DGC Ontario Picture Editor Matt Hannam edited two of the fall’s most anticipated films: The Nest and Possessor. These two DGC Ontario Productions are being hailed as two of the best films of the year. During Sundance 2020, we spoke with Matt about his on going relationships with Directors Sean Durkin, Josh Mond and Brandon Cronenberg.
Can you discuss your on going creative collaboration with Producers/Directors Sean Durkin and Josh Mond?
Josh’s film James White came into my life through an existing relationship with composers Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans (Enemy). Sean, Josh and Antonio Campos formed Borderline Films out of NYU and they retained a very close familial style of production. I am grateful to be welcomed into that family; they are all great friends and extraordinary filmmakers. Over the years, the projects have gotten a little bigger, but the way I work with them feels similar. We all share our work and there is a great deal of crossover, there really isn’t much to say other than I feel lucky to be working with such amazing artists.
Can you discuss your on going creative collaboration with Director Brandon Cronenberg?
My relationship with Brandon is similar. We met 8 years ago at a coffee shop in Toronto and I essentially asked him to let me cut his film. He had made some short films and I had edited a couple of low-budget features. He was really the first Director I worked with who was a peer, so we learned a lot together. Before that it was more like I was being mentored with Don McKellar, Bruce McDonald and Matt Bissonnette. Brandon and I were working with our first significant budget and formed a strong bond through that process. We have remained friends and while we both have worked on other things in the time in-between, I felt fortunate to come back and cut his second feature.
What was the most challenging part of editing Possessor?
This won’t make a lot of sense until you see the film, so I’ll keep it brief. There are a lot of practical and in-camera effects that we had to incorporate. There is a particular effect that was achieved through several rounds of Photography, Editing, Re-Photographing and Re-Editing. That, combined with a sort of altered reality soundscape that played into the narrative, made for a very involved offline and post sound job.
Where do you turn for inspiration when you need to get the creative juices flowing?
I look everywhere for ideas. Editing is so different from project to project. Normally I try not to watch too many similar films while I’m cutting something. We live in a culture of mimicking and reproduction, so I do my best to not search in the same medium. Music and books have historically given me the most juice. There are some dreams in Enemy that were harvested from a Bolaño novel I was reading, J Dilla’s hip-hop production has had a permanent influence on my sense of rhythm and transition, as has my unhealthy addiction to podcasts and talk radio. We were stuck while editing Wildlife and I found the director reading to me from the book it was based on. Films are unique in their composition of many practical art forms, so I always try to fish with a wide net.