Episode 1: Lillian E. Benson,  A Film Editor’s Reflections

From an early age, Emmy-nominated Lillian E. Benson has been an acute observer of people and her surroundings. She brings that quality, and many others, to her remarkable work as an acclaimed film editor. Lillian was the first African-American female editor selected for membership in the American Cinema Editors. Her life’s mission has been to contribute to the world through telling authentic stories. In this episode, she shares with Natasha her approach to storytelling and how her experience as a Black working-class woman influenced her journey. This candid and wise conversation about Lillian’s journey in life and the art of editing offers important insights for every filmmaker.

Show Notes

Lilian E. Benson


Lillian Benson – IMDb 


  • 2022 Career Achievement Award for Outstanding Contributions to Film Editing from American Cinema Editors (ACE). The American Cinema Editors was established in 1950; Lilian became a member in 1991.
  • Lillian’s Speech at the ACE Eddie Awards; Eddies | American Cinema Editors | ACE
  • 2017 Recipient of the Motion Picture Editors Guild’s Fellowship and Service Award.
  • 2017 Black Hollywood Education Center Career Achievement Award.
  • 2017 Pratt Institute Distinguished Alumni Award. Lillian’s high school art teacher was able to attend the ceremony along with family and friends.
  • Nominated for an Emmy for the acclaimed civil rights series “Eyes On the Prize II.”
  • Contributed to films that have garnered five Emmy nominations, four Peabody Awards, and numerous other honors. 

Just a few of Lillian’s 80 credits

And Still I Rise

Available on Google Play, iTunes, and Amazon.

All Our Sons-Fallen Heroes of 9/11

Eyes on the Prize Documentary

Available on PBS Video, Prime Video, iTunes, Max.

John Lewis: Get in the Way

Available on Prime Video, Google Play.

Conscience and the Constitution

Beyond the Steps: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre 

A Litany of Survival: The Life and Work of Audre Lorde

Honourable Mentions:

Madeline Anderson

Jacqueline Shearer

American Cinema Editors was established in 1950. There were three prior editors of color inducted into the organization, all men. They were: 

Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898–1971

More Resources / Let’s Connect

Natasha on LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook

Professional Development for Film & TV

Narrative Shift is produced by Natasha Tony, the Elevate team and Max Collins.