Editor Bruno Laseviciusbrings

Brazil’s Bruno Lasevicius has risen to the top of his industry by having a deep appreciation and understanding of his craft. As a celebrated film editor, he has worked on many award-winning productions, including Jailers, which premiered at Cannes at the MIPDrama Screenings in 2017 where it took home the Jury award, The Edge of Democracy, which won several awards at prestigious festivals around the world and was even nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary at the 2020 Academy Awards, and more recently, two features he edited were screened at 2022 New York Latino Film Festival, Running for a Dream and The Pastor and the Revolutionary.

“The work of an editor is an exercise of empathy and interpretation. It’s about picking and assembling images, sounds and ideas while handling emotions and expectations. It starts with a careful reading of the script, which then becomes a sort of map to actions but also offers great insight into the psychology of the characters. The next step is a talk with the director, and then attentively watching the daily media that was filmed on set and recognizing which footage was well executed and which was not. The editor is often the single person from the crew that gets to view the entire project as it was originally shot, and I find that to be quite the privilege,” says Bruno.

Bruno’s passion for what he does translates on screen, as audiences find themselves transported by his work. This is evident with the 2019 film Abe, starring Noah Schnapp as the titular character, best known as Will Byers in the Netflix phenomenon Stranger Things. In the film, Abe is a 12-year-old half-Israeli and half-Palestinian kid from Brooklyn driven by his passion for food, who has never had a dinner without a family fight. Abe escapes from a summer cooking camp and is mentored by the Afro-Brazilian Chef “Chico”, who specializes in serving fusion food at pop-up food fairs. One side of the family prefers to call him “Avraham” (in Hebrew), the other side “Ibrahim” (in Arab), while his agnostic atheist parents call him “Abraham”, in English. But he prefers Abe, just Abe, who aims to unite his family through food until everything goes wrong. Such a story intrigued Bruno from the beginning, and he knew he wanted to help share it with the world.

Abe was a very bold project, with a good script that stood out when I first read it. It had a sensitive theme that was somehow balanced with a playful narrative,” he said. “I was interested and inclined to focus on planting the seed of peace and unity, through the lens of a child. It required attentive research for me to get behind the driving force of Abe, being caught in the middle, as children often do between their parents and families, but also relatable on a fundamental and personal level. The element that bridges the two families together is food, guided by a Brazilian chef which Abe encounters and befriends.”

Bruno was the Lead Editor at the project’s inception, having previously built a relationship with Director Fernando Grostein Andrade on Jailers. He took advantage of this early involvement and had an active role during production. As he was editing rough cuts of scenes shot, he was able to give feedback and request additional footage, which is very strategic for small productions. During post-production, he also managed the entire workflow for media and backups, while supervising a team of assistants.

When it came to the style of editing for Abe, Bruno had to piece everything to cater to a younger audience that’s not the easiest to impress, but also dealt with so much information that required different stylistic approaches. As he was editing, he was quick to notice how the computer POV would be a nice device to rely on for conveying some of the ideas that were off-screen.

“From words written with vegetables on a skillet to google translate screen recordings reading out exotic Brazilian words in a robotic voice, many ideas were developed from this reflection of what I would like to see in this film if I were this kid,” he described.

Abe premiered at the world-renowned Sundance Film Festival in 2019 where it was an Official Selection. It then went on to many other festivals and took home the award for Best Film Popular Jury at the Washington Jewish Film Festival, the Kinder Jury Prize at the Kinder Film Festival in Vienna in addition to Bruno winning Best Editing at the Holidays 365 International Film Festival 2020. The film is now available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.

 “It feels good to see Abe being welcomed and enjoyed by a wide global audience. It has such an important message in its core, and while it deals with a very sensitive topic such as religion, it’s very interesting to see how people connect with the film,” said Bruno.

So, what’s next for Bruno? He recently edited the action feature Overhaul, which will be released on Netflix in 2023. It’s a film about truck races and one of the most challenging projects this experienced editor has ever been a part of. He is also currently editing a sci-fi horror feature film titled Bury Your Dead, directed by Marco Dutra, and produced by Rodrigo Teixeira, who produced the Oscar Nominated Best Feature Call Me By Your Name, and next year Bruno is booked for a documentary that reflects on the political scene in Brazil over the recent 10-year course with a sensitive and artistic approach.

In the meantime, if you haven’t yet, check out Bruno’s beautiful work on Abe on Prime Video.

By Punit