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Meet the Editor - Fiorella Santaniello

Fiorella Santaniello is an emerging editor whose talent shines through her work on film and TV series such as Passenger (ITV) and The Power (Amazon). With a keen eye for detail and a passion for beauty and harmony, Fio has the ability to find clever and creative solutions to complex edits.


Q: How did you get into editing?

A: During my second year of university in Italy, I started with the classic home videos and became more and more fascinated with the process of creating emotional flow through the connection and juxtaposition of picture and sound. This is why, at the very beginning of my career I was keen to become a Trailer Editor. It was not until I attended Bournemouth University that my interest for storytelling grew and I developed an appreciation for the role that editing has in achieving the best emotional outcome.

After receiving my degree with honours, I edited two low budget feature films before moving to London to pursue a career in film and TV. Since 2016, I have worked as an Assistant and Assembly Editor on HETV shows such as Trust, Dracula and Brave New World, while also editing a number of short films. I finally got my break as an Editor in 2022 while working on the TV show The Power (Amazon / Sister Pictures). Following that, I was recommended for another of their shows called Passenger (Sister Pictures), of which I edited three episodes.

Q: What were your career aspirations when you were growing up?

A: I didn’t grow up having a clear idea of what I wanted to do or be in life. I seemed to have a fairly equal aptitude for all school subjects, with a tangible personal preference for linguistic and humanistic studies. During high school, I developed a strong interest in acting which led me to attend a theatre school for three years. It wasn’t until a bit later that I realised I wanted to be part of the film-making process behind the cameras. However, it took some time to figure out what department would interest me the most and how I could make that aspiration come true.

I have always been very passionate about films and TV shows, and I always found the human mind and the psychology of the characters a fascinating topic to explore. It’s no wonder that I watch a lot of true crime documentaries and psychological thrillers. If I wasn’t in the film industry I would probably explore journalism or criminology.

Q: What gets you out of bed in the morning?

A: Firstly, coffee. There is no reason to get out of bed if not for my morning coffee ritual.

On a deeper level, I consider myself a seeker of beauty, harmony and freeform experimentation. This is why my love for the creative arts carries on in other forms, including photography, painting and occasionally pottery wheel throwing. If I had to explore a different field of the film industry, it would most likely be cinematography.

I thrive in environments that are exciting, challenging and inspiring and am always looking for new experiences to better myself as a human being. I am an eager traveller, I love discovering new places and understanding the cultures and people behind them.

Q: What’s your favourite part of the job?

A: I love that editing allows me to portray my own empathy on the screen. By giving my own perspective on the process, making infinite small and big decisions, weighing each cut carefully. I always chase the best dramatic and empathetic results to engage the audience and myself. It is a special and powerful way of bringing people together by telling unique stories, in a world that constantly needs more human connections.

Q: What’s your greatest achievement / most important step in your career?

A: My greatest achievement so far has been making the jump from assisting to editing. It is an incredibly difficult transition for all prospective Editors to make and I am very proud of how far I’ve come in my career. I’m also incredibly grateful to the supportive people who have helped me along the way.

Q: Looking back at all the films/projects you’ve made, what lessons have you learned?

A: Every project is different and even if you have a certain set of rules or workflows in place, they all might need a different approach. An important thing to remember is that, despite your contribution being fundamental to the film, it is not “your” film.

Editing, like film-making in general, is a collaborative process that requires listening and good communication, being open to trying out ideas that you might not agree with (even if you feel strongly about them). Sometimes you might be certain that an idea will not work but the truth is that you won’t know for sure until you try.

Always be open to different points of view, be patient and politically neutral, while also finding ways to show your own passion for the project. Do not hide your real opinions just to please someone and don’t use every option just because it is there or because of the time that it took to “get that crane shot”. It is important to stay unbiased about the conditions in which rushes were filmed and always make emotion a priority.

Q: Most valuable skill?

A: I think my most valuable skill is being both fast and reliable. This is not to say that I rush the process at all, but that I have a good eye for assessing what will work and what won’t.

I will always watch all the rushes but if I am required to make a quick edit to reassure the Director that they have everything, I will do a very good job in a short time. I will then go back to the scene to re-evaluate the cut, make sure I have used the best takes and explore other options if needed. I am also able to effectively evaluate the footage and re-invent a scene from scratch.

Q: Favourite project?

A: My favourite project to work on was Trust (Cloud 8 Films / FX). It was the first HETV job where I was able to prove myself and was quickly promoted from 2nd to 1st Assistant Editor within two months of starting.

It was a project which challenged me and made me realise how capable I am in a cutting room, how I could support a number of Editors and see the show through to the very end. Trust taught me you don’t really know what you are capable of until you take a risk and step up your game.

Q: Favourite memory of working on The Power?

A: The people. I love creating the edit but the part that I prefer about any job is the people I get to work with. The team on The Power (Amazon / Sister Pictures) specifically was one of the best teams I ever worked with and it became a family very quickly. Being on the project for three years, we had a lot of team socials and I cherish those memories dearly, particularly crazy-golf and karaoke nights.

Q: What’s your next project?

A: I will be working on another TV show for Sister Pictures from April 2024 and then looking for my next challenge. It’s been a slow year for the industry but there looks like some interesting projects on the horizon.

Q: What are your future goals?

A: I would like to keep progressing in HETV productions but I would enjoy taking on indie films as well. I would love to work on a well produced psychological thriller or true crime drama.

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