I have been a film editor for some twenty years, cutting shorts and features, drama and documentary, theatrical and television.
Since my earliest memories of movies — watching Omar Sharif as Ghengis Khan, Ursula Andress as She in the Odeon or Regent or Pavilion in Chelmsford, Essex, in the early ’60s, or catching King Kong or Quatermass 2 on a small black and white television in our living room in White Roding — what engaged me, and still engages me, is story and the techniques of storytelling. Even in my documentary work, the concern is always with how to shape the material into a compelling narrative.
When I returned to school in my mid-20s, I started hanging out at the University of Winnipeg student newspaper office and eventually became the weekly film reviewer — an excellent gig because it meant I got to see a lot of movies for free. No doubt that experience helped when I fortuitously got an opportunity to go to Los Angeles and interview David Lynch and many of his collaborators on the production of Eraserhead for an article for Cinefantastique. And that article in turn landed me a job on the production of Lynch’s Dune, a remarkable six months in Mexico helping to document the day-to-day details of production on one of the most expensive movies ever made.
Eventually returning to Winnipeg, I wrote fairly regularly about film and other matters for Border Crossings, an arts quarterly. And then, in 1989, I joined the Winnipeg Film Group and set about making my own first film, a 9-minute comedy in the form of a dubious documentary called Incident at Pickerel Fillet. This was followed by a short piece in a collaborative project called The Exquisite Corpse, and then a more ambitious comedy parodying old-style sci-fi movie serials called The Adventures of Stella Starr of the Galaxy Rangers in the 23rd Century. These experiences led inexorably to a career in film editing, mostly on documentaries.
Over the years, I have also sporadically continued writing — a number of unfilmed scripts, plus a brief history of the Winnipeg Film Group for Cinema Scope, and most recently a chapter on filmmaker John Kozak in the WFG’s anthology about Winnipeg directors, Place.
A ghost story produced by Guillermo del Toro overcomes some script weaknesses with creepy atmosphere and several impressive performances.
Criterion's latest Eclipse release, Masaki Kobayashi Against the System provides some valuable context for the director's better-known work.
The Awakening is an atmospheric old-fashioned ghost story with finely drawn characters and rich period detail.
Craig Zobel's claustrophobically intense movie reveals how far ordinary people will go when their actions are dictated by authority.
Roel Reine's popcorn action sequel displays the possibilities available to low-budget filmmakers with increasingly sophisticated digital equipment.
Jean-Luc Godard's Weekend is an abrasive apocalyptic vision of the implosion of bourgeois consumer society.
Joshua Marston's second feature is a strange and disorienting look at life in a little-known part of the world
Two rare features starring TV's Robert Conrad offer the cheap thrills of '70s drive-in exploitation.
Hwang Dong-hyuk's fact-based Silenced is a disturbing depiction of child sexual abuse in a Korean school for the deaf.
TV drama Appropriate Adult offers a chilling portrait of British serial killer Fred West.