Uncompromising, versatile, uniquely musical – the film editor Adam Nielsen has helped raise the bar for Danish documentaries for years.
Since graduating as an editor from the National Film School of Denmark in 2003, Nielsen has put his touch on documentaries and fiction films alike, freely switching between the two modes. Story and character development are central to the 39-year-old Danish editor. Genre is incidental.
Earlier in the year Nielsen won the prestigious Roos Award, named after the Danish documentary film pioneer Jørgen Roos. Nielsen was awarded the prize for his ability to reinvent himself for each new project. No snob by any measure, he picks his assignments based on the importance of the story and the people he will be working with. He has been known to say no to a project with lots of money and prestige to work on a no-budget project instead.
Nielsen cuts like he is, the Roos Award statement read: loyal, forthright, emotional – to the bone. His taste is impeccable, but his films are never overdressed. And there is always more to them than technical finesse. He keeps the focus on the characters' development and their interpersonal relationships.
Directors on Adam Nielsen
Andreas Johnsen, "Ai Weiwei The Fake Case":
"I worked with Adam before he got into film school. Even back then he was great about sharing his knowledge. Everything I know about filmmaking, I learned from editors – prime among them Adam. He told me how to film so he could cut the footage afterwards. Adam is the one I back-and-forth with most on a shoot. It was like that making the Ai Weiwei film, too. I had a running dialogue with Adam the whole time. He's open to all possibilities, ready to try things out – and he often turns obstacles into advantages. Working with Adam is always fun and easy."
Kaspar Astrup Schröder, "Rent a Family Inc.":
"We listen to music a lot when we edit. Adam is really good at working with sound. And he shoots from the hip. If he were a cowboy, he'd win every shootout. He's no bullshit. He always aims for the heart and hits his mark every time."
Eva Mulvad, "The Good Life":
"Adam is the best father a film could have. If the director is the mother, the editor is the father. Making a film is like making a baby. You collaborate on the creative process. The film finds its form in the editing room."
Michael Noer, "R", "Northwest":
"He is my toughest critic. I'm always nervous about showing Adam footage. He instantly picks out what's bad about it. But conversely he's also good at getting the best out of the footage and unleashing whatever potential it might have."