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Stefanie Watkins, Finding Traction Editor

Stefanie has been editing factual shows and films for over seven years, specializing in natural history and science, and working on programming for the BBC, National Geographic, The Travel Channel, ESPN, and PBS. Originally from a small town in the Colorado wilderness, she was raised by a wildlife biologist to have a thirst for science and love of the outdoors. After attaining her B. S. in Environmental Studies/Biology, she marched off into the wild blue Montana yonder to earn a Master of Fine Arts in Science and Natural History Filmmaking.

Since recently moving to the UK, Stefanie has been editing for “Planet Earth Live” on BBC 1, “Sophie Grigson in the Home Counties” on the Travel Channel, and “Spirit of Sport” on ESPN Stars. She also regularly works on-location in Montana as an editor and writer for the Nat Geo Wild series, “America the Wild”, earning a finalist nomination at the 2011 International Wildlife Film Festival for Best Human-Wildlife Interactions for her episode, “Inside a Grizzly Attack”. She spent five years as a lead editor and astronomy producer at NASA, winning Best Promo at the 2007 International Wildlife Film Festival for her editing work on “Destination Earth”. She also edited several one-offs for National Geographic, Montana PBS, and the commended children’s science series “Untamed Science” for Pearson Education.

Quick Facts:

  • Nickname: Steffie, Steffers, Stefanaynay (as dubbed by cameraman Ricky)
  • Home: Bristol UK, originally from Evergreen, Colorado
  • What got you into filmmaking? I always wanted to be either a vet or CGI animator.  After trying both, and not enjoying either, I found the MSU science and natural history graduate program in Montana.  While making student films, I had an epiphany that editing was my true calling and I’ve been stupendously happy ever since.
  • How did you first meet Nikki? I have yet to meet Nikki.  I only know her through my edit suite (aka our back bedroom) here in the UK.
  • Why did you become involved in the film? The lovely Jaime Jacobsen called me up–to my great surprise–asking if I could help edit the Finding Traction trailers and eventually the show.  I immediately said yes.
  • Greatest inspiration: Editing:  Chris Dickens, editor extraordinaire for Slumdog Millionaire, Shaun of the Dead, and Hot Fuzz.  Living:  Aung San Suu Kyi and Oscar Pistorious for their dedication to amazing causes.
  • Proudest moment: Landing my first BBC job as an editor.
  • Biggest fear: Gremlins, ridiculous I know.
  • Favorite food during field production / in the studio:  I love Late July Mojo Green chips when I’m working in Montana.  Unfortunately, I have yet to find them across the Atlantic. 
  • Best adventure:  Taking a 1920s steamboat down the Nile River a la Agatha Christie.
  • 3 Things People Should Know About You:  1. I have a twin sister…and am married to a twin, 2. My favorite film is The Princess Bride, 3. If I wasn’t an editor, I’d be a full-time surfer…if only I were good enough.
  • What’s Next?  I’m currently editing for the landmark series “North America”, due on the Discovery Channel in 2013.  It should be epic!

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