Sundance Series: Fremont

Published on in Exclusive Interviews

Every single year, Sundance Film Festival brings artists and audiences together for the premiere of groundbreaking work. This year, we had the opportunity to speak with many creatives and professionals who have worked on some of the incredible work being spotlighted at this incredible festival. 

Director/Editor: Babak Jalali 

Project: Fremont


How long have you been in the industry and where do you draw your inspiration from?

Babak Jalali: I have worked in the industry since 2008, primarily as a writer/director but have also produced and edited feature films.

What made you sign onto this project? 

Babak Jalali: I am the co-writer and the director of the project (as well as the editor) so I was there from the very beginning.

How do you know if a film is going to get into Sundance?

Babak Jalali: You send your film to them and hope they like it. There's no way of knowing for sure if it is going to get into the festival until you hear back from them.

Can you describe what it was like collaborating with the other pros about feedback?

Babak Jalali: As well as being the editor, I was the director of the project. Whilst editing, I relied on and received very useful feedback from the producers as well as the co-writer of the film. I sent the producers all the different cuts and through conversations, we managed to solve issues or concerns. This was both crucial and beneficial for the workflow, creativity and to meet deadlines.

Do you have a favorite editing sequence? If so, what was it?

Babak Jalali: The scenes between Donya and Dr. Anthony in the office were the ones I most enjoyed. We filmed these scenes in a very composed, static style so the editing decisions were very much focused on timing. Making sure the pacing was correct in these scenes were the most challenging parts of the editing but also what I enjoyed most.

What were some of the editing challenges you encountered? How did you handle those?

Babak Jalali: I wouldn't say I encountered anything out of the ordinary. I would say the biggest challenge was one which any director who edits their own film faces- what to cut out and not be too indulgent and overprotective of material that was shot.

Let's talk about your experience using Premiere Pro. What was that like? How did it help you accomplish your work?

Babak Jalali: I find Premiere Pro very user-friendly. It's a software that you can be away from for a while and return to it and feel as if you were never away. It all comes back to you very quickly. Compared to some other editing software, I feel Premiere Pro doesn't over-complicate things.

What advice would you have for directors on working with editors?

Babak Jalali: As stated earlier, I served as director and editor on this film so my advice would be based on my experience of some of my previous films where I was not the editor or on my experiences as an editor for other directors. I think the relationship between the director and editor should be very similar to the ones a director has with other heads of department on set. There must be a sense of faith and trust that others are bringing their expertise and dedication to the project. Filmmaking is a communal process. In this process, there are disagreements and differing viewpoints, but these disagreements can be as beneficial to the project as moments where everyone shares the same wavelength.

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