We are about to begin editing the film on Monday.
What film? A little background: this summer we filmed most of my second feature film. We will have one week of shooting in November, but I’d say about 85 to 90 percent of the film has been shot. It’s called Vapaita, with the English title being, at least for now, Urban Family. Theme of the film is family, in its many forms. The story focuses on a woman who, as a teenager, gave birth to a son and gave him away for adoption. Now, sixteen years later, the woman is in her early thirties and the son is a teenager. She’s struggling with becoming an adult, starting a family, and he’s struggling with becoming independent from his (adoptive) parents and finding a direction in his life. They meet again, and make a mess of each others’ lives. It’s written by Tua Harno and is being produced by Pohjola-filmi.
The moment between filming and editing is a peculiar one. For the director it can be filled with desperation, because you can no longer shoot anything, but you still haven’t seen what it is that you actually shot. After all, shooting is mostly covering bases, making sure you have what you need to tell the story. Whether you actually do, you find out in editing. As I’ve said before, the editing room is the place where the director comes face to face with all of his/her mistakes.
You can tinker with the material, of course. I used to do that with my previous projects. I cut things to show at the wrap party, to show financiers, and at the same time familiarized myself with the material. This time I’ve opted not to do that. First of all, there’s no need. We have a sufficient budget to actually have people do these wrap party/financier clips for me. But second, and most important of all, I want this editing process to be pure. To have the editor lead it, and me actually directing and not dictating. Being open to new ideas is perhaps the hardest task this late in the filmmaking process. So many avenues have already been closed with shooting choices, you need to be open to every possible choice still available. I of course have seen the scenes in my head, I have shot them according to these ideas, but now that I have, the material needs to tell me and the editor what it wants to become. For the editor (I am once again working with the brilliant Antti Reikko, who has edited August, Our Little Brother and Male Behavior for me, in addition to many, more successful films) this is an easier process, since he is not burdened with memories and associations from the shoot. For me, I need to cleanse myself of preconceptions, and be open.
Easier said than done.
Here’s a clip I cut for our financiers at the end of filming for my debut feature film, August. We shot the film pretty much on the road, and they had not seen anything, so understandably they wanted to see something right away to know what we were doing with their money. So this is what we showed them. They were happy.