Jingxi is an invaluable copywriter due to her artistic insights and incredible ability to capture emotions and inject them into storytelling.
Suno Chen, award-winning documentary filmmaker
One of the recent films, Afterthat Jingxi Zhu edited, screened at the Cannes Film Festival, while another Hobby was awarded at the Kaffny Infinite Cinema festival. Additionally, Jingxi was inspired by legendary Hollywood editor Joe Walker who earned multiple Oscar nominations (Arrivaland 12 years of slavery) and won the Academy Award for Best Editor for his recent work on Dunes.
And, one of the main reasons she looks to Walker’s excellence in editing is the “emotion” he brings to his work, similar to what Suno Chen says of his work with Jingxi. . Admitting that she has a lot to learn before she’s on Walker’s level, she says of capturing the “emotion” in the movies nonetheless:
“After watching the movie, Arrival, editor Joe Walker has become one of the editors I most admire. I think people tend to appreciate the fast, sophisticated style of editing, but I prefer the type of editing that conveys the emotion of the film. I will always remember the long shot of the main character (Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon) hanging from a tree in 12 years of slavery. It was a brilliant publishing decision. The editing didn’t choose to finish the shot quickly, and it was this unusual set shot that brought the audience into the characters’ universe and made us feel the character’s endless desperation.
Now it’s capturing the emotion. And, Jingxi thinks that’s one of her goals and strengths, explaining, “My strength is that I have a very deep understanding of acting, and that understanding of acting and character inspires me. helps make better mounting choices. I do everything to help me understand the story. I don’t like to resort to tricks to edit. I think every piece has its own uniqueness, and it’s up to me to find that uniqueness through editing to bring out the emotion.
With an MFA degree from Dodge College of Film and Media Art where she had to work closely with other talented filmmakers, Jingxi has always had a passion for storytelling, which she considers the job of an editor. films, as well as a director and a screenwriter: “I see editing as part of the writing process. Growing up in China, I wrote and directed all of my plays, but most of my directing was mostly about directing actors for the actors, my friends, and my family. But, I had a very precise vision of the performance, down to the way the actors had to deliver each line. I was writing my scripts over and over, rearranging the story and cutting lines, and that was probably my first experience with editing.
She also admits the recognition she and the filmmakers got from their film, After, especially in Cannes, was a huge vote of confidence. In fact, it reminded her of the satisfaction she got from her time travel drama called A journey over time, which she produced for the school in China. She’s calling back :
“Even though I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising and a Master of Fine Arts from Chapman in California, I was never considered a good student growing up, and in the Chinese education system, I was hard to feel a sense of accomplishment.. But this time travel drama was probably the first time in my life that I experienced the joy of seeing my works recognized and loved by so many people. We were only playing on one school stage, but when we got so much applause at the curtain call, it was completely different from when we were playing for our families back home. It wasn’t a high class stage, but I think I will never forget that feeling of accomplishment in my life.
As well as being influenced by Walker, she was also inspired by Icelandic editor Valdis Óskarsdóttir who worked as an editor on Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind. Jingxi suggests, “I was so inspired by Valdís Óskarsdóttir describing her way of working, saying that she would forget about the script when she started editing because editors would have to connect with the characters in the footage. That when you spend a lot of time with the footage, the characters become close to us like friend or family, and then you can make the right editing choice and have the audience see the characters come to life.
As for examples of Jingxi’s work, there are Hobby, a sweet short film about a young woman who transforms her experience of loneliness into an expressive gift. The film stars two outstanding Asian American actresses in the lead roles. Jingxi says, “During the editing process, the director and I sometimes had to switch from the script to a nonlinear narrative due to the images. The editing process for this film was very similar to how documentaries are edited, we spent a lot of time restructuring the film to fit the performance models of child actors.
Indeed, Jingxi notes some fun facts both for the Hobby and After films and the impact of music on editing choices: “I had the music before I started editing, so the music influenced my editing choices. Personally, music is always an approach for me to transmit or understand emotions.
So for the short film To Kern, which was adapted from a work by famous Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, Jingxi says, “Adapting a famous literary work into a film was a new challenge. I was given very little time to prepare, but I still researched the story and literary value of the poem thoroughly. As an editor, I wanted this short film to present the moral of the poem through an experimental combination of shots and music.
With the short film, Present, Jingxi joined its production early. The film was selected for several film festivals: Chicago Indie Film Awards, Amsterdam World International Film Festival, Top Shorts, Best Short Fest and Los Angeles Film Awards. And, its appeal, in large part, is based on the performances of its child actors and the emotion they reveal, prompting Jingxi to say, “The audience must first understand the fate of the characters in order to understand their motivations, connect with them, and feel the warmth at the end.
Along the way, Jingxi worked on a variety of other projects. She has worked as an associate editor at Bond Marketing for Under the banner of heaven and shiny girls trailers and TV spots. Earlier this year, she was part of the social media campaign team for the 2022 Oscars. She also edited several music videos for next-gen pop star Chrisen Yang. In addition, she says, “I worked on Human ressources a Netflix animated TV series where I cut two radio spots playing on Spotify.
Not resting on her laurels, busy Jingxi is excited for the next movie Northern country, which features women as the main characters, which Jingxi really likes: “We have already received very positive reviews at private screenings. It’s a film set in 1960, but in today’s social environment, I’m sure it will find wide resonance as well.
As for the future, she admits: “I always look forward to working on projects or stories that can excite me. As a filmmaker you always want to tell your own story, and directing is something I would love to try in the future. Ultimately, my dream is to win an Academy Award.
With his enthusiasm and work ethic, you wouldn’t escape him.
Check out Jingxi Zhu’s website, YouTube, Instagram, and her IMDb page.