Dia Kontaxis to serve as Editor of One City

School of Communication associate professor and the director of the Motion Picture Program Konstantia "Dia" Kontaxis will serve as editor for One City, the short film currently in production at the Knight Center for International Media. The film explores imminent threats, such as pollution, overpopulation, and encroaching globalization, to contemporary cities around the world. Filming has been competed in Sao Paolo and Mumbai. Other locations include Miami, Florida, Masdar City in the in the United Arab Emirates and Petra, Jordan.

Dia is a filmmaker and media artist who has created films about artists including Carmen Herrera, Anna Valentina Murch and Jose Bedia, among others. Her works have been screened at festivals, museums and galleries around the world including Rome, Venice at the Art Biennale, New York at the Tribeca Film Festival, and in Montreal at Art Fifa.

As a professional film editor, Kontaxis has worked for Israeli film director Amos Kollek, and New York photographer Brenda Ann Kenneally. In a Q&A, she talks about a film editor's role, gives audiences a sneak peak of One City and shares what it is like working with husband Ed Talavera, director of photography of the film:

Q. What is the role of editor in a film?

A. To articulate the vision of the director.

Q. Are you using Final Cut or Avid to edit this film?

A. World Cities is shot on the Canon 5D. We decided on a workflow that allows us for a bit more control of color space by expanding with CineForm HD. The CineForm files are then linked through AMA and transcoded to .mxf files on the Avid Media Composer 5 for editing. So the short answer is Avid MC5.

Q. You're already beginning to review the footage, can you give us a sneak peek of what the audience can expect?

A. We are working one city at the time. Right now I am working on India. There are two personal stories through which we experience life in one of the most densely populated cities in the world, Mumbai.

Q. Is it more challenging to edit this film because your husband Ed Talavera is the director of photography?

A. No it is easier because I know how he thinks and how he shoots. He has this great ability of communicating through film and it is pleasure to edit his work.

Q. As an editor how does your vision make its way into the film?

A. Both [Producer/Director] Sanjeev [Chatterjee] and Ed have done a great job in explaining to me how things are on the ground and I use this information to try and edit these stories with as much respect to the subjects as possible. I think it is very easy to make a film that condemns a way of life when you do not have to live it, it is much harder to do justice to way of life that you have never before experienced.

Q Since you are also a filmmaker, if you had to pick only one, what would you rather do, direct, shoot, or edit?

A. A filmmaker is by definition someone who makes films. In that sense a filmmaker can be a director, editor, cinematographer, sound person or anything else required in the process of making a film. I enjoy equally producing, directing and editing. It ultimately depends on the project. But truly my creative process takes place in the editing room because I get the challenge and satisfaction of seeing a project finally come together.

The first phase of One City is scheduled to premiere in spring 2011.