Cut to Black: Kevin Lee, Picture and Sound Editor

For each day in the month of February, the Committee will be highlighting African-American members, both past and present, and their accomplishments. We look forward to showing the contributions and influences African-Americans have had on the industry.

Name: Kevin Lee

What’s your job? Picture and Sound Editor

List the credits you’re most proud of. “Rumble Fish,” “Scarface,” “The Cotton Club,” “The Untouchables,” “Malcolm X,” “The Wiz,” “Seabiscuit” (documentary), “Jungle Fever,” “A Bronx Tale,” “Sex and The City,” “Hemingway,” “Kojak,” “The Exorcist” (1973), “Save The Children”

Who and what are your inuences and/or mentors? Thinking back, I would say that Maurice Schell, had a big influence on me when I first started working freelance. He showed me the importance of being creative and putting in 110% into my work, especially being a minority in this business. Paul Mazursky showed me that correct preparation, equaled efficiency in accomplishing a job and Francis Ford Coppola, show me that the person on top, can get more done with a crew through kindness and creativity. And last, the understanding I got during my first job in editing was at Titra Sound in New York, which allowed me the rare opportunity to listen to my co-worker’s, one on one stories of their Holocaust Survival and those who lived through Nazi Occupied France and Poland.

What books are you reading, shows are you watching and/or movies you’re excited about? Although I have an extensive library of books, I am not presently reading a book, but working on a screenplay. My favorite books still are “Shogun” and “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”

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What are your Black History Month memories and any cultural or historical impacts on your life? Well, I don’t have any specific Black History Month memories, being that I lived all of my life throughout the years as a Black person in this world. The best memory is getting my first job in the film industry, it changed my life’s direction, also when Barak Obama was elected President. But the disappointment of the union not recognizing Martin Luther King’s birthday as a holiday, or Black History Month. There is still an imbalance of diversity in the industry. When I joined the Editors Union there were about 15 black people between both coasts, that was out of 3,300 members. When I retired, 41 years later, there were still less than 30.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? To think in terms of having a career, not a job, and that it should be a combination of a hobby and either an academic or technical skill, as well as to set my goals and never give up on them.

If you could time travel, when would you go and why? That’s a hard one without effecting my very existence. 🙂

What’s a little-known fact about you? That my older sister was a member of the 60’s singing group, The Chiffons.

What are your hidden (or not so hidden) talents? My love for problem solving and puzzles.

What would be your dream project to work on? Outside of my own feature film and some of the features that I worked on, I think “Avatar” and the “Godfather 2” would have been the dream projects that I missed.

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