With post-production on our latest doc The Invisible Red Thread now in full swing, we asked our editor Catherine Legault to give us some insider info. Here what she had to say about her process and the job:
What were your first thoughts when you heard about the doc?
Beyond the adoption stories, what I liked about The Invisible Red Thread project is that it explores wider questions, like how one connects with his culture, his country and his family and to what extent do those elements define us as human beings? In that regard, the film is very much rooted in today’s Canadian reality, not only with adoption but immigration and cross-cultural families.
How long have you been working with Picture This?
I have been working with the team since last January. The Invisible Red Thread is our second project together, but this is my first time working with Maureen Marovitch directing.
Why did you become an editor?
Becoming a film editor is the result of combining my passions for the many artistic practices I’ve done throughout the years, from gymnastics to circus arts, theatre to photography, filmmaking and music. Filmmaking borrows elements from all of those past experiences, while editing is the creative process that allows me to express them all at once.
Do you have any special connection to the topic?
Not really but I always had a curiosity about familial, generational and cultural affiliations. And The Invisible Red Thread is all about that.
Do you know friends who have adopted or people who were adopted?
No, but one of my relative had to give her child up for adoption. So I know the other side; how one can feel about abandoning her child. She ended up tracking her back and they are now in contact. I think it made a tremendous change in her life and a true relief in her heart and soul.
What is the most challenging task when editing a documentary film?
Every doc has challenges of its own and that’s the most challenging for me; there is no magic answer. Storytelling has a mind of its own and it works in mysterious ways. For me, editing is how to be creative when working within constrains: the visuals, the sounds, the storyline, the characters, the topics, etc. while keeping the film director’s vision, the overall storyline and the character’s arc in mind.
But maybe the most challenging is to describe what editing is all about! Let’s put it that way: it’s multi-layered and polyphonic!
Is there a script when editing or do you discuss the material and then the editing can start?
I almost never worked with a script because of the very nature of documentaries, but I always discuss the material with the director before starting anything. It’s actually a crucial step in the editing process. That’s where ideas are shared and understanding happens. That said, no script doesn’t mean no plan!
Have you ever been to China?
Not yet, but I’d love to!