EDITING THE MORE SENSITIVE PARTS: LUIZ SCHIEL

Technology has brought the entire world closer. Social media such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook have given a global platform to anyone who desires it. What one gains in exposure, you lose in privacy. The generational difference of opinion on this is vast. Older generations are wary while younger generations don’t even think about an idea as archaic as privacy. It’s certain that different ages and different cultures feel differently about discussing the topic of sex. V-Card the Film is a perfect example of how society’s discussion of the subject has changed. The film’s editor Luiz Henrique Schiel Gigolotti understood that he needed to be as precise as a surgeon to navigate the subject matter of which could both attract or offend differing viewers. The duplicity was challenging for Luiz as he wanted the artist’s message to ring true while still representing the humor and real social stigma associated with the main character Dillon’s situation. The proper editing can completely change the audience’s decision to respect or feel pity for the protagonist.

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V-Card is the story of Dillon, a twenty-three year old virgin. Dillon has been trying but things haven’t worked out as planned. Depending on your cultural and religious background you might be offended or intrigued by his story. Luiz’s job as an editor is to help the filmmakers find that middle ground that interests everyone without turning them away. Dillon is a likeable, early 20’s New Yorker with a job, friends, & the things that most of us desire. Dillon is the film’s proxy for all of us to examine how we feel about virginity. The question put to the audience is whether we make our own decision about when we lose it or if we feel pressured by society to make it occur within a certain time frame in order to feel “normal.” The documentary examines Dillon’s life and feelings as well as those of random interviewees (and some scheduled ones) from many different cultural, racial, sexual, and social backgrounds. The star and writer of V-Card is Dillon Birdsall. When Dillon approached Luizto be the film’s editor, he was eager to accept. Gigolotti recalls, “When Dillon asked me to edit V-Card, I didn’t think twice about jumping into this project. The challenges of editing a feature documentary are something that I really get excited about, even more so with a film like this that so openly discusses a subject that many people are still uncomfortable talking about on a personal level.”

Editing is sometimes thankless. When it is done poorly, the audience is aware of it and a film seems cluttered and cumbersome. When editing is highly professional, you become lost in the story and don’t notice the skillful editing. An editor’s job is not for those who require constant praise. Still, editors are just as much a part of the creative process as the cinematographer, director, and others involved in filmmaking due to the fact that they have the ability to enhance the emotional impact the audience feels towards the action on screen. In a film like V-Card the emotions are varied and the different people involved in the discussion are very numerous. Once the actual filming has taken place, it’s Luiz’s job to connect the audience with Dillon and his interviewees, even when they sometimes only appear for seconds. Jamaal Green is the director (nominated at the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival in 2014 for Chronicles of a Profiler) of V-Card the Film and the person who most closely works with Luiz on the tone set by the film. Jamal praises Gigolotti’s work stating, “Luiz is a vital asset to any film. He has become my go to person for editing and ‘After Effects.’ I can think of three specific projects we worked on in which his abilities took the films to a higher level. A good editor can present what you have and make it work, but a great editor will make what you have filmed look even better. That’s what Luiz has done with V-Card. He is an amazing artist and a pleasure to work with.”

In terms of his involvement in V-Card, there were some obvious challenges and other, less expected ones for Gigolotti. He explains, “Editing V-Card was a huge challenge in my career. When we talk about virginity or sexuality, there is always some concern to not offend the person we are talking to. In this specific case, I needed to make sure that the edit and the graphics are not offensive to the audience.” Far from offensive, thanks in large part to Luiz’s editing, V-Card achieves a heartfelt tone. Rather than leading the viewer to any judgment of Dillon, we are warmly invited to question our own experiences and how we perceive others who may have had radically different entrees into the world of human sexuality. The subject matter of the film could have taken several different and more highly salacious slants but Gigolotti worked with Dillon and Jamaal to place the topic in a nicely gift wrapped present with a colorful bow on top. That colorful bow was realized in the formatting of animation sequences. Luiz’s skill at combining real life footage and animation is a primary reason that he was asked to edit V-Card the Film. Dillon Birdsall, writer and star of V-Card the Film comments, “The main reason I hired Luiz for the film is because he is a fantastic editor, especially when it comes to after FX and animations. When we first seriously considered the idea of intermingling animation to the film, it was Luiz’s ideas and expertise that enabled us to successfully achieve the results we wanted. We needed a light heartedness that wasn’t gimmicky and also wouldn’t take you too far away from the storyline.  He has been a vital part of the documentary and brings a ton of great ideas and enthusiasm to the project. I’ve known him for a little over two years now and I’ve become a huge fan of his work. I feel very lucky to have worked with him and I definitely hope to do so again.”

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In addition to another documentary currently in production (Luiz admits to being smitten with this approach to telling a story), advertisements, and other films; Gigolotti has most recently been editing for Martha Stewart’s Living. The diversity and amount of work he finds in New York these days reaffirms his decision to move from Brazil to work in the US as an editor. He recognizes, “There are so many great artists, directors, and all around professionals in the industry here in the US. It seems like I am challenged everyday by people who only want the best. That’s what I always have wanted to be a part of, a community committed to always bringing their best.”

 

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