Cutting Feature Film ‘Feriado’ Simultaneously Between Ecuador and Argentina with Media Composer

By in Timeline Tuesday, Video Editing

I had been working as a freelance editor in New York for over 8 years, for television networks such as MTV, VH1, NBC and HBO. Throughout this time, Hanne-Lovise Skarveit, my amazing producer-wife and I were also developing our first feature, Feriado (Holiday). When we finally managed to secure most of the funding to go into production, we moved to my hometown of Quito, Ecuador to jump into production.

Juan Manuel Arregui (Juan Pablo) and Diego Andrés Paredes (Juano)

Feriado is the story of Juan Pablo, a sixteen year old who travels to the remote family hacienda in the Andes, where his uncle, who is involved in a corruption scandal, has taken refuge with his wife and teenage children. It is the carnival holiday of 1999, days before the collapse of Ecuador’s banking system. There, Juan Pablo meets Juano, an enigmatic, self-assured heavy-metal fan from the nearby pueblo, who opens his eyes to an entirely new, liberating world. As his country and family is heading for the abyss, the two boys’ budding friendship develops into a fragile romance, and Juan Pablo is forced to define himself against his chaotic surroundings.

Juan Manuel Arregui (Juan Pablo)

Once production was over, we immediately started post production. Since Feriado is a co-production between Ecuador and Argentina, part of the post process had to take place in Argentina. Avid Media Composer was our obvious choice in terms of its media management and sharing capabilities.

Juan Manuel Arregui (Juan Pablo)

I made a first assembly and then our editor in Argentina, Julián Giulianelli, took over. He received a 1TB hard drive via a friend traveling to Buenos Aires with our Avid DNxHD 36 media plus a synced and organized project.

We didn’t really know how this post scenario was going to work. We anticipated me traveling to Buenos Aires at some point or Julián working with me in Quito. However, having run out money during production, we were counting on public or private funds, but these funds weren’t happening. So we went ahead and cut the film, Julián working in his studio in Buenos Aires and me sitting at home in Quito.

Juan Manuel Arregui (Juan Pablo) and Diego Andrés Paredes (Juano)

We divided our work in the most straightforward (and unorthodox) way possible: Julián got the first half of the film and I got the second half. We had one active bin that we shared with the current cut. Every now and then, we would share bins, cut together both halves, watch the complete film and have long, Skype conversations. This process was so organic and smooth that there was never the need for Julián and me to be working at the same place.

Producer Hanne-Lovise Skarveit and Director Diego Araujo and the Berlinale 2014

Thirteen months later, we had a film, but no finishing funds. Then the big news came: Feriado had been selected to the 2014 Berlinale, at the Generation section. This was the first time that an Ecuadorian film was competing at the Berlin Film Festival. Then the funds came, from Ecuador and Argentina and we started a five week marathon to finish the film.

Color correction and finishing took place in HD Argentina in Buenos Aires and sound post production was handled by Tres Estudio in Buenos Aires and Bunker Studio in Quito. In February 2014, Feriado has its World Premiere in Berlin, went on to play in over 60 festivals all over the world, and has been released commercially in Ecuador, Argentina, Germany, France, UK, Switzerland and (soon) the US. You can watch the trailer here:

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I am a writer-director-editor and winner of the Tribeca Film Institute Voces Award in 2012. My feature film debut, FERIADO (Holiday) premiered at the Berlinale in 2014 and has since screened in over sixty festivals around the world, including Frameline (San Francisco), Latinbeat (New York), Huelva (Spain), Rio de Janeiro, Tel Aviv, Biarritz, Melbourne, Kolkata, La Habana, among others. I am currently developing my second feature, the comedy BLACK HOLE and I teach film at Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) in Ecuador. You can follow me on Twitter: @lunafilms.