An old shack sits in the middle of a broad grassy plateau, miles away from the closest town. A thick blanket of smoke pours out of a chimney at the back of the house. The rusty, creaking sound of a door opening breaks the silence. Suddenly, a young man rushes out of the house and disappears from eyesight only to reappear running through a cornfield as he is lightly pelted by the husks, his sneakers kicking up dirt with every step. A man driving an old pick-up truck down a country road alongside the cornfield quickly slams on his breaks as the runner dashes across the road in front of him. Someone stands at a fence on the other side of the field with a mechanical tally counter in their hand. The runner is spied by two girls as he approaches a neighborhood…and by an angry dog, who chases him up a fence. He escapes into the backyard of what appears to be a family barbeque and directly into the grill, catching his shoes on fire. Leaping into the pool to extinguish the flames, the runner continues shirtless across the landscape. He re-enters the shack, now ten hours later. The interior is in fact a small factory with tools and leather materials. An old man who held the tally counter is seated in this room. A group of young men (dressed just like the runner) sit on a bench at the other side of the room, one of them is lacing his sneakers while the others stretch. They all nod affirmingly as the runner enters, walks to the old man and drops the sneakers on the counter. Without saying a word, he looks at the sneakers, caresses the shoes and then wraps them nicely into a box.
This is the epic story which Italian fashion brand Golden Goose presented to promote their 2017 sneaker campaign which was screened at their grand opening in Seoul, South Korea. The large scale and involved storyline led the company to required a proven combination of artists to manifest. Art and talent can find itself in unsuspecting places sometimes; in places perhaps not quite so obvious to the general public. Editors like Aaron Bencid don’t get a lot of facetime in the press or on awards shows. There’s no stereotype of editors driving a Maserati or Porsche with a supermodel at his/her side (although it could happen) but Bencid is a celebrity to Director Marco Prestini and the Italian fashion brand Golden Goose. The editor had worked with this pairing before with great success in fashion films and when they wanted to recreate this with the production Star Back Home, Aaron was a must have on their list. This particular production relied heavily on Bencid’s editing skills. Prestini declares, “I collaborated with Aaron previously for Golden Goose on Three Rivers as well as some other projects and he is always impressive. I knew that the story we wanted to tell for Star Back Home was going the require an immense amount of work in terms of editing and the necessary quick turn-around time would make this even more intense. Bencid is both highly talented and efficient, a winning combination that every director loves. Based on my previous work with him I knew that pressure does not affect him in his work; I knew he was the perfect choice and he most certainly did not disappoint.” Numerous awards vetted this statement including a win for "Best Fashion Video" at Le Book Connection (2017), Gold at Canne’s Young Director’s Award for “Best Film in North America”, official selection at both the Silver Horse International Film Festival (2017) and an official nominee at the Milano Fashion Film Festival (2017) "Best Italian Fashion Film" for Star Back Home.
The rhythm of the editing establishes the intensity of the story and the experience of the protagonist (the runner) with its aggressive, and visceral nature. The pace of the action in the storyline is such that blinking for even a minute could result in the viewer missing part of the experience. It’s exactly this imperative feeling that Prestini wanted Aaron to create for the film. The editor relates, “The most challenging element was to get the film to a point where it not only felt right, but perfect. Every cut had to be extremely dialed in and had to be there to serve the main purpose of excitement and attention. If any cut was cut a bit too late or slightly early we would already skip a beat that we couldn’t afford losing. For example, the dog scene plays in at least 5 shots, you could easily do it in one, but we didn’t consider it would have the same effect. Pace was everything in this ad, it had to flow like a song, if a drum-kick was off beat you would notice that in a heartbeat. Once I had the cut to a point where both client and director were satisfied with, I had a slight sense of relief. However, the audience reaction is crucial; this was what was going to tell me if the film was a success or not. After much support on the web and throughout multiple festivals, I felt Marco and I had accomplished what we dreamed of achieving from its conception.”
There’s a good deal of irony in the fact that Golden Goose’s most popular line is their distressed sneakers. The work of these master-craftsmen in Venice creating a product which is meant to appear raw and gritty is synonymous with the film created to promote this product. Creating something with great skill is not defined by its appearance as shiny and new; in fact, it’s the rejection of this very idea that often give more depth and character to said creation…whether it be clothing or a film. Aaron Bencid feels a kinship with the main character of Star Back Home as he raced towards the finish line to offer something unusual and riveting to an interested and appreciative recipient.