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Our Diverse 100: Meet Kelly Matsumoto, the editor elevating other female editors

Editor Kelly Matsumoto.
Editor Kelly Matsumoto. (Courtesy of Kelly Matsumoto)

Nominated twice by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films for her work with the “Fast and the Furious” franchise, Matsumoto’s credits include “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra,” “Van Helsing” and “The Mummy” franchise. This Q&A is part of a special series examining diversity in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Read more profiles here.

As someone who’s spent much of your career working on what are stereotypically thought of as male-oriented movies, do you think being a woman has influenced the way you edit?

I think, whether you’re a man or a woman or a person of color, you do bring your life experience to it. If you have compassion, you might say, “Let’s go to the character beat here because that’s more important than the action beat.” I thought it was great that half of the editors who were nominated this year were female [Margaret Sixel for “Mad Max: Fury Road” and Maryann Brandon and Mary Joe Markey for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”], and they did movies that you’d consider traditionally sort of male, action-oriented films. I love that. It’s good to show that, just like if you’re a man it doesn’t mean you can’t do emotional dramas, if you’re a woman you can do different types of movies too.

What’s been your proudest moment in your career so far?

“Fast & Furious 6.” For me, working with Justin [Lin], seeing an Asian American director direct something that you might think was the domain of a white male, and he did it so well and he brought such a diverse cast to the screen and it had heart — I was really glad to be a part of bringing that to life.

What was your reaction to this year’s repeat of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy and the conversation that ensued?

The thing that’s great about it is it got people talking and people are aware of it …  so things will hopefully open up. It sounds like the academy is interested in doing that and just making it relevant to everyone. Not taking away from anyone, but I think you can just be more inclusive and reflect society and show diversity.

From your own experience, how do you think the film industry could increase diversity in its ranks?

For me, if there are women that are interested, I like to bring them up too — not tokenism but just bringing up qualified people who may not get a chance sometimes. I think it’s so important to get that diversity behind the scenes so that we can bring whatever experiences we have. I hope that they cast more with diversity in mind too because it’s so influential when you see that. It helps people to visualize that things are possible. If you keep showing the same stereotypes, that’s what people have in their heads.

What would it mean to you if you were invited to join the academy?

I would just love that. Even though I love the movies I work on, the action-adventure kind of stuff, I’m always aware that we’re not typically considered the elite of the group. And I love all movies. It would be fantastic.

READ MORE: Here are 100 people in Hollywood who could help fix the Academy’s diversity problem


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