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Interview: Jamie Harley on Editing Kate

published on 19 January 2011

Film Editor Jamie Harley discusses found footage and his approach to editing a fashion film with Alexander Fury.

Film Editor Jamie Harley discusses found footage and his approach to editing a fashion film with Alexander Fury.

Alexander Fury: How did you first begin creating found-footage films?

Jamie Harley: I started about a year ago, with a music video I did for a Canadian band called Memoryhouse. I had been doing music supervision for nearly ten years, and found it interesting to reverse the process. Instead of searching for the perfect song for a movie scene or a commercial, I started searching for the perfect visual counterpoint to songs I love. I've always had a strong interest in experimental cinema, and found-footage filmmaking in particular, and it made sense to gather all these things into one creative process.

AF: What attracted you to the idea of editing Kate?

JH: Few people are as iconic as Kate, and having the opportunity of working with footage of her shot by Nick Knight made it simply impossible to resist. I had never used any fashion footage before, and it was also something that I found very stimulating.

AF: How did you approach creating this fashion film?

JH: As soon as I had seen the footage of that scene, I knew I was going to use it in association with that song by a young LA musician called Evan Voytas - it had the same kind of dark and haunting sensuality and I was sure that their association would create something unique. I decided to keep the structure and the editing fairly simple because I wanted the result to be as obsessional as possible.

AF: How would you describe your aesthetic?

JH: I really try to avoid consciously developing a personal aesthetic. I'm satisfied with a film if I feel that it has a specific life on its own, and I try to leave my ego out of the picture as much as possible. I don't create the footage or the music that I use, I'm just the one who tries to give them a new resonance, and sometimes meaning, by altering their context.

AF: What is the most rewarding thing about found footage filmmaking?

JH: It's that exhilarating feeling you get when you suddenly have the sensation that something is finally happening after days of intense frustration, and that the whole could possibly become greater than the sum of its parts.

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