Katrina Taylor ’04 wins Emmy for Outstanding Editing

The Elon alumna served as the lead editor of “Wildland,” a 2018 film that examines an Oregonian firefighting crew and the challenges it faced during a recent fire season.

For her role as lead editor of “Wildland,” a 2018 documentary examining a small wildland firefighting crew in Oregon, Elon University alumna Katrina Taylor ’04 collected her first Emmy Award last week.

Taylor and her fellow “Wildland” collaborators were recognized with an Emmy for Outstanding Editing on a feature documentary at the 40th annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards ceremony on Sept. 24 in New York. It was one of two Emmys awarded to the film, which also won for Outstanding Cinematography.

Katrina Taylor ’04

Directed by Alex Jablonski and Kahlil Hudson, the 77-minute film examines a small firefighting crew and the challenges the group endured during a recent fire season in Grants Pass, Oregon. The documentary premiered last fall as part of “Independent Lens,” a weekly television series airing on PBS presenting documentary films made by independent filmmakers.

To watch a trailer of “Wildland,” click here. The film is available on Amazon Prime, YouTube and Google Play.

Taylor said she cherished the chance to work on the material, which delves into the crew’s daily struggles and the dangers the firefighters encountered.

“Working on the film ‘Wildland’ gave me an opportunity to do what I love best – crafting complex and intimate stories that bring an audience to an experience in a new way,” Taylor said. “One of my favorite parts of the process was spending time in the edit room finding the cadence and language that best suited the material.”

As the project’s lead editor, Taylor compared her role editing the documentary to that of a writer, crafting a story from hundreds of hours of footage. “My job was to determine what footage was most powerful, assemble these moments in a way that created metaphor and drama while staying true to the experience,” she said.

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“I’m proud that the final version of ‘Wildland’ was able to balance the intensity of this line of work with a more nuanced and complex portrait of firefighting,” she added.

Taylor’s professional work has regularly garnered accolades, including her efforts on the documentary “A Year with Betty Gold,” which won Best Editing at the 2018 Madrid Film Festival. The film was directed by J McMerty ’00, who oversees the Elon in Los Angeles program.

She was an editor for season 2 of the Netflix Series “The Confession Tapes” produced by A24 and is currently editing a feature documentary with executive producers Wavelength Productions and Chicago Media Project.

Her previous roles include editing the virtual reality film “Awavena” (2018 Sundance Film Festival, World Economic Forum, Venice Biennale). Additionally, she was the editor for the feature documentary “Boone,” which hosted its world premiere at the 2016 South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival as well as the Berlin Film Festival, and was awarded several jury awards during its extensive film festival run.

In addition to her professional roles, Taylor is an active mentor and co-founder of the Women’s Elon in Entertainment Empire (WEEE), an initiative that supports Elon alumnae working in Los Angeles and Elon undergraduates seeking careers in the entertainment industry. “It is vital in the media industry to have a network of support for women to excel creatively and professionally, and I’m excited for WEEE to provide that community for Elon students and alumnae,” Taylor said.

With her first Emmy Award in hand, the Los Angeles-based editor took a moment to reflect on her accomplishment – a process that began in the basement of McEwen Communications Building.

“It’s amazing thinking back to when I attended Elon and how much time I spent working day and night in the edit labs,” Taylor said. “Since then, I’ve continued to fall in love with the process of filmmaking. To be able to work in such a creative medium and be recognized with an Emmy is an incredible feeling.”