Editors Catherine Haight, ACE (Afternoon Delight, The Polka King) and Gabriel Fleming (Deepwater Horizon, Patriots Day) are no strangers to cutting for the big screen, but bringing an independent project to Sundance has unique challenges. Gabe and Cate sat down with Avid’s Matt Feury to share stories about their careers, editing with Media Composer and premiering their films at the festival.
Since 1981, the Sundance Institute has championed independent stories for stage and screen, and works to provide and maintain a place for artists in film, theatre, film composing, and digital media to succeed. Each January, the Institute showcases cutting edge projects and rising talent at the renowned Sundance Film Festival in Utah. The deadline for submissions is in late August with selections typically announced around Thanksgiving. Often, according to both editors, the race to finish submitted films can be frantic. “With both Afternoon Delight and The Polka King, we were mixing in the beginning of January. So, that’s always insane. When it’s really down to the wire, there’s no wiggle room. Afternoon Delight was shot in August and we were here in January,” said Haight.
Movies are submitted unfinished, frequently with slugs and temporary stock footage. Once selections are announced, the dash to lock down the films is paramount. Fleming noted he appreciates the deadline because it fast tracks completion of the projects. “It’s a horrible few weeks at the end, but then… you got it!” Haight agreed and said, “There’s something incredibly rewarding about finishing the movie and the coming here. It’s so fresh in your mind. To be able to see and celebrate it right away always feels really good.”
Check out the video to hear Cate and Gabe discuss their films Blindspotting and Pretzel, offer advice to aspiring talent, and dig in on bringing independent films to life.