This year’s crop of films at Sundance is set to entertain in more ways than one, with a lineup of 99 features whose storylines were honed through meticulous collaboration between director and editor. Here are six editors you should know about whose pioneering work is galvanizing audiences and gracing screens.
Alisa Lepselter, Editor: “You Hurt My Feelings” (Premieres)
A witty comedy starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a novelist trying to find success with her sophomore book, “You Hurt My Feelings” reunites Alisa Lepselter with writer-director Nicole Holofcener, whose directorial debut, “Walking and Talking”, was also Lepselter’s first feature editing credit. An accomplished editor with nearly four decades of experience, Lepselter began as assistant editor, working on films like Martin Scorsese’s Edith Wharton adaptation “The Age of Innocence,” before becoming Woody Allen’s go-to cutting room collaborator with “Sweet and Lowdown”; she was nominated for Eddie Awards for her work on “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” and “Midnight in Paris.” In the 20-plus projects Lepselter has finessed, she’s navigated complex characters with dramatic maturity, bringing an inimitable sense of delight to the screen.
Taylor Mason, Editor: “birth/rebirth” (Midnight Premiere)
Taylor Mason’s rise shouldn’t go unnoticed. Having apprenticed under the Oscar-winning likes of Joe Walker on “Dune” and “Blade Runner 2049,” Mason’s “trust your instinct” mantra has catapulted her into a career as a full-time editor. Mason shared a Primetime Emmy Award for “A Black Lady Sketch Show” in 2022 and has cut multiple episodes of Netflix’s true-crime drama “The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” — her second Ryan Murphy-produced series, after the critically acclaimed “Pose.” With “birth/rebirth,” Mason dives deeper into the psychological horror genre: An eerie twist on the Frankenstein myth from Tribeca and SXSW vet Laura Moss. An admirer of “Harlem Nights,” Mason once suggested, “Confidence in self is the key to unlocking one’s greatest potential.” It appears she is positively (and very successfully) adhering to her own advice.
Paloma López Carrillo, Editor: “Sorcery” (World Cinema Dramatic Competition)
Paloma López Carrillo has immersed herself in Mexican cinema, winning best editing awards for “The Golden Dream” in 2013, a captivating story about a group of teenage immigrants and their journey to the United States. In “Midnight Family,” she created a pulsing narrative that puts viewers in the front seat with the Ochoa family as they operate a private ambulance in Mexico City’s wealthy neighborhoods; her efforts won her an International Documentary Association Award. López Carrillo touts a crafty ability to mine the emotional core of characters while uncovering powerful subjects. Such is the case with “Devil’s Freedom,” a bleak documentary exploring the violence in Mexico through the perspective of its victims and those responsible. “Sorcery” sees the editor connecting with Chilean director Christopher Murray in a story rooted in witchcraft, where a young girl seeks revenge following her father’s passing. Based on actual events that took place during the 1800s, López bridges the historical conflict with a coming-of-age tale with delicate precision — a style López has become known for.
Jon Philpot, Editor: “Theater Camp” (U.S. Dramatic Competition)
Jon Philpot has been editing compelling (and downright hilarious) television for over 20 years, including “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,” “Awkwafina is Nora From Queens,” “Broad City,” “Search Party” and HBO’s Emmy-winning series “Hacks.” He got his start in the world of food documentary where he won a Daytime Emmy for his work on “The Mind of a Chef.” He makes his Sundance debut along with “Theater Camp” directors Molly Gordon and Nick Liberman in an uplifting film that follows a ragtag group of theater enthusiasts trying to save their camp after its founder (Amy Sedaris) falls into a coma. The project is the Philpot’s second feature, the first being Hulu’s “False Positive” (2021), starring Ilana Glazer (“Broad City”) and Pierce Bronson. Philpot has a knack for editing ensemble casts, turning their flaws into bite-sized plates of humor. “Theater Camp” gives the editor several enjoyable characters to chew on serving audiences plenty of laughs.
Daniela I. Quiroz, Editor: “Going Varsity in Mariachi” (U.S. Doc Comp)
Daniela I. Quiroz is an award-winning film editor who primarily works on social justice-focused documentaries with a unique perspective and visual style. She edited “Latino Vote: Dispatches from the Battleground” which broadcast on PBS ahead of the November 2020 election. She was one of the editors on “The Last Out” (Tribeca Special Jury Mention) alongside Carla Gutierrez and Mark Becker, which follows three Cuban migrants pursuing their dream to make it to Major League Baseball. Daniela co-edited the feature length film, “Rebel Citizen” — an in-depth look at Haskell Wexler’s use of cinematography as a tool for social justice — which premiered at the 2015 New York Film Festival. Previously, Quiroz worked as a short film editor before moving into an assistant editor role at Vice where she cut news and investigative reports. She is currently involved in the post-production of several documentaries and TV series set to debut in 2023.
Sofía Subercaseaux, Editor: “Rotting in the Sun” (Premieres)
Sofía Subercaseaux’s impact as an editor (and storyteller) s undeniable. A frequent collaborator of Chilean-born writer-director Sebastián Silva, who is also a childhood friend, she got her jump in 2013 on Silva’s first feature, “Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus,” starring Michael Cera and Gaby Hoffman. The duo has also collaborated on several other projects including the documentary “Mala Mala” (which follows nine trans-identifying individuals in Puerto Rico and earned Subercaseaux a Costa Rica International Film Festival Award) and “Nasty Baby” (in which Kristen Wiig plays the friend of two gay men who are trying to have a baby). Subercaseaux has since diversified her creative strengths, navigating the poignant true story of Christine Chubbuck in “Christine,” an unconventional love story in “Dina,” and HBO’s limited-series dramatization of “The Staircase.” She reteams with Silvia in the dark comedy “Rotting in the Sun,” for which she shares editing credit with Santiago Cendejas and Gabriel Diaz. Be on the lookout for this rising creative.