EDITING is the final writing of a movie. It’s the stage where a films take form, sometimes re-written and all the pieces of storytelling fall into place. It is a critical position which requires someone with a great eye for detail, precision and most important, beyond the software STORYTELLING.  Knowing how to shape a performance out of 10 different takes and make it seamless.

It’s a place where women have thrived in Hollywood as some of the earliest editors of the Golden age of cinema were women.

Lizzie Franke of the BFI Film Fund said to LWL “When women got pushed out of directing back in the late 1920s with the development of the studio system, editing – along with screenwriting – remained a field that women could flourish in. I think the perception prevailed that editing was like sewing – it was more akin to ‘women’s work’.”

Alma Reville was an Editor before a young Alfred Hitchcock started his career as a Director and along with marrying him later, she became a critical collaborator on all his films, he never made one without her input.

As much as there should be more women Directors, we also need a lot more women Editors.

Here are some of the most renowned and upcoming edting icons.


THELMA SCHOONMAKERis a French-born American film editor who has worked with director Martin Scorsese for over forty years. She started working with Scorsese on his debut feature film Who’s That Knocking at My Door (1967), and edited all of Scorsese’s films since Raging Bull (1980). Schoonmaker has received seven Academy Award nominations for Best Film Editing, and has won three times—for Raging Bull (1980), The Aviator (2004), and The Departed (2006).


MARGARET SIXEL, is a South African-born, Australian film editor. She is best known for her work as editor on feature film projects such as Babe: Pig in the City (1998), Happy Feet (2006), and Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), for which she won the Academy Award for Best Film Editing. Her body of film work extends across numerous genres, such as documentary features, live-action short films, animated comedies, and action epics


JOI MCMILLION is an American film editor, known for her work on the critically acclaimed film Moonlight. In 2017, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Film Editing. In high school she wanted to become a Journalist, but after catching a glimpse of an Editor working on an Episode of Animal Planet, journalism was out and Editing was in.


The late Editor was Quentin Tarantino’s editor from “Reservior Dogs” up till “Inglorious Basterds” and you can feel her absence in the films he made since her passing.
Tarantino said “The best collaborations are the director-editor teams, where they can finish each other’s sentences” and that Menke was his “only, truly genuine collaborator”.


The late Fields was was an American film editor, film and television sound editor, educator, and entertainment industry executive.
If you love the film JAWS, you have her to thank for shaping that film together. Spielberg called her Mother Cutter, due to her maternal nature of both shaping the film gently and how she also handled her director.


Remember Lawrence of Arabia? That magical cut from the lit match stick to the vast desert? This is the lady you have to thank, she won an Academy Award for her work on that film.
She has multiple Oscar and BAFTA nominations.

There is also

ANGIE LAM – Kung Fu Hustle, House of Flying Daggers, Red Cliff

DEDE ALLEN–  Bonnie and Clyde ,Dog Day Afternoon

DODY DORN– Momento, Kingdom of Heaven, The Abyss

CAROL LITTLETON– E.T The Extra Terrestrial , The Manchurian Candidate

and others.

So ladies, we need you in editing.  Get the software and learn the software but most of all, understand cinematic storytelling and how your instincts can help you shape a film into the best it can be.

You can start by re-editing films, change the tone, change the pacing, see how it plays out in a different shot and changes the mood of the scene and what it means to see something in a wide as opposed to a close up.

Go forth and be awesome.

PS- If you are a reader in Nigeria and interested in getting into Post Production, specifically editing, you will want to check out Chicks in Post a training initiative to get more women into post production.

PS 2 –  There is also sound design, grading, sound mix, ADR, coloring etc We dont have enough people doing that in Nollywood, you can get ahead of the curve and own that space.


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  1. You are right brother, we need more female editors. They can be more attentive to details and above all sensitive like a mother to a child which is a strong point in creating the right mood of a scene. Psyco won’t have become one of Hitchcock’s best film without Alma Reville.

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