Wednesday, December 21, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Giving: Day 9 Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship

I love to watch movie credits. I guess it's the same instinct that drives me to read acknowledgements in books - wanting to know all the people it takes to make one book or one movie. I don't usually watch credits on TV, however - the text is too small or moves by too fast to be legible.

For some unknown reason, I was actually watching the credits to the HBO documentary Bobby Fisher Against the World when I spotted the name of my old classmate, Karen Schmeer. We were both anthropology majors at Boston University and had a number of classes together. I always appreciated her intelligence, humor, and ready smile. After graduation, we would often see each other when I worked at a copy center and she worked for Errol Morris, whose production company had offices upstairs. She'd bring pictures of enormous chickens and electric chairs down for me to copy. Later, I'd see her name in the credits to Morris's movies, noting as she moved from Production Assistant to Editor, editing films such as Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control; Mr. Death; and Fog of War. 

I was excited to catch Karen's name, and to know that she was continuing her work as a film editor. As the credits continued to roll by, I reminisced about our classes together, and tried to remember the last time we'd met. Minutes later, my memories were coldly interrupted by the last words on the screen: a dedication of the film to Karen's memory. I was horrified to learn that she was killed in January 2010 by a driver fleeing the scene of a robbery in New York City.

Her friends and family founded the Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship in her memory. The Fellowship provides "a year-long, in-depth experience designed to foster the development of an emerging, talented film editor." You can support the fellowship, currently in the process of selecting their second fellow, with a donationIt's a pretty cool program that's a wonderful tribute to Karen's generous spirit. 

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