Final Cut announces this week that acclaimed independent feature film editor Jim Helton has joined the international roster of editors for commercial, branded and longform work. Jim Helton is longtime friend, collaborator and editor for independent filmmaker and Radical Media director Derek Cianfrance, known most notably for his features Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond the Pines.
Jim Helton, a freelance editor, composer and consummate New Yorker since 1999, was born an army brat in Germany, before going on to study film at University of Colorado Boulder at his Colonel father’s behest, where he met fellow filmmaker, a young Cianfrance. The two went on to become fast friends and frequent collaborators over the subsequent 20 plus years. “I was living in my parents basement working at a video store, and teaching myself Avid cutting low-budget trailers at night until Derek called and said, ‘You need to quit and you need to come to New York’,” recalled Helton. Once in New York, Jim made a living, and increasingly, a name for himself as an editor of independent documentaries, television shows and in his first professional collaborations with Cianfrance since college, Brother Tied and Shots In The Dark. “Derek and I collaborated to make a short film for Chrysler that went on to win us a million bucks, which would go towards funding Blue Valentine.” And the rest, as they say, is history.
“As an editor, it’s my job to serve the work, find the structure, but I also have to read the room, the collaborators, and act as a partner, counsellor and an advisor, to help them birth their creative vision. It’s a lot of fun.” said Helton of his role in the edit suite. “I’ve always wanted to make films,” Helton went on to say, “and as an editor, I’ve found a place, a way to do that.”
“Jim is an incredible feature editor; his ability to understand a narrative and tease out the beats of a story are remarkable. His love of film and the craft is infectious, it was clear that his energy and joy would be a wonderful presence at Final Cut,” said Final Cut President Stephanie Apt. “We’re really looking forward to being able to bring that talent and passion to our clients, agencies and other incredible directors. I can’t wait to see where we can go together.”
“The chance to be at Final Cut - a place that is of, for, and with editors, is really exciting,” Helton said of joining the storied editorial house.