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Jeff L. Lieberman directed a documentary about Nina Simone titled The Amazing Nina Simone.
Hear about Jeff’s background, how he came to create a film about Nina Simone and his reactions to the Nina Simone biopic.
Jeff and I had a beautiful conversation about his first film, Re-Emerging: the Jews of Nigeria. In that part of our discussion, which isn’t included in this interview only because there wasn’t enough time to add everything, Jeff shared a strategy that he used as a new filmmaker. I found it SUCH a smart idea that I wanted to share it here:
“As a young filmmaker, I reached out to a lot of editors that I really respected and admired based on documentaries that I’d recently seen. I said: “I’d love for you to work on this. I have no budget but tell me what you think.” One editor wrote back that it was impossible to take on unpaid or low paid work. In response, I asked if she would consider looking at my cut and giving me feedback and then I’d pay for her time. She said: “Yes!”
I knew how to push the buttons for editing but needed someone else’s smarts to come in and say: this is not working, this is extraneous, this is boring, this is perfect, this should come earlier. We went through the process about 3-4 times and I was so indebted to her. She could look at my piece and give me all of this know-how that really made the film so much better. Instead of paying for 100 hours of her time, I paid for 10, which was affordable and made the film possible.”
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