Alumni Spotlight: Sabrina Gimenez, B.A. '13

Cinema Studies Spotlight: Sabrina Gimenez, B.A. '13

Story By Kylie Elliot, Class of '18

Sabrina Gimenez graduated with a degree in Cinema Studies and English from the University of Oregon in 2013. She was originally an English major because the Cinema Studies major was not yet offered when she started at the UO. “When [the major] became available, I was very interested in the production aspect of film and how academic theory can be applied to that process of filmmaking,” so Gimenez ended up doubling in Cinema Studies and English. While at the UO, Gimenez built a strong relationship with Dr. Kathleen Rowe Karlyn, UO professor emerita and founding director of Cinema Studies, whose instruction still impacts Gimenez today. Karlyn “continues to shape my understanding of cinema and television through a critical, analytical and intersectional feminist lens.” Gimenez also became drawn to editing while a sophomore at the UO and from her experiences “began to understand exactly how much control I would have in increasing representation on screen from the editing bay.” 

Photo of Cinema Studies Alum Sabrina GimenezAbout breaking into the film industry Gimenez says, “when I was first interviewing for AE [assistant editor] jobs, it was tough to find balanced post production spaces that had equal representation. As I met and spoke to more womxn of color editors and AEs, I was finding that they were all getting pigeonholed in this industry. . . .either they weren’t being offered opportunities to edit or much worse [were] being overlooked on purpose.” Gimenez adds, “I’ve been fortunate enough to work on several projects that value diversity in film and TV, where opportunities are given and recognized and marginalized identities are mentored, seen, and heard. I wish I knew more Latinx editors (like myself) and AEs that got regular work, but through the power of networking and transparency, we can see more of those slots filled with qualified people who deserve those chances after being overlooked for so long.” 

Gimenez began working at Trailer Park in 2014 as an assistant editor and production coordinator and was promoted to editor in 2016. The office mainly focuses on theatrical trailers and TV spots, primarily for Disney, Pixar, and Warner Bros. “Trailer Park really prides itself on finding unique and forward-thinking talent to produce and create unforgettable content.” In this fast-paced industry where content is quickly digested and forgotten, Gimenez says that Trailer Park’s mission is to “create successful marketing campaigns that also give you something to think about.” Gimenez was the editor on the team at Trailer Park that worked on Zootopia’s theatrical campaign, which went on to become the Silver Winner for Best Theatrical TV Campaign at the CLIO Key Arts Awards in October of 2016. 

In addition to working at Trailer Park, Gimenez had the opportunity to work with the Los Angeles nonprofit organization Women in Film [WIF], whose mission statement states that the organization “advocates for and advances the careers of women working in the screen industries – to achieve parity and transform culture.” Gimenez says that it was an “experience that can only be described as ‘once in a lifetime.’ The mentorship and growth that comes from that organization is something that the film and TV industry benefits from immensely.” Gimenez and a colleague were asked to edit WIF’s short form series Flip the Script, a comedy about gender parity. “The short stories that each episode told were pulled from real life experiences womxn filmmakers have dealt with on set, at an agency, or in development. . . and was directed, written, produced, and edited by womxn.” Gimenez continues, “by tackling the gender inequality (and by extension many other marginalized identities) in Hollywood with comedy, audiences can learn to be more critical of the industry and hopefully apply that to the content they watch in a less pedantic way. I also think that by putting the series on YouTube, the organization aims to encourage accessibility to these conversations because it’s not just an isolated topic, it’s a far-reaching issue that affects everyone.” 

Gimenez had the opportunity to be mentored after graduation by Greg Snyder, a fellow UO alum at Pixar Animation Studios. Gimenez feels that Snyder was her strongest influence for moving to Los Angeles. Snyder told Gimenez that if she wanted to be a feature editor she had to carve out her own space in L.A., and she took that advice to heart. Once Gimenez had a plan, Snyder “connected me with his network of editors who gave me room to ask questions and build relationships.” Gimenez still keeps in touch with Snyder and often works on his feature projects from Pixar at Trailer Park. “I get to cut the trailers on the features he gets to cut, so it’s sort of funny how that worked out” Gimenez says. 

Gimenez’s main advice for anyone looking to get involved in the film industry is that “working well with your team is critical to the success of your content.” Gimenez finds that you would be “hard pressed to find any editor that doesn’t share similar job duties with their assistants because that is how important it is to get their cuts out.” Duties like digitizing, picture/audio syncing, transcoding, and subtitling “aren’t just one-person jobs, sometimes it takes a whole team to get it done.” 

Gimenez has a lot planned for the future. “The most immediate project I’m excited about is the new Disney Pixar movie Coco, coming out this Thanksgiving.” Trailer Park is working on the marketing campaign for Coco, and Gimenez adds, “it’s just such a unique film that we can’t wait for everyone to finally see it.” Outside of her agency work, Gimenez is “currently editing a few shorts and online content, but I have a few long form projects in the next year that I am excited to get involved with.” Lastly, Gimenez hopes to “keep growing my network of womxn editors and AEs, but especially womxn of color because if Moonlight’s editorial team was any indication of the direction Hollywood is headed towards, it’s that there are massive numbers of womxn of color waiting for their turn to cut something amazing for audiences to watch and enjoy.”