By Kirsten Coachman
Last week, the Academy of Art University hosted celebrated film editor Anne V. Coates. Her work includes such films as “Lawrence of Arabia,” for which she won an Academy Award for Best Film Editing in 1963, “Beckett,” “The Elephant Man,” “Chaplin,” and “Erin Brockovich.”
The night before the Annual Epidemic Film Festival, Coates sat down for a Q&A session with Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne at the 79 New Montgomery Theatre in front of a standing-room-only audience.
The two discussed various topics relating to Coates’ illustrious career, including how much creative freedom she has when cutting films.
“It’s always different with different people, how much creative [freedom] you have and how much they like your ideas,” she said.
“On ‘Lawrence,’ actually David [Lean] encouraged me to come up with ideas, and he was also asking my assistant what he thought of scenes. So he was open to ideas from people. You’d think he would not be. But he was.”
When asked about what she would like to work on next, Coates said that she is interested in cutting “a cowboy film.”
“I’ve always wanted to do a cowboy film. And the only one that I was slightly offered was Sam Raimi’s film, where they shot somebody on every page. Well, that wasn’t my idea of [a cowboy film]. I like “Red River” and those old movies.”
The next evening at the Annual Epidemic Film Festival, Academy of Art University President Dr. Elisa Stephens presented Coates with an honorary doctorate.
“A doctorate is something I never expected to get,” she said on April 19 after the Avid Pro Tools Lab in 180 New Montgomery was renamed to the Anne V. Coates Lab in her honor.
As she wrapped up her time at AAU, Coates shared some advice for the winners of this year’s film festival.
“My advice to them is to start looking [for a job] as quickly as possible, and maybe take a job that isn’t what they really want, but they know it is a stepping stone to getting. Sometimes you have to take a job that you think is a bit demeaning because you’re well-trained, but it’s the only way you can get yourself in,” she said.
“Once you’re in and you’ve got initiative, you meet people from other departments, and you chat with them, and you get to know them and you hear about jobs coming up, so you can go in and interview very quickly for them. So that’s where they should go now.”