Regardless of the medium, premier talent is recognized in the world of entertainment. That doesn’t always translate into notoriety among the general public. Andy Shen has become a commonly uttered name among the Indie film community elites, though not as much among movie celebrity websites; that’s due to the fact that Shen’s work is done off camera and focuses on making other look good. An increasingly in-demand editor among directors, Andy Shen’s popularity is owed to more than his excellent skills; his creative vision has amplified and even resurrected more than a few films. An ability to envision what “could be” and then manifest this through sheer editing talent is a proclivity that few editors possess with such precision as Andy Shen. Every positive relationship challenges one to become better through association, it’s this concept which has led so many filmmakers to enlist Shen to the benefit of their productions.
Director Bide Yuan attended the premier of Outdooring and was so impressed that he immediately contacted Shen about the possibility of editing his film From the Ocean. Confident that the footage he shot for From the Ocean was compelling, he was concerned about the imbalance between its long contemplative shots and the fervent argument scenes of this realtionship story. Certain that the same extraordinary editing master who crafted Outdooring could apply his skill to this film, the director convinced Shen to undertake the months of extensive work that From the Ocean required. The results would not only earn praise for the film but also garner Shen Best Editing Awards from the International Independent Film Awards and India’s Crown Wood International Film Festival.
From the Ocean stars Robert Factor, Tanya Raisa (of CBS’s Primetime Emmy Nominated series CSI: NY), Sol Mason, and Elena Nicorici in a story of the trials of love which touch us all. A tragic tale of love and life lost, the rhythm of the film owes much of its final result to the editor’s attentive and emotional touch. One of the primary elements of the film is the connection of the characters to nature; a facet which Andy Shen subtly sculpted. He relates, “The juxtaposition of story elements taking place on the island and in the city were something I saw as key to communicating the proper emotion. That shouldn’t be too obvious to the viewer. When Rachel and Samuel are on the island, I added a lot of sound design like bird sounds and the ocean. This created an extra texture to the scene and a sense of harmony that accompanies romance. Yes, the pacing of the scenes are important but it’s quite often what you don’t focus on thatlures you into the feelings which the storyteller wants to impart.” From creating temporary scores that inspired the film’s composer to crafting montages and pacing for the film, Shen’s intuitive guidance of From the Ocean was paramount in the realization of its touching final form.
Rudy Lopez, director of One of these Days, was also compelled to enlist Andy Shen after seeing his benevolent effect on other films. Convinced by the moving script, Shen signed on as editor for this tale of a young Latino musician named Manny (played by Maynor Alvarado of Golden Globe Winning Series Grey’s Anatomy and Primetime Emmy Nominated NCIS: Los Angeles) who finds himself choosing between pursuing his personal dreams and the needs of his family. Together, Lopez and Shen have created a film equally extraordinary in heart and honesty in communicating the social/financial struggles of today’s generation. Even though the editor is neither Latin or American, Shen’s ability to present the inner turmoil of the main character’s in the story belies this fact. One of These Days in an American story for the 2010s.
A documentary in which production is halted due to the central character abandoning the project is every filmmaker’s nightmare; this is also when In Pursuit of the Sun director Yubo Wang reached out to Andy Shen to administer the filmmaking equivalent of CPR to this film. The documentary tells the story of one man’s trek across part of the United States in hopes of spreading the message of international peace and understanding. Ironically, filming was halted when the subject of the film left the production over an argument. Rather than focusing on this conflict, Shen brought a fresh perspective which produced a story that instead focused on themes like family and generational perspectives. While not the original story that was conceived, In Pursuit of the Sun still achieves the positive and enlightened tone to which the filmmakers aspired.
Even amidst the current pandemic, Andy Shen finds himself sought after by filmmakers and able to work in his editing studio. Upcoming projects for the editor includes The Orphan of Asia, a documentary about a ten-year-old boxing competitor in war ravaged Myanmar, the documentary film Frozen Fertilityabout reproductive rights in China, and the mystery/crime television series Albatross. The disparate subject matter of these productions will all have the unifying skill of Andy Shen guiding them to what will surely be captivating viewing. A focus on humanity is the fingerprint of Shen’s career which has become a part of stories from all across the globe.