The Karen Schmeer Editing Fellowship

In late January 2010 the documentary community lost a vibrant talent and valued member of its community. Editor Karen Schmeer was killed in a hit-and-run accident in New York City. She was 39. Exactly one year before her death she had won the U.S. Documentary Editing Award at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival for her work on Greg Barker's film Sergio. Karen had accomplished a great deal as an editor in a short time. She edited several of Errol Morris' films including Fog of War and worked with DFP grantees Robb Moss, Lucia Small, Michael Camerini, and Shari Robertson. Those who knew her, loved her.

Recognizing that editors are seldom given sufficient assistance in their freelance career paths, this Fellowship has been specifically designed by Karen's friends and colleagues to give broad support to both an editor's creative development and career goals. In conjunction with American Cinema Editors (ACE) and other partners, the Karen Schmeer Editing Fellowship is a year-long experience that encourages and champions the talent of an emerging editor (fiction or non-fiction).

Deadline to apply is December 15, 2010.

The Fellowship is a package intended to broaden an editor's horizons, including:

  • MENTORSHIP WITH AN ACE EDITOR - with guidance from ACE, the Fellow will be given a mentorship with an established ACE editor who fits their particular interests.
  • FULL PASSES TO ACE EDITFEST IN NEW YORK & LOS ANGELES - the Fellow will be provided with full passes to both EditFest NY (June) and EditFest LA (August), weekend seminars with working experts in the field of editing.
  • SXSW FESTIVAL FILM BADGE - full access to films, panels, mentor sessions and more at the South By Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival in Austin, Texas, held in March.
  • IFFBoston FESTIVAL CHROME PASS - full access to films, panels and more at the International Film Festival of Boston (IFFBoston), held in April/May.
  • MANHATTAN EDIT WORKSHOP CLASS - free class at New York's premier Apple, Adobe & Avid Authorized editing and training facility.
  • TRAVEL EXPENSES / ACCOMMODATIONS - the fellow will be provided with travel and accommodations to one of the events above, based on the fellow's preference (4 nights hotel, airfare, per diem).
  • $500 ONLINE GIFT CERTIFICATE TO POWELL'S BOOKS - an online gift certificate to Powell's Books (Karen's favorite), based in Portland, Oregon.

Additional opportunities for the Fellowship continue to be actively explored and will be incorporated in the future.

OPEN CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS - the Fellowship will accept applications through December 15, 2010, with the first Fellowship to be awarded in February 2011. More details about the Fellowship and application requirements/forms can be found online at

$25,000 MATCHING GRANT CHALLENGE - an anonymous donor has volunteered a generous $25,000 matching grant for the remainder of 2010. Any donations to the Fellowship received from August 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010 will be matched dollarfor-dollar, up to a maximum total amount of $25,000. All donations are tax deductible, through the ACE Educational Center, a 501(c)(3) corporation. To make a donation, either online or by mail, please visit

KAREN SCHMEER, A.C.E., was an award-winning film editor whose work included Errol Morris' The Fog of War (Academy Award Winner for Best Documentary), Mr. Death, and Fast, Cheap and Out of Control. She edited Sketches of Frank Gehry, directed by Sydney Pollack, The Same River Twice, My Father the Genius, and the American Experience: A Brilliant Madness. Her fiction film American Son premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. For the HBO film Sergio, Karen won the Best Editing Award at Sundance in 2009. Karen was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, and attended Boston University. On her way home from editing Liz Garbus' documentary about chess phenomenon Bobby Fischer, Karen was struck and killed by a car fleeing a robbery in New York City on January 29, 2010.

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