May 18, 2001
Contact: John Newman (831) 459-2496; email@example.com
OSCAR-WINNING FILM EDITOR STEPHEN MIRRIONE TO SPEAK AT UCSC
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SANTA CRUZ, CA--"I was standing in the lobby after the ceremony holding
my Oscar and some guy walks right up to me and says: 'It's all downhill from here,
kid.'" On the other end of the phone, Stephen Mirrione laughs recalling the
stranger's dire prediction at the 72nd Academy Awards in March. "He may be right,"
Mirrione adds, "but as long as I can get work doing what I like to do and have
the privilege of working with people like Steven Soderbergh, I'll be happy, even
if I never win another award."
Mirrione took the Oscar in film editing for his work on Steven Soderbergh's thriller
Traffic about the cocaine smuggling industry. It's a remarkable accomplishment
for someone who has edited only a half-dozen feature films, and as late as 1990 was
editing student projects in the UCSC film lab.
On Wednesday, May 30, he will return to UCSC to deliver a lecture, "Point
of View: The Art of Film Editing", in the Media Theater at 8 p.m. The event
is free and open to the public.
Eli Hollander, chair of UCSC's Film and Digital Media Department, is not particularly
surprised at Mirrione's meteoric rise in the film industry. "He was a very energetic
and productive student," Hollander says. "Students were required to turn
in two projects; Stephen turned in four."
Mirrione credits the UCSC program with helping him develop the skills that allowed
him to succeed in Hollywood. "It's a great program," he says. "you
really get a chance to participate in every aspect of production. And because it's
relatively small and geographically isolated, you learn to work closely with other
Working with a team is a skill anyone with Hollywood ambitions needs to cultivate.
The lessons certainly weren't lost on Mirrione. But even as he was accumulating valuable
experience in teamwork and every other aspect of filmmaking, it was in the editing
suite that he was discovering his true calling--synthesizing the final work from
the raw footage.
"I knew what I wanted to do when I edited my first film," Mirrione recalls.
"I just loved that sense of intimacy with the material and the magic of watching
the story emerge."
From UCSC, Mirrione went to southern California to look for work in the industry.
He spent a lot of time hanging around the film schools at UCLA and USC, helping out
on students projects and graduate-thesis films. It was at USC that he met Doug Liman.
He worked with Liman on several student projects, and when Liman went on to direct
his first feature, a low budget comedy thriller called Getting In, he asked
Mirrione to edit it. Mirrione collaborated with Liman on his next two features as
well--the generation X cult hit Swingers, and Go, Liman's tribute to
Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon. Steven Soderbergh attended the premiere of Go
and sought Mirrione out to compliment him on his editing.
"About a year later he called me out of the blue," says Mirrione. "He
told me he had this little movie he was doing before he did Ocean's Eleven,
and asked if I would be available to work on it. I jumped at the chance, but when
I got the script I couldn't believe it. It was this incredible epic!"
Undaunted, Mirrione joined Soderbergh's team and the rest, as they say, is history.
Traffic won four Academy Awards including Mirrione's.
"I keep it in a glass case in my dining room," he says. "It's kind
of intimidating to have it just sitting on the mantel."
Mirrione may not be concerned about collecting another trophy for the case in his
dining room, but a word to that guy in the lobby at the Academy Awards--don't bet
Mirrione is currently at work on Soderbergh's latest feature, Ocean's Eleven.
His other credits include Clockwatchers and the upcoming release Thirteen
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