Nic Chaudeurge is one of the most talented editors working in film today. Originally from France, Nic trained at London's NFTS, before going on to edit over twenty award winning-shorts including the Oscar-winning Wasp.
Nic Chaudeurge (far right) enjoying the Cannes premiere of 'Red Road' ©Chaudeurge
Nic's collaboration with Wasp director Andrea Arnold has included both 'Red Road' and 'Fish Tank' as well as the eagerly anticipated 'Wuthering Heights' which premieres at Venice and Toronto this summer. Other recent credits include Kevin Macdonald’s feature doc 'My Enemy’s Enemy' and 'The Crimson Wing', a nature doc for Disney.
Your connection to the British Council?
When I came from France to study at the National Film and TV School in 1998, the British Council supported me through one year of the curriculum via the Entente Cordiale scholarship. Aside from the financial help, they were present and supportive as people. Also they have helped distribute some of the shorts I edited.
Your current projects?
I just finished editing 'Wuthering Heights' with Andrea Arnold and we are about to do the sound mix in order to premiere at Venice and Toronto festivals. After that, I am due to edit a short with a couple of seriously talented directors, Karni and Saul, I contacted them after seeing their BAFTA nominated previous film, Turning, it's gorgeous, extremely poetic and moving (you can watch it online).
What/who originally turned you on to film?
Both my parents as well as my stepfather were film buffs who used to take me to the cinema a lot but watching westerns on TV with my granny was also a big influence. By the age of 11, I was an expert at getting into theatres via the back door and by 19 I was seeing up to 9 films a week. I am a true cinephile as in the disease (see the excellent documentary Cinemania which explains that curse), I believe editing is the ideal job for people who like to run away into moving fantasies, you just never leave the theatre and you can change the film.
Career high so far?
The short 'Wasp' winning the Oscar in 2005 and the red carpet screening of 'Red Road' at Cannes 2006, it was the first time and felt perfect, we danced Cancan for the photographers and had the most silly time on the carpet but when we entered the theatre we realised the whole thing had been screening in front of the 2000 people audience for the last 10 minutes, it was embarrassing in the best possible way.
Your first job in the film industry?
Playing violin and acting. I was 9 and my violin teacher wanted to be a film director so she imagined a love story between her two pupils, took a super 8 camera and got us in front of it instead of our lessons. Needless to say, my violin playing is not that great, it's on par with my acting.
'If I knew then what I know now…'
I wouldn't focus so much on what is bad in the rushes of a film, all that counts is the good bits. You cut the other ones out, that's the secret. Be inventive...
Favourite British film?
'Babylon', by Franco Rosso (1981)... there are others but this is a good opportunity to remind people what a masterpiece it is, with 'Quadrophenia' it's the original british youth culture film and it has one of the best endings I can remember. Go get it !
If you could have directed/been involved with any film ever made, which one would it be?
'North by Northwest', I would be Roger O Thornhill. My approach to the part would be to dress up as Cary Grant.
First film you remember seeing?
It would be a toss between the double bill 'Crin Blanc'/The Red Balloon by Albert Lamorisse and 'Le Roi et l'Oiseau' (The King and the Bird) by Paul Grimault... I can't remember how many times I watched these. They are classic French children films and I wish they were more famous abroad, they deserve it. Check them out by any means necessary (you tube?).
Favourite line or scene from a film?
"Paris est si petit pour ceux qui s'aiment comme nous d'un aussi grand amour" (Paris is so small for those who share a love as huge as ours), in 'The Children of Paradise' (1945), Baptiste says it to Garance only a few hours after they first met (briefly) and it is both sincere and cheeky. It's the best possible chat up line (if you are in Paris that is, it would fall flat in Hong Kong but can be easily adapted) and reminds us that if you get the best poet of the time (Jacques Prevert) to write the dialogs of a film and the most iconic actors to deliver them, it helps. I don't think a better film has ever been made ('North by Northwest'?).
Favourite screen kiss?
'North by Northwest', in the train cabin at the end.
Favourite screen hero and/or villain?
Roger O. Thornhill in 'North by Northwest'.
Who would play you in the film about your life?
Cary Grant, it would be such wrong casting but I wouldn't be able to resist... am gonna start looking for funding, I hear he's available.