INSPIRE. ENGAGE. ENTERTAIN.
CHANGE THE WORLD.
Isabel Sadurni is a Motion Picture Editor and Producer with over 15 years experience in filmmaking. She collaborates on feature films, shorts and series with independent and commercial filmmakers who share the belief that a story told well can change the world. Her work includes award winning feature-length documentaries and short narratives that have played in top-tier festivals and on HBO, PBS and The Discovery Channel. Her focus is in working on films that are vehicles for change for people, for communities and for the planet. She's especially supportive of female driven narratives and diversity in building crews. With every project, her goal is to recognize shared values and goals, build a strong emotional connection to a specific audience and lift the material to its highest potential through creative collaboration.
Learn more →
THE BATTLE OVER TRANSGENDER SOLDIERS IN THE U.S. MILITARY
Isabel Sadurni: Additional Editor
Documentary Broadly on VICE, Broadcast U.SA., 30 mins, 2017,
Transgender soldiers in the U.S. military are facing an uncertain future under President Trump. This August, VICE spent time with Rachel Waverly, a former solider who believes her discharge was based on issues surrounding her gender identity. Even though Rachel's dismissal was in motion months before Trump's proposed ban was announced, her story highlights how current military bureaucracy makes it easy to get rid of anyone deemed "unwanted" by the military - with or without a official ban.
How to telling a complex David and Goliath story through a personal lens-- we figured it out.
WHAT I DID:
Working with two VICE producer/directors I honed a complex story of gender identity, rejection and resilience while preserving multiple obligatory legal points, and interweaving perspectives from the government, advocacy groups, doctors, attorneys and fellow military personnel, Here, we pulled from verite footage, talking head interviews, action interviews, news report footage, documents and personal stills but VO ultimately became the method for ensuring clarity around the intricacies of a U.S. military transgender ban.
VICE FOR HBO: TRANSYOUTH
Isabel Sadurni: Additional Editor
Documentary VICE on HBO Broadcast U.SA., 30 mins, 2017,
As the debate continues over which bathroom transgender people should use, a more complex question is emerging about how early the medical transition begins for trans kids. Families and doctors are rewriting the rules as they decide when and how to start medical intervention before transgender youth hit puberty. VICE explores this emotionally charged and rapidly evolving issue with trans youth and their parents in the midst of that intense process.
HBO's transyouth is a powerful reminder of the need for acceptance -- Bustle Magazine
A refreshing direction in approaching the issues faced by the trans community -- The Sophian
This episode of HBO’s VICE couldn’t be more relevant after Trump and his administration withdrew transgender bathroom protections. --Awardsdaily.com
Need to build a narrative foundation for multiple character threads simultaneous to shooting their stories? That's exactly what we did.
WHAT I DID:
Working with Emmy award nominated VICE Producer, Beverly Chase and Emmy award winning Executive Producer Tim Clancy, I built scenes that hit both the emotional core and sharpened the personal obstacles of a character in telling the story of the controversial issue of using of hormone blockers in todays youth ages 5-18.. In creating a piece about the oldest transgender subject preparing for top surgery, we focused on dramatizing the stigmas associated with presenting publically as the alternate gender and how to navigate finding a sense of self, belonging and home after being abandoned by one's family. While we couldn't address the scope of this complex issue within the 30 minute time limit, we could encourage opening a conversation with the audience to guide and shape future episodes on transgender issues.
Isabel Sadurni: Lead Editor
Documentary Feature Film, HD, U.SA., 81 mins, 2015, American Film Showcase selection, for the U.S. State Department
"This is one of the best films you'll see this year, documentary or otherwise. . . It's hard to walk away from The American Nurse unmoved." -- The Aisle Seat
" A compassionate and psychologically revealing doc. . . accessible not only to Americans of any philosophical stripe but . . . to viewers in other countries." -- The Hollywood Reporter
How to interweave five characters work and lives covering wildly diverse territories under an overarching theme of nursing in America? Take a peek.
WHAT I DID
Building upon the success of The American Nurse book of portraits, this multi-platform release required the documentary feature to expand upon previously established themes of real-life heroism and extraordinary compassion. Working with Director Carolyn Jones’ initial ideas, I interwove back-story and home life for five separate characters, established their spiritual quest, distinguished a unique tone for each character using a palette of regional visuals and sound design. I then built a rake of escalating obstacles and resolution within an overarching 3-act structure.
The American Nurse explores some of the biggest issues facing America - aging, war, poverty, prisons - through the work and lives of five nurses.
Director: Carolyn Jones
Producer: Lisa Frank
D.P.: Jaka Vinsek
THE NEWARK PROJECT
Isabel Sadurni: Editor
Feature Documentary for ITVS/PBS, Ford Foundation Grantee
How to build personal investment and emotional momentum into a scene founded on communicating potentially drystatistics and school agendas. Watch this.
WHAT I DID
Focusing on Newark Quitmen Renew School Principal, Erskine Glover, we highlighted his personal background as the psychological motivation behind motivating the students in his in "under-performing" public school. We emphasized the challenges and obstacles implemented by city funding.Principal Erskine Glover and his staff take on one of the hardest –– and most important –– jobs in the nation. See all our Special Reports
Erskine Glover wants to see Quitman in demand like Newark’s top charter schools. Photo: Amanda Brown / NJ Spotlight When Sara Neufeld wrote in The…
Here, former school Principalnow Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, Ras Baraka lends his powerful presence to a story of community activism in which a group of parents teachers and students fight to take back their public school system from corrupt public education officials.
WHAT I DID
We outlined five acts as a political thriller then built motives and plot twists for each characters throughline all while ensuring the heartbeat of the film stayed strong. we experimented with historical scenes, community activism scenes, confessional video diary scenes. The greatest challenge? To build trust with a director who had noursihed this project for over 5 years and assure him that letting go of certain pockets of material would serve a more powerful and accessible story.
Producer/Director: Ouida Washington/Derek Koen
Supervising Editor: Sam Pollard
WHAT SHE SAID: THE ART OF PAULINE KAEL
Isabel Sadurni: Editor
Feature-length documentary about the art, life and writing of one of The New Yorker magazine's most brazen and popular film critics.
Director/Producer: Rob Garver
"From the moment Kael began as a film critic at The New Yorker, at the start of 1968, she presided over the movies in the manner of Béla Károlyi watching a gymnast on the balance beam—shouting directives, excoriating every flub, and cheering uncontrollably when a filmmaker stuck his landing. She spent much of her career chastening Hollywood’s excesses while brushing off complaints about immoderation on her own part. She did not regard this as a hypocritical endeavor. Kael wrote quickly and at length, regularly pulling all-nighters into her Tuesday deadlines with the help of cigarettes and bourbon (till she gave up both). Her kinetic passion, her chatty-seatmate prose, and her detail-heckling made her a pop-culture oracle in an era that desperately needed one."
-Nathan Heller, The New Yorker
You have amazing material but haven't yet nailed story structure? We can build it. Maximize compelling storytelling, complex character arcs and emotional highs and lows to rivet your audience. Investors, sales agents, distributors -- We have a business plan for this little pony-- Ask us about participation. Below find an excerpt featuring Author Greil Marcus on Pauline Kael's pivotal review of BONNIE AND CLYDE (Dir: Arthur Penn, 1967)
WHAT I DID
Producer- Director Rob Garver had an incredible subject in telling the story of film critic Pauline Kael, 43 gorgeously lit interviews with contemporary film luminaries such as Quentin Tarantino, David O'Russell, Paul Schrader, James Toback, Greil Marcus, Philip Lopate and Molly Haskell all waxing poetic about the influence and impact of the work of Pauline Kael, He had a vision, but hadn't yet nailed the story structure. We talked in detail about what kind of story he wanted to tell, who he identified as his target audience, the emotional throughline and the impact he wanted to make with his film. Here'sa peek at music and culture critic Greil Marcus speaking on the force of Pauline Kael's writing.
THE CRITERION COLLECTION
Isabel Sadurni: Editor
Documentary, 10- 55 mins, Over 40 feature supplements edited
How to create momentum using sit-down interviews, stills and referential clips? It's a snap when the footage is sourced from cinematic masterworks.
Selection from Editing The THIN RED LINE, Shaping A Terence Malick Film
WHAT I DID
From Kurosawa to Vigo, Rossellini to Malick, I worked with multiple Criterion Producers to create rich, in-depth contextual explorations of the personal, historical and cultural significance of classical and contemporary cinematic masterpieces. Edits involved interweaving interviews with historians, scholars, critics and artists. I've been honored to create over 40 supplemental documentaries, ranging in length from 10 to 55 minutes.
IF I COULD TELL YOU ONE THING
Isabel Sadurni: Editor/Producer/Camera/Director
Documentary Series, HD, 3-4 mins vignettes
What happens when a filmmaker asks an elder for advice? This series of 2-mins vignettes encourages an exchange of wisdom across the generations and documents the heartfelt, candid, and surprising responses to the question about what’s essential to living a good life. Make them available to your classroom or wellness community: email@example.com
How to shape inspiring vignettes that tell a compelling emotional story featuring non-actors in 3 to 4 minutes? Watch this.
WHAT I DID
Working collaboratively with community members, I filmed interviews then created illustrative visuals and sound design directly inspired by true life events, dreams, and drawings. Each short film is nothing less than a summation of what gives meaning to life after overcoming life’s greatest challenge
ABOUT ISABEL SADURNI
Isabel Sadurni's collaborations as editor and producer have screened internationally in top-tier festivals, on HBO, The Discovery Channel and on PBS. A recent feature documentary for which she served as Editor, THE AMERICAN NURSE, was selected for the 2015 American Film Showcase to represent the U.S. State Department, received several national awards and was described as “elegantly clear-eyed” by The New York Times, “one of the best films you’ll see this year” by The Aisle Seat and “one of the summer’s best documentaries” by WYNC.
As co-founder of The 100 People Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to promoting global citizenry in K-12 classrooms, Isabel responsibilities filled the spectrum as co-producer, co-director, editor and camera on over 20 short films for which collaborated with crew in over 28 countries.
As Editorial Chair for Post New York Alliance, she regularly hosts and co-produces Frame By Frame, a podcast celebrating the films and individuals who continue to define New York as an essential capital of the global film industry. Listen to Frame By Frame and hear collaborators of Ang Lee, Jim Jarmusch, Sidney Lumet, Arthur Penn, Alan Pakula and Jonathan Demme talk about the process of filmmaking by quintessential New Yorkers.
Since 1997, Isabel has contributed to the independent film community as writer and has been published in Cinema Editor, ArtNews, Wired, Variety, Filmmaker and ArtForum.online.
Isabel received her B.A. from the Department of Philosophy at U.C. Berkeley and her M.A. from Stanford University’s Graduate Program in Documentary Film and Video.
She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and Great Pyrenees shepherd.
Raised by two Mid-western women, I learned early on which basic values were essential to getting by in life: be honest, be kind, be useful, be responsible, work hard, treat everybody with respect. When I think about the work that I've chosen to focus on. It's clear those values continue to guide me. I spent the first year of my life in the jungles of Mexico with a doctor-father and nurse mother who rode horseback into the mountains of Orizaba above their medical clinic to administer westernized medicines to the 'indios". of Citlaltépetl Veracruz. After my parents divorced, my mother and I moved to her birthplace, Cincinnati, OH where I began a close relationship with my grandmother who became a do-parent. My mother had the foresight to transplant us to the town of Mill Valley, CA ( I still thank her) near San Francisco, where the progressive ideals of the West Coast shaped my worldview and my extended family became the patchwork army working at the Mission Mental Health Clinic my mother directed for the City and County of San Francisco: Amanda, an African-American from Oakland, Jon, the first gay man I knew intimately (who also became a kind-of surrogate father to me) , Barbara, a hot headed Italian originally from New York and Rose, an immigrant from Cuba. All of these people were and are still people I consider family. From this environment, I chose to study philosophy as an undergraduate at U.C. Berkeley and then earned a secondary degree in FIlm at Stanford University. I'm convinced my devotion to storytelling was inspired by this diverse community of San Francisco which later, as I inscribed myself deeper into the theater scene, introduced me to my early mentors: playwright, Maria Irene Fornes and performance artist, writer and actor, Anna Deveare Smith, filmmakers John Korty, Connie Field, producer Tom Luddy and playwright, author and actor Sam Shepherd. I'm currently developing projects with people devoted to ambitious, forward-thinking, artful filmmaking -- If you consider yourself one of those people and have a project with legs-- it me up-- I'd love to hear form you!
Post production sits at the intersection of storytelling and technology. Beyond constructing creative solutions in building your visual narrative, I also make it my job to streamline technical systems to make functionality a seamless part of our collaborative process.
My on-call extended family of post-production professionals offer assistant editing, color-grading, sound design and sound mixing to make working here a world-class center for creative and technical excellence.
Just 3 short blocks from the "L" train in the heart of the artistic warehouse/lofted artist district of Morgantown/Bushwick. My studio is a 15 minute ride from New York's Union Square and an easy connection to multiple Brooklyn nexus.
The spacious 800 square-foot live/work studio includes:
- State-of-the-art Edit station with 2x2.25 GHz Quad Core Mac Pro, two broadcast-calibrated, 27” color monitors, performance audio speakers.
- Avid Media Composer, Premiere Pro and ProTools Software
- Courtesy guest Mac iPad Air with keyboard for in-house use
- Free Wi-Fi
Up to your ears in brilliant footage with your narrative feature and your awards speech ret-to-go, just need a fearless editor with a keen sense of story and character development who can be ruthless with the shears? Planning your independent Sundance-bound doc feature and looking to get key personnel in place? I LOVE planning ahead! Can’t even get the paper edit down? Don’t panic. I’ll help you figure out a story structure and shape your footage to build a powerful story with compelling, relatable characters. Here are a couple of ways we can work together:
Editing, starting from raw material or re-working.
- We develop a dynamic structure for your film, factoring in all essential elements, map the narrative progression from start to finish together, then I work independently or with you in the studio to make your film a thing of beauty, even if it was already decent.
- Need clarity in a story that feels overweighted with too many characters or whose narrative throughline feels messy or muddled? I’ll crank out some genius options and show you sample of what's possible, using your present footage.
Phone consulting. I offer:
- Brainstorming to find the gold that’s already there. It’s hiding in your brilliant footage, you just need some help organizing it to offer clarity and a coherent story form.
- Honest, insightful feedback on what you’ve got, and the guidance you need to lift away the inessential. It’s like conducting surgery by phone, but way less dangerous.
- Talking through genre and tone. I've done a fair amount of reading and writing about cinema and often can offer specific scene references and anecdotes that can help illuminate an idea. Love getting my cinematic nerd on.