Woman with an Editing Bench


“Woman with an Editing Bench” is about sustaining creativity and fighting repression. In 1930s Russia, Dziga Vertov and Elizaveta Svilova make radical, groundbreaking films. Stalin, threatened by their innovations, wants his henchmen to suppress them. Vertov, unhappy and artistically constrained, is inept at working with the bureaucracy. Svilova knows how to work the system laterally and from behind the scenes – as all great editors do. She is also adept at working with Vertov’s mind, understanding what he wants to say and how he wants to say it. Svilova’s editing makes Vertov’s genius possible. Vertov’s eccentricity makes Svilova’s editing genius indispensable. Inspired by a true story, this film pays homage to the creativity of Elizaveta Svilova – the unsung editor behind Dziga Vertov’s 1929 documentary masterpiece “Man with a Movie Camera” (No 1 on the “Sight and Sound” list of Best Documentaries of all time). It uses her revolutionary editing techniques to reveal her thoughts and recuperate her legacy in the history of film.

"This doco goes to the heart of what dance means to those who dance." Pennelope Grace

“Woman With An Editing Bench” is a beautifully realised and brilliant homage to Svilova and a celebration of the art of film editing.”
Lawrie Silverstrin, ASE, Australian Screen Editors Guild Newsletter, Sept. 2016

  • Starring Leeanna Walsman, Marcus Graham, Richard James Allen Written,
  • Directed and Edited by Karen Pearlman
  • Produced by Lyn Norfor and Richard James Allen
  • Cinematography by Kieran Fowler
  • Production design by Bethany Ryan
  • Music composition by Caitlin Yeo
  • Sound editing and mixing by Andy Wright, Soundfirm

See Cutting Rhythms, Intuitive Film Editing (Focal Press, 2016) for a new chapter on creative process in Woman with an Editing Benc