Nominee for Best Achievement in Film Editing

Lisa Zeno Churgin
The Cider House Rules

One of my biggest challenges on "Cider House" was the fact that I wasn't working at home during the entire show. I cut the film in New York, so I had a true sense of displacement. I have worked there before, and I do get used to it and enjoy it, but there's always a time of adjustment to the noise and hustle and bustle of the city. Adding to this sense of displacement was the fact that the company was shooting all over New England while I stayed in the city. Lasse Hallstrom is an experienced director who understands and loves the editing process. He knew what he had and didn't feel compelled to communicate with me that often, so I was left to my own devices during production. He would occasionally call to respond to the videotapes that I would send him each week, but for the most part I rarely heard from him. Although this was not my favorite way of working, I began to assume that no news was good news.

Cutting the scenes with the kids was incredibly challenging because Lasse's technique was to have them repeat their lines over and over again, hopefully getting some gems within the repetition. Of course, continuity was not a priority for him in order to achieve this.

For some reason on this film I wasn't feeling the through-line of the story while I was cutting individual scenes during shooting. I didn't connect strongly with the material until I began stringing everything together for the editor's cut. I still remember my mounting excitement as I began to put the show into reels, creating transitions and turning it into a film. And I remember the moment when Lasse and I turned to each other in the little editing cottage where we were working in Bedford, New York, saying to each other, "I think this film is possibly pretty good! What do you think?"

Performance is by far the most interesting part of my job. I have been lucky enough to work with some amazing actors and my luck continued on this film &endash; the caliber of the acting was phenomenal. That's the part of the job that is the most fun for me. I feel like I'm the guardian of my characters and I try to help them be the best they can be. When other people appreciate that, it's gravy. I'm grateful that people have responded to our film. I know it will always be one of my favorites.

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