Editor to Watch: Jacqueline Basse of “She’s Gotta Have It” and “Aggie”

Shorts, features, documentaries, and memorable, acclaimed series populate up-and-coming editor Jacqueline Basse’s portfolio. Editing is an artistic exercise of technical prowess that maximizes storytelling within the filmmaking process, and Basse has drawn on her skills to shape contemporary classics, indie features, and reflective shorts. 

A majority of Basse’s credits are works that focus on women protagonists navigating their careers, romance, friendships, and crises. Her highest-profile project thus far has been her work as an assistant editor on the first season of Spike Lee’s series “She’s Gotta Have It,” where she was part of a diverse editing crew, headed by Hye Mee Na. Basse also worked alongside Janis Vogel, and frequent Lee collaborator David Valdez. The show centers a queer Black woman, focusing on Nola Darling’s highs, lows, and trysts. Given the frequent under- and misrepresentations of Black women on-screen, Basse’s role behind the scenes is notable as it showcases the importance of Black storytelling in all elements of production. 

Basse’s touch is distinct in her focus on narrative pace and emotional insight into the characters represented on-screen. A primary example is her recent work on “An Uncomfortable Woman,” a dark comedy short starring Robin Beltrán as Dylan, who is navigating a quarter-life crisis after the death of her mother and the unforeseen end of her engagement. Dylan is haunted by a foreboding thought: “Don’t all bad things happen in threes?” “An Uncomfortable Woman” writer, director, and producer Meghan Ross noted the importance of advocating for the inclusion of those who have been historically excluded from the film industry while explaining why she wanted people of color, including Basse, represented in all facets of production. 

Basse’s portfolio indexes her contributions to a wide range of stories, including her work on “Friday Afternoon,” which she has described as “one of the most rewarding and amazing experiences.” Paige Campbell’s first feature, drawn from her own experiences, offers insight into medical abortion. The film takes place over the course of a day, following Gus as she learns of her pregnancy, waits for her prescription to be filled, and wanders the East Village. Like “An Uncomfortable Woman,” the film’s sequences intercut close-ups and weighty pauses, and captures of the protagonist’s dread build tension. 

Viewers can see some of Basse’s recent editing work in Catherine Gund’s “Aggie,” a documentary about philanthropist Agnes Gund and her passions for art and social justice. Gund made headlines in recent years for selling Roy Lichtenstein’s “Masterpiece” and using the money to set up the Art for Justice Fund, an organization dedicated to ending mass incarceration. The film is testament to Basse’s continued work in support of diverse stories. 

“Aggie” hits virtual cinemas October 7, and “She’s Gotta Have It” is available on Netflix. See more of and follow Basse’s work here

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