Mark Juergens

Series Editor

In the summer of 2007, I met with Shari and Michael to discuss a short job we did together quickly and that I‘ve almost now forgotten. During that initial meeting, they shared some almonds and strong coffee and a few jokes that had me chuckling as they finished each other‘s punch lines.

I immediately liked them.

But during this meeting I became increasingly distracted. I kept glancing behind me at a wall that was covered with 8x11 color photos. There were somewhere around 130 of these photos, taped next to each other in long rows. Each photo was a close up of a different person. Though I recognized Senator Ted Kennedy, the others were strangers.

Finally, Michael took pity on me.

“They‘re the characters in this other project we‘re working on.“

“Excuse me.“

“They‘re the main characters in a series we‘ve been shooting since 2001.“

I think I babbled for a bit. Then I had him repeat himself. But I‘d heard correctly.

Instead of some documentaries, where there might be three main characters, this series would have over a hundred. Instead of capturing everything in a few days, or weeks, or months of shooting, they‘d continued on for years. And though they had clear ideas about the stories the films would tell, they were open to see what direction this mountain of footage would suggest. What they were doing sounded more like an expedition than the usual tidy pitch for a film I felt I‘d already seen.

I liked that their films might be equally unsettling, whether you were a liberal or conservative. And I liked that after years of wandering DC, they hadn‘t grown cynical. In fact, they seemed to be seduced...both by the promise and heartbreak of our country making these halting, painful decisions in the way we do as a nation.

I held my breath and signed on to edit one of these expeditions. But that film slowly fractured, and became three. Then I stayed to cut another, and a few more.

Joining them was a lucky thing for me. They‘ve attracted a wondrous group of collaborators. And the films were the challenge I‘d hoped for. The coffee is still strong and the punchlines often finished by someone you‘d not expect.

Before enlisting in the Camerini-Robertson army, I‘d cut documentaries, episodic tv series, a handful of features and my daughter‘s birthday videos. Some of these projects have been seen on HBO, PBS, Comedy Central and MTV - among other broadcasters - as well as at various film festivals and theaters near you.

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