Sofía Subercaseaux Edits “TYREL” and “Piercing” — Two 2018 Sundance Film Festival Picks

Jason Mitchell, Roddy Bottum, Michael Cera, Max Born, Caleb Landry Jones, Christopher Abbott, Nico Arze, Philip Ettinger and Michael Zegen appear in TYREL by Sebastián Silva, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

by Meagan Keane

posted on 01-19-2018

For Editor Sofía Subercaseaux, 2017 was a busy year. The native Chilean, who now resides in Brooklyn, edited two films — TYREL and _Piercing _— which will both debut at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.

Sofía collaborated with director, and fellow Chilean native, Sebastian Silva on TYREL, starring Jason Mitchell, Christopher Abbott, Michael Cera, Caleb Landry Jones, and Ann Dowd. “Sebastian and I have been friends since childhood, and we work together whenever we can,” says Sofía. And indeed they do — Sofía also cut Crystal Ferry and Nasty Baby for Sebastian, both of which also made their debuts at previous Sundance Film Festivals.

A self-taught Adobe Premiere Pro user, Sofía was in the midst of editing Piercing, a film by Director Nick Pesche, when she was approached with the opportunity to cut TYREL. The team enlisted the help of Manchester By the Sea Editor Jennifer Lame to kick off the editing work while Sofía wrapped up on Piercing. It was the first time Jennifer had used Premiere Pro to edit a film but Sofía was able to convince her to give it a try, knowing that it would make it that much easier to take over the edit in Premiere Pro when the time came.

TYREL, which debuts in the U.S. Dramatic Competition category, tells the story of a man who discovers he’s the only black person invited to a weekend birthday getaway. Although the cast had a script, some of the dialog and actions were also improvised. For Sofía, this presented an opportunity to flex her creative storytelling muscles.

“It was technically challenging editing the film since there was no track of continuity, many characters were in a close space, and there was a lot of improvising,” she explains. “Editing a film is always a puzzle, this was just a more complicated puzzle. Luckily, Sebastian had a very clear vision of the film, so it was about using Premiere Pro to cut it in a fun and seamless way.”

Color adjustments to the footage were done in Premiere Pro with the Lumetri Color tools. Sofía generally uses color balance to accurately manage color and brightness and contrast, but, she explains, she isn’t afraid to experiment. “I like to try different features to determine what works best,” she says. “I created some presets in Premiere Pro to use when interiors needed to be darker or lighter, or exteriors needed to be darker or lighter.”

Christopher Abbott and Mia Wasikowska appear in Piercing by Nicolas Pesce, an official selection of the Midnight program at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Zachary Galler.

It also helps to work with a savvy director. While working on Piercing, Nick taught Sofía a thing or two about split screens created using After Effects. “I had never done sliding split screens before,” explains Sofía. “There was one very defined split screen that was a phone call conversation. Then we started playing with the element, and incorporating it into other parts of the film. It worked really well with the style of the film and it was easy to bring the effects into Premiere Pro from After Effects using Dynamic Link.”

Piercing is a psychological horror based on the novel by Ryū Murakami, debuting in the Midnight category. It stars Mia Wasikowska, Wendell Pierce, Marin Ireland, Maria Dizzia, and Christopher Abbott — who also plays a lead role in TYREL.

“It’s wonderful to work with a talented, familiar team on a variety of different projects,” says Sofía, who also worked on Dina, which won the Grand Jury Prize for Best U.S. documentary at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. “Together, with the right tools, we can create an engaging and seamless viewing experience for the audience.” Both TYREL and Piercing premiere on January 20, 2018.

Sofía Subercaseaux will be participating in “The Art of the Edit — Insights from the Front Lines” panel, presented by Adobe, on Friday, January 19, 2018 3:00–4:30 p.m. (Claim Jumper, 573 Main St., third floor).

Topics: Creativity, How I Cut This

Products: After Effects, Premiere Pro, Creative Cloud