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Televisionation: Screen Culture: Amy E. Duddleston on Editing “My Own Private Idaho,” “High Art,” “Mare of Easttown” and More

February 1, 2022

Amy E. Duddleston, ACE has over 30 years of experience in feature and television picture editing. Starting out as an Apprentice Editor, she made her way up to Assistant Editor, working on films like My Own Private Idaho, Corrina, Corrina, and To Die For. As an editor, she has cut 20 features, including High Art, Laurel Canyon, Elegy and Gus Van Sant’s remake of Psycho, as well as nearly 80 hours of television on series such as Dexter, The Killing, Vida, Hunters and most recently, Mare of Easttown, for which she received two 2021 Emmy Award nominations. In 2022 she was nominated for two Eddie Awards for limited series editing by the American Cinema Editors, also for Mare of Easttown.

She has been a member of the Motion Picture Editors Guild since 1991, and currently serves on the Board of Directors. She is also a member of American Cinema Editors, AMPAS and the Television Academy.

On this episode of Screen Culture, Amy recounts how she discovered editing after being “enthralled” by Raging Bull and inspired by the work of editors such as Dede Allen. She shares how her journey as a young apprentice and then assistant editor led her to working out of Gus Van Sant’s house during production of the now-iconic My Own Private Idaho, her collaboration with Van Sant on projects including a shot-for-shot remake of Psycho, her work with filmmaker Lisa Cholodenko on films including the groundbreaking High Art, and her recent work in television shaping prestige series such as Mare of Easttown.

Amy and Lisa also cover:

  • What it’s like to work on a project, like My Own Private Idaho, that becomes culturally iconic: “Most of the time when you’re working on something, you just hope people see it”
  • How allowing time for ideas and approaches to percolate is essential in film and TV editing—rushing is the enemy of art
  • That the process of editing great actors—including Frances McDormand, Kate Winslet, and Patricia Clarkson—is challenging to describe: “You’re just trying to follow the rhythms”
  • How Amy turned down an offer to work on Good Will Hunting to edit her friend Lisa Cholodenko’s first film, High Art, which became a Sundance sensation
  • How High Art as an artifact of New Queer Cinema reflected cultural growth, as it’s “not a shiny coming-out story,” and how art is essential for “creating space” for new stories and narratives around underrepresented groups
  • What it was like to experience Mare of Easttown’s popularity: “The outpouring of love for the show was mind-blowing”

Amy is on Twitter as @phantomframe.

 

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