Motion Picture Editors Guild to Honor Lillian E. Benson

The first African-American female member of the American Cinema Editors, Benson "has been long active in working to increase minority participation in the filmmaking process.”
courtesy of Motion Picture Editors Guild

The Motion Picture Editors Guild (Local 700 IATSE) will honor Lillian E. Benson with its Fellowship and Service Award during a dinner April 8 at the Sheraton Universal Hotel.

“Lillian E. Benson has a had a long career editing influential and socially conscious films, and has been long active in working to increase minority participation in the filmmaking process,” said MPEG president and Academy Award-winner Alan Heim. “In addition, she has been an active member of the board of directors for the American Cinema Editors as secretary and co-chair of the diversity committee.” 

Benson, who started her career in New York, was nominated for a 1991 Emmy for Jacqueline Shearer’s Civil Rights series Eyes on the Prize II, and a year later, became the first African-American female member of honorary society American Cinema Editors.

She is currently editing NBC’s Chicago Med and in 2016 worked on the Oprah Winfrey/Craig Wright drama Greenleaf. In addition, she was part of the editorial team on the documentary feature Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise.

Benson is an adjunct professor at USC and has been a guest lecturer at universities including Stanford. Having made her directorial debut with All Our Sons: Fallen Heroes of 9/11, she also recently completed her second film, Amen: The Life and Music of Jester Hairston.

Presenting Benson with the MPEG Award will be her friend and colleague Zeinabu Irene Davis, a film director and producer as well as a professor in the communications department of USC San Diego. Benson has edited several of Davis’ films, including 2009’s Passengers and 1989’s Trumpetistically, Clora Bryant.