Partnerships are the best when creatives who mesh well together decide to venture into the world of art together. Emilie and Niles found each other professionally and after working together once they immediately knew they would make a great team.
I had the chance to talk to the editing duo about their previous work and their new business partnership, Kid Sister.
Emilie told me that she always wanted to be a filmmaker. From a young age, she made films with her father’s VHS video camera and edited the film on windows movie maker. She filmed her family’s vacations and made music videos with her father’s equipment.
“To be honest, I started when I was twelve years old filming and editing with my dad. I never really thought about it. It was just a decision I had to make when figuring out what I wanted to study. It was always movies,”
Fast forward several projects later including the video for Kali Uchis’ “Tyrant,” Emilie ended up working on Cardi B’s “Press” video. I asked her how that came about. She explained she loved the director Jora Frantzis’ work and decided to contact her through her website.
“One day I just got a call from her and she said that she has this music video coming up. I was in Pennsylvania for a feature and I was like, I can’t miss this chance. I took a flight and then I went to work with her — it was our first time working together.”
Niles’ passion for filmmaking began in high school. He worked on a film project for his production class and the movie made it into a film festival in his hometown of Detroit.
“I got to see this thing I worked on, on such a tiny screen with an audience that laughed and reacted to it. It was just like magic. At that moment, I was like ‘This is what I am going to do.’”
Niles went on to work on a film titled Virile with Moses Sumney. The film is Sumney’s directional debut and explores the duality of masculinity with femininity with backdrops of wheat field landscapes and that are contrasted with the inside of a meat factory.
““THE VIDEO CAME ABOUT BECAUSE WHITNEY JACKSON, A ROCK STAR PRODUCER, REACHED OUT TO ME. I KNEW MOSES’ MUSIC, I’D BEEN TRACKING HIS CAREER FOR YEARS. BUT IT WAS REALLY LUCKY BECAUSE WE ACTUALLY HIT IT OFF AND NOW WE’RE HOMIES, WHICH IS ALWAYS A GREAT PERK FROM THE PROCESS”
How Emilie and Niles Meet
But how did Emilie and Niles end up joining forces? In the very LA way of mutual connections.
Niles initially met Emilie through Cloé Bailly, a French director he was working with. The two were making a short film and when Cloé went back to France she connected him with Emilie.
Cloé told Niles that Emilie was an editor interested in moving to L.A. and asked Niles if he’d be willing to meet her to discuss the editing scene. Emilie reminisced:
“I QUIT MY JOB. I BROKE UP WITH MY GIRLFRIEND AND I JUST CAME HERE — AND THANKS TO CLOE I MET NILES.”
Niles remembered their first meeting, Emilie was adamant about working in L.A. as an editor and pitched her work.
“WE MET FOR PASTA ONE NIGHT AND SHE WAS JUST ASKING ABOUT WHAT IT’S LIKE BEING IN LA. SHE WAS REALLY PERSISTENT, I KNEW IT WAS SOMETHING SHE WAS READY TO COMMIT TO.”
A year later Niles recommended Emilie for a job on a music video. He was initially supposed to work on two music videos, but couldn’t complete the first so he referred Emilie to the team.
“SHE DID THE FIRST VIDEO AND SHE COMPLETELY CRUSHED IT. IT WAS CLEAR FROM THE GET GO THAT OUR STYLES AND WORK SENSIBILITIES INSTANTLY ALIGNED. FROM THEN ON WE DECIDED TO WORK TOGETHER.”
Emilie and Niles work on K-12
The next project the two worked on together was the feature film K-12. They were looking for a project, and they were determined to figure out their workflow together.
“We got hit up by this thing, where the budget wasn’t great but we were allowed to dictate the pace of how things got done,” said Niles.
The 96-minute movie accompanying Melanie Martinez’s sophomore album of the same name marks Melanie saw huge success. It was Martinez’s feature directorial debut.
Emilie and Niles edited the feature film in about four months and worked together in a unique way that defines the success of their partnership. Niles explained their work relationship and the strategies they use to get things done.
“I’ve always worked alone and I know Emilie worked alone. There’s this thing when you are kind of by yourself and you might think to yourself, ‘Does this suck? Do I even know what I am working on right now?’ And the process on this one was amazing because we would hit walls on our sequences, and we would be like, ‘Hey, could you take my sequence for the day?’
“When you got the sequence back, you saw a fresh set of eyes. And anytime you hit any kind of hurdle or roadblock, you have someone who you can lean on, who can give you a fresh perspective at all times. We found out that we were so efficient.”
Emilie also expressed what it means to have great work and editing chemistry.
“We have no ego. It’s so amazing to bring each other new ideas. And it’s so amazing having to show it to anyone else… You have someone next to you that you trust, you know what I mean? That have fresh eyes.”
It seems natural that these two would continue their work together. So when they announced their new partnership, it came as no surprise.
Emilie and Niles create Kid Sister
Emilie and Niles were discussing starting a business for quite a while. But what pushed them to actually go through with it was more of a circumstantial occurrence.
As a business, Kid Sister could write off equipment, supplies, etc., that they otherwise could not do as individuals working alone. Niles explained:
“In December 2017, we connected with her [the accountant] and she set up our business, and we were really just forced to figure out a name and figure things out without really knowing. I don’t know, we kind of did everything backwards. We bought an LLC before we decided anything. We are just discovering what it means.”
The way things worked out for the duo, is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, Emilie explained why it’s better, and a core part of the philosophy of the business.
“That’s the amazing part about it. We don’t know what it’s going to become. Because it’s going to grow, but we don’t know what it’s going to be.”
Even the name wasn’t immediate. Kid Sister was the result of several lists of names, that Emilie and Niles went through in a sort of trial and error way. Niles recalled,
“Like an ophthalmologist test. This one or this one? I don’t even think Kid Sister was on our list.”
The Future of Kid Sister
The reason why they stuck with Kid Sister is that it emphasized the intention behind their partnership. They aren’t looking to compete with big editing firms. Instead, they’re looking for collaboration. Niles expressed,
“We want to work in collaboration so that it doesn’t feel like a competition for those people. So, that it feels like another creative outlet. We are like the “Kid Sister” of the industry.”
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The duo is also looking forward to working on more feature films and TV series. Their unique style of editing is primed to be able to complete large projects in short periods of time, and they’re only getting better. Emilie expressed,
“I think it would be interesting as a duo to cut episodes. Because usually in a TV series, more than one editor cuts different episodes. So I think us two could definitely cut an entire show, by just sharing it and working together.”
While Niles and Emilie are open to working on any genre of content, they are particularly interested in delving into drama and horror. Niles said,
“We will always do commercial work, but a real passion lies in feature work… and Em and I are attracted to the same kind of movies. […] It would be really fun to do a horror movie, like a Midsommar, where we explore the tension and what do these choices mean for the audience.”
Whatever the project, it’s obvious that Emilie and Niles’ work speaks for itself in terms of skill, talent, and efficiency. Here at Kulture Hub, we can’t wait to see what they’ll do next.