Guided by an accomplished editor, go deep into the dynamics of how to edit feature-length documentaries with many of the lessons also applying to short form.

There are no available registration dates at this time.

Note: This course will be held online using the Zoom Platform.
Classes will be held on 8 consecutive Saturdays, Apr 6-May 25 from 10:30am-1pm ET. Plus 1:1 time per student to be scheduled with your instructor.

Guided by an accomplished editor, examine the dynamics of editing a feature-length documentary over eight weeks. While the focus will be on feature-length documentaries, many of the lessons will also apply to short form.

Using provided footage, a series of editing exercises will help students focus on the development of different abilities in scenarios that reproduce the challenges an editor faces when editing a documentary feature. Case studies from the instructor’s work will offer a real-world view of the process. The class will involve both lecture and group discussion, as well as one-on-one sessions.

Participants will learn how to analyze documentary footage from an editor’s point of view, identify and develop the core of the story, explore the importance of rhythm in editing a scene, learn the dynamics of an effective workflow, and examine how to work with different types of scenes: verité, interview, archival, montage. We will consider strategies for a first assembly, rough cuts, fine cuts, and finishing.  Other topics include working with temp music, archival footage, and graphics, and how to finalize these elements.

Along the way, we will explore the nuances of effective collaboration, troubleshooting, the professional realities of the industry and the career path of an editor, how to scale from being an assistant editor to leading a project, how to promote yourself, and how working in related areas can impact your career as a documentary feature editor.  

Leave with an effective methodology for editing a documentary and a real-world view of the editor’s role.

Course Requirements

Basic proficiency in a non-linear editing software of the student’s choice (Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro X, Avid Media Composer, etc.) is required, and students must have that software installed on their computer.

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Instructor: Simeon Hutner, ACE

Simeon Hutner is a film editor, director, and producer with twenty-five years of film and television credits, including works shown at Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW, Telluride and many other film festivals, as well as on HBO, BBC, Bravo, A&E and PBS. He is currently editing a documentary directed by renowned casting director Heidi Levitt about her husband’s diagnosis with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. He recently edited the HBO film Revolution on Canvas, about the Iranian artist Nikzad Nodjoumi, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2023. Previously, he edited and produced the award winning film, Radioactive: The Women of Three Mile Island, about the continuing impact of the 1979 nuclear disaster on the lives of four local mothers, a lawyer and a journalist. He was also an editor for 16 and Recovering, a four-part 2020 MTV documentary series about a recovery high school near Boston; the series won a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.

His other editing credits include When We Walk, directed by Jason DaSilva, which premiered at Hot Docs in 2019 and was featured at The Human Rights Watch and Margaret Mead Film Festivals, among others; the 2019 documentary feature Cooked, directed by Judith Helfand, which premiered at DOC NYC and was broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens; Vessel, about the Dutch abortion activist Rebecca Gomperts and her organization Women on Waves. Vessel premiered at the SXSW 2014, where it won a Special Jury Award for Political Courage and the Audience Award. It was released theatrically in January 2015. Simeon edited and co-directed Harlem Street Singer, a documentary feature about the influential blues and gospel musician the Reverend Gary Davis. Harlem Street Singer premiered at DOC NYC in 2013 and was released theatrically in 2014.  His producing and editing credits also include the popular A&E series, Dog the Bounty Hunter.