NYWIFT Blog

New Member Spotlight: Jeanne Applegate

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How did you first hear about NYWIFT and what made you decide to join?
I first heard of NYWIFT and 20/20/20 [Killer Films/Stony Brook University’s Intensive in Digital Filmmaking program] through my mother, Jane Applegate, who is a freelance film and video producer. She attended a workshop given by Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler where she picked up a flyer for 20/20/20.

I had recently moved to NY to pursue a career in independent film after working as an assistant editor at Pixar for many years. I had written a couple of scripts but had no idea how to go about producing them, and the 20/20/20 program seemed like an ideal way to complete a short film and to meet other filmmakers. During the program I met Simone Pero, a NYWIFT board member who was also visiting faculty of the 20/20/20 program, and she encouraged me to join NYWIFT.

How was your experience at 20/20/20?
I had long admired Killer Films for producing such unusual and thought-provoking work, and the program ended up being an incredible experience. It was a crash course in film production with lectures given by working professionals, many of whose work I knew and admired, and led by a great group of mentors. I came away with practical skills, knowledge, and a short film, Jitterbug. I also met some very talented people, many of whom I’ve collaborated with since.

Do you have any advice from your time in NY as an editor that might be helpful for other NYWIFT members?
When I moved to NY a year ago I wasn’t sure how to break into the film scene here. There is a lot of work out there, but it can be hard to find interesting projects at first. I would encourage people looking for editing work to take a course at The Edit Center. I went there to brush up on my Final Cut skills and ended up meeting some great contacts. It’s also a really fun program because you get to edit a real, independent feature and work with the director.

The 20/20/20 program is also a great place to start if you have a short film idea or are looking to learn about how the NY film industry works. I was lucky enough to parlay my 20/20/20 experience into some editing work as well. A friend in the program brought me in to edit some spots for a fashion campaign he was working on, and I just finished assistant editing on Sebastian Silva’s latest film Nasty Baby. I did some additional editing on that film as well.

I’m currently in France editing a feature for JULIACKS, a transmedia artist whose shoot I worked on in Southampton. She’s in residency at ENSA-Bourges with her film Architecture of an Atom.

Could you share with us some of your creative influences?
My first creative outlet was making zines (photocopied booklets that I would pass around at shows) with hand-drawn comics and collages. Comics and graphic novels led to an interest in animation. When I was a freshman at Reed College, faced with a huge pile of books to read, I happened into a small room in the library where they were screening some of William Kentridge’s films. I had never seen anything like them — his animations are hand drawn using charcoal and the story lines are really complex and dark. I decided to quit school and pursue film, specifically experimental animation.

I wandered for a couple of years then ended up in the cinema program at San Francisco State University. I quickly discovered that I didn’t have the patience or aptitude for animation, so I ended up manipulating my animations in Final Cut and discovered that my real skill was for editing.

Maya Deren and Chris Marker were early influences. Marjorie Keller is my current inspiration, and my favorite narrative filmmaker is Andrea Arnold. I hope to make some more short films, both narrative and experimental. I also hope to continue editing and assistant editing on indie features. I can’t imagine a better job.

What do you hope to get from NYWIFT as a member and what are some of your future goals for your career?
I joined NYWIFT in order to meet other filmmakers. I would like to find a producer for a short narrative script I have on the back burner. The events and screenings are great as well.

To see Jeanne Applegate’s work, visit japplegate.com.

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nywift New York Women in Film & Television supports women calling the shots in film, television and digital media.

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