Graham Fortin - Baba

The first time Canada’s Graham Fortin sat down and put together his first match cut, he knew he was meant to be a film editor. He felt a rush of adrenaline from putting images together to manipulate time and space, taking hours of amassed footage and creating a masterful work of art, telling a story and transporting the audience to a different time and place.

“I provide input into what I believe will help tell the story from the audience’s point of view. When you’re working on a film, television or commercial project, as an editor you are one of the first people to get a look at all the raw material. Your first impressions of the material are much like that of an audience’s and you try to remember that viewpoint all the way through the editorial process,” says Fortin.

Whenever Fortin starts a new project, he brings his artistic style and a deep sense of story. This approach has allowed him to rise to the top of his industry, working alongside Hollywood’s top talent on some of your favorite films and television shows. His resume includes highlights such as Khalid’s award-winning visual album Free Spirit, ESPN’s Brothers McMorris, and commercials for major brands such as BOSS, Adidas, Amazon and WestJet.

“I love being one of the first people in a production to see the footage. Depending on the project you’re on it can be a blessing or a curse, and I’ve been extremely lucky to work on wonderful projects over the years. I wanted to become an editor to recreate feelings I feel when watching movies in the theater or at home. Being able to put together footage in isolation and then showing a director my interpretation is also a highlight,” he says.

Fortin’s most recent success is the documentary BÀBÀ. The film premiered at the Festival du Nouveau Cinema in Montreal, an Academy Award Qualifying festival. It went on to receive extremely positive reviews, including one from famed Director Jojørgen Leth, which had extra meaning for Fortin, as his Leth’s 66 Scenes from America was one of the references Fortin used as he started the edit of BÀBÀ

“It was a bit wild reading his pull quote once the film was released. The success has been extremely gratifying as the project was a labor of love and you never know where things are going to end up or be received. I’m very fortunate to work with collaborators like Director Dorothy Sing Zhang. Knowing that I worked on a project a little out of my wheelhouse and pushed my creative abilities was wonderful,” says Fortin.

Fortin came on board when Zhang approached him about joining her film, and the moment he saw the raw footage, he knew he wanted to be a part of this unique and impactful vision. The film follows Dorothy as she travels to Geneva to meet eight siblings she had only met in recent times. 

Coming on board in post-production after the footage had been shot, it was Fortin’s job to put it together into a cohesive and enthralling film. As this was a documentary, he was able to distill down a much larger amount of footage than a narrative project. His extensive experience in the documentary world working on the Viceland television series The Wrestlers was vital to the film’s success. So much of the material was left on the cutting room floor as he managed to find the heart of the story about the family. When he put together a rough cut on his own, Zhang was thrilled with the direction he had taken, and the base of their film was born.

“I like that, for audiences watching, not all the details about the situation are revealed immediately. You’re dropped into the reality of Dorothy meeting her eight siblings. It’s overwhelming and hopefully you stick with it until the end to try and find some answers. I really like the ambiguity of everything going on. I don’t want to spoil anything but check it out and see how you feel about it,” he adds.

As BÀBÀ continues its festival run, Fortin has many other upcoming projects that audiences can look forward to. Keep an eye out for new movies like Snorkeling, a film directed by Emil Nava that recently premiered at the Manchester Film Festival, Ellen, directed by Clif Prowse and Derek Lee, also produced by New Regency. On top of this, the upcoming six-episode series The Edge of Sleep, directed by Corey Adams starring Markiplier and Lio Tipton, produced by New Regency, will be coming soon. 

By Punit