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FEST: Training Ground brings emerging and established professionals together


- British editor Joe Walker and Portuguese director Gonçalo Galvao Teles delivered master classes at the Espinho-based event

FEST: Training Ground brings emerging and established professionals together
Editor Joe Walker, who led a master class at the Training Ground

Espinho’s FEST – New Directors / New Films Festival is hosting a series of workshops and master classes focused on different topics within the filmmaking process. The Training Ground has been gaining a reputation as a top networking platform where up-and-coming local and international talents can interact with several key international figures in a relaxed atmosphere.

Yesterday, Oscar-nominated British editor Joe Walker gave a master class to share some of his views on what editing means to him, revealing all about his experience of working with renowned directors such as Steve McQueen and Denis Villeneuve. “I love not cutting,” confessed Walker, who has edited McQueen’s features, including his debut, Hunger [+see also:
film review
film focus
interview: Laura Hastings-Smith Robi…
interview: Steve McQueen
film profile
, famous for its long shot of nearly 20 minutes. He repeated the experience of working with McQueen with Shame [+see also:
film review
film profile
and 12 Years a Slave [+see also:
making of
interview: Michael Fassbender
film profile
– two projects in which he relied on his instinct to tell the story in the best possible way. Choosing long shots, he says, allows the audience to get more involved: “It gives them time to detach and reattach to the story again.” But editing is also about killing your darlings: “In Shame, we decided to cut a very nice sequence after the ‘New York, New York’ singing scene. It was sort of Jules and Jim-inspired, with three characters walking through the streets, slightly drunk. But the whole thing just worked better without it!”

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Walker, who was trained as a composer, also argued that his musical background makes him a better editor, giving him a sharper instinct when it comes to a sense of rhythm. But obviously, it is not all about instinct when it comes to building up a story in the editing room. “It takes a lot of preliminary work. I always read the script at a very advanced stage; I see a lot of storyboards, and I start to plan things from the first day of the shoot, looking at all the dailies.”

Walker has recently finished his second collaboration with Denis Villeneuve, Arrival, starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner.

If editing is writing a story by cutting and putting images together, adapting is rewriting a story aiming to endow it with cinematic contours. That was the theme of another Training Ground master class, held by Gonçalo Galvao Teles. The producer and director dissected several topics, ranging from literary adaptations to the use of voice-over, illustrating his views with excerpts from his shorts Antes de Amanha and Homem X.

“People often compare books and films, and often get disappointed with movies; they tend to find them unfaithful. It’s normal, as they are different mediums. I personally see adaptation as a space of freedom, not one of limitation!” But adaptation, in a broader sense, can also mean readjusting to circumstances of all sorts. That is exactly what happened with Teles’ latest film, Gelo [+see also:
film profile
, a highly ambitious sci-fi project designed for international co-production, which was reduced to a Spanish co-producer. Co-directed by Gonçalo’s father, Luís Galvao Teles, Gelo was released locally last February, featuring a Spanish and Portuguese cast.

The Training Ground unspools until Monday 27 June, and the last day includes a highly anticipated master class with Hungarian auteur Béla Tarr.


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