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Editor Oliver Harwood: The mastermind behind the unfolding story on screen
Known for his work on multiple award-winning films, Oliver Harwood's editing skill draws us into the stories of films like "Tenterhooks," "Share," "Waste" and many more.

While audiences will never get to see what's on the cutting room floor, hundreds of takes remain there and never make it into a film's final cut. The film's editor must have a keen eye, exemplary natural instincts, and incisive timing when it comes to the decision making process of what ultimately makes it into the project and how the scenes unfold-- and that's what acclaimed editor Oliver Harwood brings to the table.

Harwood's uniquely honed ability to create a specific feeling-state within audiences using timing and coverage selection has resulted in dozens of award-winning films, including SXSW's Jury Recognition Award Winner "Share" Madisen Beaty ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button") and the ever-popular fan favorite "Tenterhooks".

"Tenterhooks" director Ana Liza Muravina says, "[Oliver] was very much my creative partner in the process… he is one of the most talented artists of his generation and I was thrilled to have him on the team."

With the ability to tap into a director's brain almost symbiotically, Harwood's talents are not just limited to one specific genre, though, interestingly enough, both "Share" and "Tenterhooks" do share a strange, but common thread: a poignant, intentional lack of dialogue.

When it comes to this particular editing style, which can surely throw even the most seasoned editor, Harwood is nothing short of a true mastermind. "I have found that, in situations where there is little dialogue, studying the actors' performances become all the more important in order to express a character's thought process and emotions," Harwood explains.

"Takes were watched again and again as I searched for what I refer to as a 'give.' A 'give' is something in the actor's performance that gives away how they felt about something without having to say anything... These could be moments like when the actor chooses to break eye contact with the person who they're talking to, or narrows their eyes slightly, or the camera goes to a close up. 'Gives' can also be taken out of context and used to emphasize certain moments and communicate without the need for dialogue."

Harwood finds brilliant 'gives' in the film "Tenterhooks," a gripping thriller starring Elise Silver ("Entropy," "My Own Private Chinatown") about intuition and the dangers of technology. In this film, a woman gets into her Uber, but she immediately begins to feel uncomfortable as the driver fails to respond to her attempt at conversation. Sensing something is amiss, the woman requests that her driver stop and let her out, and, after a long silence, he slows down and stops the car. The woman attempts to open the door, but it's locked. Now panic-stricken, she quickly turns to face the driver, but can only meet his gaze in the rear view mirror. The two lock eyes, and eventually the door unlocks with a startling click. Quick as a flash, she opens the door, steps out of the car, and briskly walks home.

Once home, the woman, still on edge, calms down a bit and tries to get some sleep; however, it's not long until she is awoken by a security light shining outside of her window. Pressed up against the window, she investigates with caution and then, seemingly out of nowhere, a hand shatters the glass and grabs her.

Terrified, she awakens to find herself safe in bed. Realizing the attack was just a dream, the woman settles back down to sleep. Then the security light outside of her window flashes on.

The film, thanks largely to Harwood's impeccable editing, keeps viewers on the edge of their seats throughout.

When asked, Harwood explains how he accomplished such a tense thematic environment. "Simplicity was the name of the game on this one. You don't need fancy effects or razor sharp dialogue to get your audience engaged. Tension can be at its most effective when its at its most simple and relatable. One of the most important things to keep in mind while editing something like this is get your audience to place themselves in the situation."

In "Tenterhooks," Harwood uses refined and progressively increasing intensity to keep audiences in the moment, with their hearts in their throats.

"Since this one is more about telling a simple but tense story rather than an intellectual parable, the audience's attention must be held by a constant yet slow increase in intensity, otherwise you run the risk of someone in the audience thinking about what they are going to have for dinner that night rather than concentrating on the film."

An editor second to none, Oliver Harwood continues to piece together award-winning film after award-winning film. Edited by Harwood, the film "Waste," starring Luke Baines ("Saving Mr. Banks") won Best Female Director at the Hollywood Shorts Film Festival, while "A Meditation," which was produced by and stars Harold Perrineau ("28 Days Later," "Romeo and Juliet"), took home six awards internationally.

Muravina adds, "Oliver has a unique sensibility that allows him to see both minute detail and the bigger picture at the same time. This is a critical skill for an editor… he is willing to experiment and make unconventional artistic choices in order to mine the best out of the material. He is a formidable talent."

With a deep understanding of film and cinema, Harwood is a treasure amongst editors in the industry, and will be known and celebrated for years to come.

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