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A Sad Loss

The film industry suffered a painful loss this week. Anthony Minghella, the talented and much-revered director and screenwriter of films such as Cold Mountain and The English Patient, passed away on Tuesday after a brain hemorrhage. He was 54 and had recently finished the adaptation of "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" book series as a film and television series.Mr. Minghella had worked closely with Walter Murch during the filming of Cold Mountain and we were fortunate to have such an inspiring person work with us to create one of our favorite books here at Peachpit/New Riders: Behind the Seen: How Walter Murch Edited Cold Mountain Using Apple's Final Cut Pro and What This Means for Cinema.

I love Minghella's story in the book's foreword, in which he compares Murch and his editing crew with a clever group of classmates Minghella referred to as the "Group Seven" during his days as a young playwright. Working with Murch and directing a film on the scale of Cold Mountain using Final Cut (considered strictly an "indie NLE" at the time) made a profound impression on him.  

"It can only be a matter of time before digital projection becomes the norm and, beyond that, albeit on an approaching horizon, is a method of digital capture which truly competes with the pointillist mysteries created by film chemistry. Parallel with these changes—and equally profound—is the implicit democratization of the movie-making process produced by the size, cost, and portability of capturing devices. All this, coupled with the facility to make visual effects, sound effects, picture edits, and music on the same lightweight and mobile machine—and  the opportunity to stream that information on the Internet—will surely alter what all of us understand by filmmaking."

We at Peachpit are especially saddened, so soon after our own dear colleague Marjorie Baer's passing. Not only did she acquire the book for Peachpit/New Riders but she worked tirelessly to ensure that it adhere to the same high standards and class belonging to these two film greats.

There is a very nice posting about Mr. Minghella from one of our readers here: