl worked with Carol for almost 20 years as an apprentice, assistant and then associate film editor on Kasdan’s films beginning with SILVERADO (1985) and including WYATT EARP (1994).  On DREAMCATCHER (2003) he was the co-editor with Carol.  Raúl’s credits also include Taylor Hackford’s CHUCK BERRY HAIL! HAIL! ROCK‘N ROLL (1987), BENNY AND JOON (1993) starring Johnny Depp, CHINA MOON (1994) for director John Bailey and MEET WALLY SPARKS (1997), starring Rodney Dangerfield.  His solo feature credits include CRONOS (1993) for director Guillermo de Toro, VIA DOLOROSA (2000) and for director John Bailey and THE AMATUERS (2005) for director Michael Traeger as well of a long list of television films and additional prime time episodic including AMAZING STORIES.  Raúl dedicated his career to reaching the level of artistry of his inspiring mentors.

Raúl might have told you that his proudest editorial achievement was as film editor of the award winning indie, THE WAY, given a standing ovation at the Toronto Film Festival in 2010.  The film was written and directed by Emilio Estevez and shot on location along the Camino in northern Spain.  Raúl loved character driven stories that, in his words, “reflect and contribute to our human experience.”

To be acquainted with RAÚL ANTONIO DÁVALOS, ACE contributed to the human experience of all of us who had the honor of knowing him.  His colleagues in ACE often said that he was one of the kindest people we had ever had the pleasure of meeting.  He shall be remembered and deeply missed.  He plans on starting a film festival in heaven with Kubrick, his favorite director, and invites us all to join them some day.

By Bonnie Koehler, ACE

Donations can be made to help cover medical expenses at a GoFundMe page set up by friends.