Meet Kristin Bye

Kristin Bye was awarded this year’s Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship during the 32nd SXSW Conference, held last March in Austin, Texas. Sponsored annually by ACE, the KSFEF was established to develop an emerging documentary film editor by offering opportunities for creative growth and professional community building. The Fellowship pays tribute to the legacy of Karen Schmeer, ACE, who edited projects including the Academy Award®winning The Fog of War in addition to the controversial Mr. Death and the IFC series, First Person.

Schmeer died in 2010 when she was struck by a car in a hit- and-run accident. “I’m delighted, honored and humbled to have been chosen as this year’s Karen Schmeer Fellow,” says Bye. “I’ve long admired Karen’s approach to editing which feels, to me, like a celebration of humanity in all of its complexity. This generosity of spirit is so refreshing. It speaks volumes that Karen’s friends and peers have found a way to honor her memory so beautifully, while also giving a boost to the editing community as a whole.

I feel lucky to be welcomed into such a supportive community and look forward to a year of mentorship, listening, learning, sharing and growth.” Like several of the Fellows before her, Bye comes from a wildly eclectic and artistic background. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, she graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle, where she earned a degree in International Studies and then furthered her education in language, art and design in France for three years.

Bye’s work began to garner notice when she teamed with the late designerturned-filmmaker, Hillman Curtis, serving as editor on his musical short film, Powerhouse Books; and assistant editor on Ride, Rise, Roar, his feature-length concert documentary profiling David Byrne, lead vocalist of the former band, Talking Heads.

More recently, Bye edited Obit, directed by Vanessa Gould, which debuted in 2016 at the Tribeca Film Festival and was nominated for best documentary at the Portland International Film Festival. Capturing the stories and process of those who make up The New York Times obituary department, it’s a moving chronicle of both the enormous histories to have crossed their desks as well as the surprising journeys that led each of the writers to their craft. “Kristin is a naturally-talented editor who combines an artistic approach to storytelling with an uncommon sensitivity to the human condition,” says KSFEF board president Garrett Savage. “In addition to her technical and creative strengths, her humble, cheerful and energetic personality makes her a valuable collaborator.

We look forward to supporting Kristin as she advances in her career and finds her voice as an artist.” As part of the Fellowship, Bye was afforded SXSW access to enjoy the Festival’s premieres, screenings and panels. As this year’s Fellow she’ll also have the opportunity to attend the Sundance Film Festival®, Camden International Film Festival and Independent Film Festival in Boston, as well as ACE’s EditFest L.A. and Manhattan Edit Workshop’s Sight, Sound & Story event in New York. Bye also receives a “Special” membership in ACE, a one-year membership to the International Documentary Association and a season pass to Stranger than Fiction at the IFC Center in New York.