Vivien Hillgrove

Born 1946

Vivien Hillgrove, a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, has over fifty years of experience as an editor and a sound editor for both narrative and documentary films. In the 1980’s and 90’s, Hillgrove worked as a dialogue editor on many feature films, including Amadeus, Blue Velvet and The Right Stuff. As a narrative film editor, she worked with Dede Allen on Phil Kaufman’s Henry and June and with Walter Murch on Kaufman’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Her documentary editing work includes seven films by Lourdes Portillo (including Senorita Extraviada, The Devil Never Sleeps, Corpus: A Home Movie for Selena, La Ofrenda: The Days of the Dead…), and several for Deann Borshay Liem, including In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee, for which Hillgrove won the Best Editing Award at the Asia Pacific Film Festival, and First Person Plural, on which she was also the co-writer. Hillgrove has also served as an advisor for multiple Sundance Documentary Composer/Edit Labs, the Latino Producers Academy (NALIP), and for Chicken & Egg Pictures. She is currently directing and producing an autobiographical documentary, Vivien’s Wild Ride, with producers Janet Cole and Dawn Valadez.

“Most often, a documentary doesn’t have a script—it has a kernel or two of an idea and lots and lots of film.” She gestures to a cork-covered wall covered with slips of paper. This is the “storyboard” for a documentary for which the director has shot over 400 hours of film. “My first task is just to get a handle on the project,” Vivien says as she pulls three-ring binders from a nearby bookshelf. “See? Here is all the footage featuring one particular person. Here is another featuring a particular set of images—like fields of grain or something similar and here,” she pauses as she pulls out another binder, “here is an annotated list of all the quotes the different filmed experts have to say about a particular topic. These are all the little puzzle pieces, organized for me to use as they are needed.”
 “Vivien Hillgrove’s Film Editing Secrets Revealed” by Gil Mansergh. The full text can be found in the Appendix.

“Over-explanation tires the viewer,” she said. “You’ve got to find the juice and take just that piece.”
—“Advice on film editing: ‘Kill your babies’ by Andrew Pardiac. The full text can be found in the Appendix.


Lisa Fruchtman

Born 1948

Lisa Fruchtman is a film and television editor and documentary director with twenty-five film credits. After interning with a documentary film group in the USA, Fruchtman spent a year developing her editing skills at the National Film Board of Canada and then returned to the states, where she began working as an assistant editor for Francis Ford Coppola on The Godfather Part II. Later, as an editor, she worked on two other Coppola films: Apocalypse Now (co-edited with Richard Marks, Gerald B. Greenberg and Walter Murch) and The Godfather Part III (co-edited with Barry Malkin and Walter Murch). Both films were nominated for Best Editing Oscars. Fruchtman (and her co-editors Glenn Farr, Tom Rolf, Stephen A. Rotter and Douglas Stewart) won an Oscar for Philip Kaufman’s The Right Stuff. Her first film with solo editing credit was for Randa Haines’ Children of a Lesser God.

“He [Coppola] surrounds himself with a lot of different kinds of collaborators—not only great artists but also very nuts and bolts people, so it’s kind of like all the different parts of the job are taken up by his team and he’s free to be wildly imaginative because he depends on all of us to execute the vision without actually being told what to do. He never says, “Do this” or “Do that” or “Cut here” or anything ever like that. He’s rarely in the cutting room. He likes to see what you come up with and then screen it separately or in the context of a cut and then give you some vague direction about how it could be better and let you go back and figure it out. And for me, that was a very exciting and creative process. For some people, it might be maddening. For the studio, it was certainly maddening.”
From “The Art of the Edit,” a 2017 interview with Lisa Fruchtman. The link to the full video can be found in the appendix.