‘Mustang’ Makes It to the 2016 Oscars with Avid

By in Video Editing

With the feature film Mustang from the Franco-Turkish director Deniz Gamze Ergüven designated to represent France at the 2016 Academy Awards® in the Best Foreign Film category, Avid recently met with the editor Mathilde Van de Moortel who used Media Composer to give the film its rhythm.

Mustang, directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven, was edited using Avid Media Composer.

With a name that recalls her distant Flemish origins, Mathilde Van de Moortel has, at just 31 years old, a long track record in editing. After achieving a literary baccalaureate and an Audiovisual BTS in editing, Mathilde made her way to Paris where she became an assistant editor on several films, and then chief editor. Her work includes the feature films After May (dir. Olivier Assayas), An Open Heart (dir. Marion Laine), Perfect Mothers (dir. Anne Fontaine), and Villa Amalia (dir. Benoît Jacquot), among others. Her name can also be found in the TV fiction credits of Les Complices [The Accomplices] (France 3), the television series Ainsi soient-ils [Thy Will Be Done] (Arte) and La vie devant elles [The Life Ahead of Them] (France 3), winner of the prize for the best French series in the 2015 Mania Series festival.

Mathilde Van de Moortel during an editing session on her Avid workstation.

In mid-2014 Mathilde was approached by the producer Charles Gillibert (CG Cinema) and first-time director Deniz Gamze Ergüven to perform the editing duties of Mustang.

“I’ve always used Avid Media Composer,” explains Mathilde. “Each new version improves work possibilities, it’s a tool that has evolved over time, and the feature changes are very intuitive.”

—Mathilde Van de Moortel

Mustang was filmed in Turkey with the actors speaking Turkish – something that did not profoundly changed Mathilde working approach as she was able to follow the action using a French language script.

Nearly fifty hours of footage was shot in 2K ProRes resolution and the images encoded in DNxHD 36 for editing purposes. At the shooting location, the footage was transferred and secured on hard drives, and then sent to Paris for editing with the original plans. Mathilde’s work began in October 2014 and lasted for fourteen weeks.

Mustang was a great popular success, watched by 450,000 viewers in France.

A few days after the end of post-production, the film was selected for the Cannes Film Festival and won the Europa Cinema Prize at the Directors’ Fortnight. More good news was to follow, with the announcement in September 2015 of the film’s selection to represent France at the Oscars. The film then made the cut of 81 global nominations to reach the final five that competed for the award.

While it didn’t walk away with the prize, Mustang remains a triumph of storytelling.

Mathilde went through nearly 50 hours of footage while editing Mustang.

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After 15 years of journalism for Cine & Broadcast technologies magazines, I focus now on my blog, CineTVindustry.com.