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Podcast Episode 71: Crew Call With Film Editor Alan Heim

An Oscar winner talks about his career and the future of editing

The hands of an editor splicing a piece of film (from the documentary

Credit: Starz Entertainment

Above: The hands of an editor splicing a piece of film (from the documentary "The Cutting Edge") back in the day when everyone cut on 35mm rather than on digital systems. Oscar-winning film editor Alan Heim talks about his craft.

Episode 71: Crew Call With Oscar-Winning Film Editor Alan Heim

Alan Heim won an Oscar editing All That Jazz and he shares his cutting room experiences -- both the good and the bad -- with Cinema Junkie.

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Companion viewing

"Lenny" (1974)

"Network" (1976)

"All That Jazz" (1979)

"American History X" (1998)

Academy Award-winning film editor Alan Heim was at Groovy Like a Movie for a San Diego Filmmakers event on April 12. Cinema Junkie sat down with the veteran craftsman for a master class in how to cut a film.

I know some people get starstruck meeting celebrities like George Clooney or Brad Pitt. And I just got to meet one of my movie idols and got starstruck. Chances are you don’t even know his name, but you should. He is Alan Heim, Oscar-winning film editor and current president of American Cinema Editors.

As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a film editor. Before sound came in, editing used to be deemed "women's work" at studios — probably because it seemed like a clerical job keeping track of all the footage and organizing it. But as the years passed, editing remained a field where women excelled regularly. One woman editor I idolized was Dede Allen, who cut "Bonnie and Clyde" and "Dog Day Afternoon."

I was also inspired by Alan Heim, who cut "Lenny" and "All That Jazz" for Bob Fosse, winning an Oscar for the latter. I remember being impressed that not only did he cut the dazzling "All That Jazz" but he briefly appears in it as the film editor for the film within a film directed by Fosse's onscreen alter ego Joe Gideon (played by Roy Scheider). Seeing a real editor demonstrating for a brief moment what went on in the editing room delighted me and made the idea of becoming an editor so much more real.

So it is with great pleasure and honor that I present this podcast interview with Alan Heim. With this podcast, I’m also going to launch something I’ve always wanted to do, which is a series of interviews called Crew Call where I highlight a particular craft with someone working in the field. And there's no better way to kick this off than with Heim, an acclaimed veteran craftsman.

Here's the documentary "The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing," which he helped put together for ACE to explain what a film editor does. There are some revealing interviews with both editors and directors.


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Beth Accomando
Arts & Culture Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover arts and culture, from Comic-Con to opera, from pop entertainment to fine art, from zombies to Shakespeare. I am interested in going behind the scenes to explore the creative process; seeing how pop culture reflects social issues; and providing a context for art and entertainment.

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