Meet Kristi Shimek: Editor Behind ‘Falling for Christmas’

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When we think of a movie, we picture the actors filming a scene, the director making big decisions, and then like magic the movie plays on screen. But what happens between filming and the final product? Enter the hero: editor Kristi Shimek, who has edited films from Falling for Christmas to shows like Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist

I got the chance to speak with Shimek about her role as an editor and her experience working across genres. 

Kristi Shimek always knew she wanted to work in movies

“I was so fortunate to grow up in a family that loved movies,” Shimek explains of her own childhood, as she and her family would sit down at night and rewatch their favorite movies. In her younger days, she never imagined her love of movies could transpire into a career until one of her high school teachers got her onto her first film set. 

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Editing for Shimek, is the bow that ties the gift of the film into a beautiful neat package. “One of the things that I love about editing is that it’s like putting a puzzle together,” she says. “That’s something I’ve always enjoyed is taking these different pieces and finding how they come together as a whole.”

In a way, an editor is the last person to make a lasting impression on the film. For the movie to stand as a complete entity, it needs an editor to put those pieces together. 

Shimek’s life as an editor is independent but also full of team building, like in Falling for Christmas 

For Shimek, everyday life as an editor includes receiving raw footage, and working on her own to work through each scene as they come in. While she’s alone in her metaphorical “editing room,” at the core, the process is collaborative. She’ll give her input then the director will give input; it’s a beneficial back and forth. 

She’s noticed 2 different procedures during her time as an editor. The first process will have you make your edits, the director will give you notes, and then you work on it the next day. In the second process, the director stays in session with you everyday, figuring out the edits together. Sometimes, cast members will have the opportunity to watch edits made. Luckily, Shimek only has positive experiences with cast members. 

For Falling for Christmas, director Janeen Damian, producer Michael Damian, and Shimek worked as a team. “We were digging through each take and each performance,” Shimek explains of the process, “just to make sure that this is the tone we wanted.” 

‘Falling for Christmas’/ NETFLIX

Getting in the holiday groove for Falling for Christmas 

In this Netflix holiday rom-com, we follow a newly engaged heiress Sierra (Lindsay Lohan) who has amnesia from a skiing accident. A cabin owner (Chord Overstreet) and his daughter take her in, and Sierra learns the true meaning of Christmas. Think A Christmas Prince meets Shipwrecked

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With this warm and welcoming kind of tone holiday movies invite, Kristi Shimek had a process for getting into that Christmas cheer. She’d watch her favorites like Home Alone and listen to Christmas music classics. However, with a comedic film such as Falling for Christmas, she needed some more inspiration with a bit of chaotic energy.  “I started watching National Lampoon, because we knew this was going to be a comedy,” she says, “but we knew it would be not just heartwarming nostalgia. It would have a little bit of a romp to it.”

Falling for Christmas will join the ranks of the classics we’ve grown up on, with a modern twist and a resurgence of Lindsay Lohan on the silver screen. What more could we want?!

falling for christmas, lindsay
‘Falling for Christmas’/CREDIT: NETFLIX

Shimek also edits for TV, including the upcoming Bumper in Berlin

Kristi Shimek crosses over into television, with her experience editing the NBC musical comedy Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist and the new Pitch Perfect spinoff Bumper in Berlin. In Bumper in Berlin, Adam DeVine returns as the iconic Bumper, moving to Germany when one of his songs gets big in the country. Sarah Hyland, Jameela Jamil, and Flula Borg also star. 

falling for christmas, bumper in berlin
‘Bumper in Berlin’/CREDIT: NBCUNIVERSAL

When jumping from film to TV, Shimek notices her shift of gears when planning out her editing strategy. With tight turnaround, especially with network television, Shimek says, “Your story has to be told in a much shorter amount of time. What you really get down to is the most important aspect of the scene and the performance.” 

Kristi Shimek’s favorite genre? They all are special. 

Kristi Shimek has worked in comedies like Falling for Christmas, thrillers like Inheritance (starring Lily Collins), dramas, you name it! For her, each one has its own set of unique factors, where she learns so much. “Starting in thrillers and dramas helped me understand how to bring out the emotion of a performance,” she shares.

Simultaneously, working on comedy styled shows and movies paved the way for her to learn balancing emotion and comedic timing. “In order to land a joke, the timing has to be perfect,” Shimek says. “That’s something you end up going over in the edit multiple times. Is this really landing? Is there a better version of this landing?” 

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It’s something she takes with her through every project she does. With each new genre comes a whole new learning curve. 

Advice for those interested in editing as a career: “learn how to collaborate with others”

As an editor, you’re part of a creative team, trying to create a project you can look back and feel proud about. “That means sometimes learning the hard lesson of taking notes and being able to receive notes,” Shimek says. “It’s all to help you become better at your craft and for the movie itself to become better.”

We can see that through Shimek’s own career, working on movies like Falling for Christmas and shows like Bumper in Berlin. Each one has a team, with different jobs, but the same vision to make all the puzzle pieces fit together.  

Also, Shimek stresses the importance of remembering why you do what you do. “If you can hold on to why you wanted to join the project in the first place, then it’s such a strengthening good reminder of how important the creative process is, and how great it can be to be a part of,” she says. 

With Kristi Shimek’s enthusiastic passion for her art, and her creative and hardworking personality, we can’t wait to see what she does next.

Watch Falling for Christmas on Netflix now and watch Bumper in Berlin on Peacock when it drops November 23!

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