Letter From The Editor

After the 2016 #OscarsSoWhite controversy that drew attention to the lack of diversity in the nominating process, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences started seriously working on shedding the ‘old-white-men’ image that seemed to skew the nominations in the ‘wrong’ direction.

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In the months following the tainted 2016 Oscar® ceremony, the  Academy started inviting a new diverse crop of members while limiting the alleged influence of the male, white elders. The invitations were, as expected, directed at younger, gender equal and ‘not-so-white’ motion-picture professionals but there were also, surprisingly, a lot of foreign filmmakers and stars who were asked to join – reflecting the fact that the economy of motion pictures, now more than ever, relies on the global market rather than the revenues from the traditional North American box office ticket sales.
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Films that tank in the U.S. and Canada might still make a sizable profit in the foreign markets and because of that the studios try to accommodate the tastes and cravings of audiences outside of what used to be their core market. This year’s awards underscored the diversity in the film industry, capped by Moonlight receiving the Oscar for Best Picture.
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In editing, Oscar nominees included Moonlight’s Joi McMillon and Nat Sanders, with McMillon (a former ACE intern) becoming the first black woman to be nominated for an Academy Award® in film editing. Even though Isabelle Huppert was nominated for best actress, Oscar’s global diversity fell short to what the Golden Globes dared to do when the Hollywood Foreign Press Association crowned Huppert for best actress for her stellar performance in Elle. When Hollywood and the motion-picture industry are opening up to a global appeal that automatically means more diversity, and we at ACE have not been sitting on the sidelines.

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Last year we started the very successful ACE Diversity Mentorship Program, spearheaded by Troy Takaki, ACE, that will mean a more diverse ACE membership when its mentees become seasoned professionals applying for ACE membership. On the global level we have been active for some years now with the ACE International Relations Committee, through which we have established relationships with more than 20 sister organizations around the world. On the table are ideas to open up ACE to more foreign members beyond the English language that already include members from the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. It should be noted that Dutch editor Job ter Burg, ACE, edited the widely-praised French film and awards-season contender, Elle.
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Making ACE more diverse and global will infuse new momentum in our growth and recognition as a major creative force in motion pictures. The increasing acknowledgment in the industry that editors are the master storytellers in film and TV needs to be spread around the world especially where our colleagues are still considered technicians who merely execute as operators the creative wishes of directors and producers. In future issues of CinemaEditor we will give our international sister organizations the opportunity to introduce themselves
and explain, show and tell what their challenges, desires and goals are. It might give us a better understanding of what needs to be done by ACE globally.
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It’s important that current ACE members let their thoughts and ideas be known and that they participate in the move to internationalize our organization; just as American Cinema Editors not only stands for excellence in editing movies for the theater, but also on TV, cable and the internet, it also does not limit our interests and influence to America. –Edgar Burcksen, ACE