Luis Mandoki Interview Excerpt

For Class #7

 Instructor: Norman Hollyn T.A.: Beth Moody
 Office: 310-821-2792 Phone: 323-472-1164

 E-Mail: nhollyn [at]

E-Mail: elizabethmoody [at]

What do directors look for in an editor? Some like editors who agree with them. Others like to struggle with them to find the right way to approach every scene. Most good directors (and by that I mean people who turn out good work as well as people who are good to work for) look for collaboration. Luis Mandoki worked with Steve Weisberg on 1998's MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE and he has this to say about what he looks for in an editor.


Interview with Luis Mandoki

Director, "Message in a Bottle"

interviewed by Elif Cercel

Thursday February 11, 1999

Luis Mandoki is the director of "Message in a Bottle," starring Kevin Costner, Robin Wright Penn and Paul Newman, which was released by Warner Bros. in early 1999.

A native of Mexico, Mandoki studied film in London, at the International Film School and the London College School of Film, as well as at the San Francisco Art Institute. He has received recognition first for "Silent Music," a winner of in the shorts category at Cannes, and for "Gaby: A True Story," whose stars received Golden Globe and Oscar nominations. "White Palace," starring Susan Sarandon and James Spader was Mandoki's first American film. His ensuing directing credits were "Born Yesterday" and "When a Man Loves a Woman."

You hadn't worked much with your editor, Steve Weisberg. How did that relationship work out and what was most important to you?

He was the second editor on "Gaby," my first film when was just starting out. But, we had never worked together like this before. It was a fantastic experience.

What I value most about him is his great sensibility and his great eye in choosing performances. His first assembly was the best assembly I have ever seen. In the process of fine-cutting the film, he has very strong opinions. I like that in an editor. When an editor just says 'yes' on everything, I have nobody to have a dialogue with, to test my own opinions with. Sometimes he convinced me of things and sometimes I convinced him. There was no ego about it. It was just about finding the truth and the right rhythm in every scene. Sometimes when I would say that we needed more length on a close-up, he would agree but point out that we were going to lose the balance and rhythm of the whole movie. He was right sometimes and other times I was right.

©1999 EditorsNet

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