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Jamie Selkirk


Jamie Selkirk won an Oscar for his editing of The Return of the King (2003), and followed it by editing King Kong (2005). Selkirk has been involved in every feature Peter Jackson has made to date, and played a part in editing all of them except Forgotten Silver. His other editing work includes boy and a turtle feature The Silent One (1984), and co-editing rugby tale Old Scores (1991).

Selkirk's film career began in the late 1960s, when he worked as a studio camera cabler at the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation in Wellington. He moved on to operating studio cameras, but after a car accident left him incapacitated for a long period, switched to "the more sedentary role" of editing.

As a trainee editor at the NZBC, Selkirk cut newsreels, current affairs, documentaries and dramas, before starting his own post-production company, Mr Chopper.

Before tackling feature films, Selkirk worked on a variety of productions and television commercials. In 1976 he edited two episodes of pioneering TV drama Winners & Losers, the first independent production to screen on primetime television in New Zealand. The first feature he edited was pioneering gay film Squeeze (1980), written and directed by Richard Turner.

In the early 1980s, Selkirk edited Pacific Island tale The Silent One for director Yvonne Mackay, was a sound editor on The Scarecrow, and helped expand historical TV drama A Woman of Good Character to feature-length, with help from a young scriptwriter named Fran Walsh.

Selkirk first worked with Jackson on the director's debut feature, boys own movie Bad Taste (1987). Selkirk supervised the film's complex postproduction, which involved replacing virtually the entire soundtrack, and co-edited the film with Jackson. The final edit ran to 2300 shots, more than the grading computer at the National Film Unit could then handle.

Selkirk performed similiar duties on both the puppet follow-up Meet the Feebles, and Jackson's mainstream breakthrough Heavenly Creatures. For the latter, Selkirk took away a 1995 New Zealand Film and TV award for best editing.

As Jackson's films have expanded in scale and budget, Selkirk has added another bow to his work - producing. He began by associate producing Braindead in 1992 (in which Selkirk has a cameo as a father at the zoo) and was one of the main producers on the ambitious The Frighteners. At that time, The Frighteners shooting schedule ranked as the longest continuous shoot in New Zealand filmmaking history.

Earlier, in 1994, Selkirk had joined with Jackson, Richard Taylor, Tania Rodger, George Port and late producer Jim Booth to form Weta, which would grow to become New Zealand's largest special effects facility. The company would expand to include Wellington's Camperdown Studios, where Selkirk is the facilities manager.

Selkirk was a close collaborator with Jackson on the Lord of the Rings trilogy. He served as supervising editor and sounding board on the first two films, and helped produce them. He then became the main editor of what is long likely to remain one of the most complex editing jobs undertaken in New Zealand: The Return of the King (2003), whose extended edition lasts 251 minutes.

For his editing work on Return of the King, Selkirk won an Academy Award, and an Eddie from the American Cinema Editors society. He followed it by editing Jackson's three hour, multi-million dollar remake of King Kong (2005).

Selkirk's other credits as editor include science fiction thriller Typhon's People (1993) and rugby tale Old Scores (1991), both made for television, and underworld thriller Should I Be Good? (1985). In 1998, Selkirk produced Larger Than Life, a short film which was a precursor to 2002 spider movie Eight Legged Freaks - both films directed by New Zealander Ellory Elkayem.