Editing a film is much like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. However, unlike a puzzle, a film does not have pieces that fit perfectly into each other; the outcomes are endless, and it takes a true mastermind to look at those many pieces and figure out the most visually stunning and cohesive result. That is where Jing Wang comes in. When she opens that puzzle box, she sees the pieces and an instruction manual. For her, editing is a step-by-step process; first reading the manual, then organizing the pieces by shape and size, then selecting the most suitable pieces to connect one by one. Finally, after hours of searching for just the right outcome, she takes a look at her masterpiece. Those endless pieces come together to make a dramatic work of art, and as an in-demand editor in both her home country of China and abroad, Wang is a one-of-a-kind artist.
Audiences around the world have seen Wang’s work in many acclaimed productions, including The Right Way, Burgeoning, Substitute, and many more. Her most recent film, Fear Not, promises to follow in the same path as her previous work, seemingly destined for international success. It touches on an impactful ongoing issue in the United States in a thoughtful and nuanced way.
The story of Fear Not is about a Mennonite teacher, Goldie, who is forced to carry a gun in school after her husband, a Kansas state senator, helps pass a law mandating all teachers train to be armed in their classes. This creates an internal conflict for Goldie, as Mennonites have traditionally been pacifists and have refused to fight in wars and own guns, but many live in areas where people are very pro-gun and have had to shift their mindsets. Tackling a film that deals with both religious concerns and the gun control debate was intriguing for Wang, who knew the moment she watched footage of the film that she wanted to be the one to edit such a unique and beautiful story.
“The story really had an impact on me. Religion and guns are two very different things, but they are seemingly intertwined in the United States. People in small towns are very religious but the right to bear arms is very important to them. Fear Not takes a look at that. When you fully understand what Goldie stands for in her religion, you will understand why she is so against the gun policy. Her religion is also the power for her against her husband and against the teachers at school. It's also her faith in religion that causes her to cry loudly at the end hoping to be heard by God,” said Wang.
Before Wang began work, she researched the Mennonite culture. She wanted to better understand the main character to know what to reflect while editing. Once she found she had a good comprehension of how to portray Goldie, she began to organize the endless hours of footage. After the rough cut, she felt that the entire film looked very long and boring. To combat this, she and the director discussed the conflict and emotion between Goldie and her husband, deleting a lot of scenes in order to make the story more engaging. Her editing reflected the inner change of the main character, emphasizing the climax of the movie.
“I really enjoy editing this film and watching all the footage. It was almost like doing math, deciding the right formula to get the answer. There is a large amount of material for me to really be inspired by in my editing. The actors have many subtle expressions that need to be paid attention to in the storytelling. I can’t wait to share it all with audiences everywhere,” said Wang.
Fear Not is currently in post-production but keep an eye out for its release.