Michael Kahn’s ACE Lifetime Achievement Award Tribute Reel

I attended the American Cinema Editors awards on Saturday night, accompanying my ‘Scott Pilgrim’ editors, Jon Amos & Paul Machliss who were nominated for Best Feature Editing / Musical or Comedy.

They didn’t win, but it was still a great night. Especially since Jon & Paul were nominated for their first ever feature credit.

Also it was a nice ‘Spaced’ reunion of sorts, as Chris Dickens, my editor on ‘Spaced’, ‘Shaun’ & ‘Hot Fuzz’ and Academy Award winner for ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ was also present.

Chris and I worked with Paul on ‘Spaced’ (he was online editor on the first series and edited four episodes of the second.) Chris also introduced me to Jon Amos, his former assistant, who did some additional editing on action scenes in ‘Hot Fuzz’. So it was great for the four of us to all be together again.

Michael Kahn

The highlight of the ceremony however, was Michael Kahn’s lifetime achievement award. Steven Spielberg was on hand to give a heartfelt speech that sang the praises of his longtime editor and ‘older brother’.

Then we were shown a montage of Michael Kahn’s credits. It was possibly the most epic, daunting and yet inspiring body of work I’ve seen at any awards show, technical or otherwise.

Later, Kirk Baxter (who won the feature editing prize for ‘The Social Network’) commented that the montage was like his ‘life flashing before his eyes’. I have to agree.

Quite aside from all his amazing work with Spielberg, the number of other mega hits on this reel is incredible; pretty much all the Amblin movies from ‘Poltergeist’ to ‘Arachnophobia’, not to mention the monster smash that was ‘Fatal Attraction’.

When this montage played, the ‘Close Encounters’ clips drew the first round of applause. I may have even started the applause as that film deeply effect me every time I see it.

And I am pretty sure I also said ‘Oh wow’ when ‘Poltergeist’ appeared.

The other amazing fact is that Michael Kahn until very, very recently has cut everything he’s done on film and is one of the very last major editors to join the non-linear revolution. George Lucas apparently said that “Michael Kahn can cut faster on a Moviola than anybody can cut on an Avid.”

That’s probably very true, because on this evidence, he’s edited every film since the late 70′s.

Enjoy the reel that played on Saturday night.

Tribute to Michael Kahn, A.C.E. from Carsten Kurpanek on Vimeo.

So what’s missing?

Well apart from ‘E.T.’ which I believe is the only Spielberg film since ‘CE3K’ that he didn’t edit (he was busy on ‘Poltergeist’ which was shot around the same time), there’s a number of cult classics like ‘Used Cars’ that didn’t appear. As well as some B movie faves that Kahn cut before collaborating with Spielberg. I would have loved to see a clip of ‘The Devil’s Rain’, ‘Truck Turner’ , ‘Black Belt Jones’ or ‘Trouble Man’ thrown in there too.

But that’s just me. What a reel, eh?

Check out Michael Kahn’s full credits right here.

Tribute reel for editor legend Michael Kahn, A.C.E who received a lifetime achievement award from the American Cinema Editors Feb 19th at the 2011 A.C.E. Eddies Awards.

Reel edited by Carsten Kurpanek & Rosanne Colello

Bonus

Uploaded by TheHotButton at YouTube.

Michael Kahn celebrates his 75th birthday with three new films coming out this year coming out of his cutting room. Associated with Steven Spielberg since the started working together on Close Encounters of the Third Kind in 1976, Kahn has taken home 3 Oscars and a parade of other awards an nominations. He & Spielberg are known as the last converts to digital editing and just this last year Kahn gave up his Moviola for an Avid as Spielberg directed his first digital movie, The Adventures of Tintin. Kahn is receiving a lifetime achievement award from the Association of Cinema Editors this year.

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  • SsHolley

    Edgar, nice piece on Michael. It was a great show Saturday.
    While Steven always preferred Michael to cut on film, Michael did cut other director’s work digitally. As far back as Twister, Michael used a lightworks to edit. I have been in his famous cutting room at Dreamworks and it is a place magic happens. I am sad to think that all the film gear might be moved out now and not returning. What will become of the two juniors locked together?
    It is a pleasure to see a director celebrating an editor as you have with your blog.
    thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/BigAl6ft6 Al D.

    Looking at the noms for Best Comedy editing (thanks, wikipedia!), IMHO, I would say Scott Pilgrim is the bestest edited out of the bunch (although I will admit to not having seen Made in Dageham), if only because the tempo of it is perfect, and it really shines in little bits like when Scott’s getting ready to go to Gideon’s club and there’s all these fast-cut hero shots of him getting ready then it sllllowwwwsssss down to the shot of him tying his shoe. I’d say out of the other ones that were nominated, Easy A is great too because that movie is also expertly paced in the way it drops in and out of Olive’s monologue the whole flick.

    That Kaaaaahhhhhnnnnnn! (sorry, couldn’t resist) montage is fantastic, just the opening shot leaves you in awe of the sheer amount of way-awesome movie’s he’s worked on. It also served to remind me that I really, really should watch Munich again. Minority Report too. That montage done worked good, yo.

  • http://twitter.com/basilzasil Basil Zasil

    I’m a big admirer of Kahn’s work, but isn’t chopping up and re-editing scenes like this sort of undermining exactly what he’s being paid tribute for? Why not present a series of awesome sequences as they appear in the movies?

    • http://www.edgarwrighthere.com Edgar Wright

      Because the ceremony couldn’t be 10 hours long? Surely the point of a montage like this, is that it makes you want to go and watch all of the those movies in full again? I know that’s the effect it had on me.

      • http://twitter.com/akindredspirit Vikki de los Reyes

        Indeed. Lemony Snicket, for me…

      • Honestmess

        I’m not sure if this is an intentional or unintentional misinterpretation of Basil’s comment, but I agree wholeheartedly with him. This feels more like the reel for a cinematographer, director, or composer. I consistently felt that the editing was either clunky or overbearing in the style of a trailer. We good a good sense of the look of some of these movies or the sound design but very little feel for the pace. Who says you need to have a compressed version of an entire lifetime of creation? Show one great 5 to 10 minute scene or three to four 3 to 4 minute scenes. Don’t run what actually makes his work, his work, through the blender.

      • Honestmess

        I’m not sure if this is an intentional or unintentional misinterpretation of Basil’s comment, but I agree wholeheartedly with him. This feels more like the reel for a cinematographer, director, or composer. I consistently felt that the editing was either clunky or overbearing in the style of a trailer. We good a good sense of the look of some of these movies or the sound design but very little feel for the pace. Who says you need to have a compressed version of an entire lifetime of creation? Show one great 5 to 10 minute scene or three to four 3 to 4 minute scenes. Don’t run what actually makes his work, his work, through the blender.

      • Honestmess

        I’m not sure if this is an intentional or unintentional misinterpretation of Basil’s comment, but I agree wholeheartedly with him. This feels more like the reel for a cinematographer, director, or composer. I consistently felt that the editing was either clunky or overbearing in the style of a trailer. We good a good sense of the look of some of these movies or the sound design but very little feel for the pace. Who says you need to have a compressed version of an entire lifetime of creation? Show one great 5 to 10 minute scene or three to four 3 to 4 minute scenes. Don’t run what actually makes his work, his work, through the blender.

        • http://www.edgarwrighthere.com Edgar Wright

          I don’t think this was in the spirit of the occasion. The montage is merely meant to represent the amazing breadth of films that he has edited in his long career. There wasn’t really time to show whole sequences at this event. I know for a fact that the people involved, Kahn and his colleagues loved the montage. You guys are hard to please!

  • http://twitter.com/frecklypeach rosie jane

    Beautiful work, I aspire to this.

  • http://twitter.com/frecklypeach rosie jane

    Beautiful work, I aspire to this.

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  • Mark

    Awesome. Simply awesome.

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  • http://twitter.com/tainaCordeiro TainãCordeiro

    nice

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