Jeff Consiglio | Engineering stories for impact
When YouTube view topped the 100 million mark for Katy Perry’s Chained to the Rhythm music video, Jeff Consiglio smiled. In 2015, when the documentary Twinsters received a greater than 90-percent-positive rating on Rotten Tomato’s movie ranking website, he grinned. When the film Inocente won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject in 2013, he celebrated at the Oscars.
This list of accolades for Consiglio, a 1983 Virginia Tech graduate and an acclaimed film editor and producer, does not even cover his work for commercial clients such as Gatorade and Apple.
And although he works in different film genres, each resonates with Consiglio, the owner of a Los Angeles–based production and postproduction company, VFRFilms.
“You want to create the best product,” he says. “You want it to have impact; you want people to be changed by it.”
Consiglio knows firsthand the trans-formative power of his medium, as it changed his life while he was a mechanical engineering student at Virginia Tech. After playing a small role in a student film, he attended the movie screening and instantly fell in love with the storytelling potential of film. He likens the experience to the moment in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy leaves the black-and-white world of Kansas for the color-saturated Oz.
“It was editing that resonated with me because it’s like engineering,” he says. “It’s construction. You build a film shot by shot, like assembly, and I discovered I wanted to create stories instead of building bridges.”
After changing his major and graduating with a communication degree, he worked in the Washington, DC, video industry, where he landed his first full-time job as a film editor on projects for National Geographic and the Discovery Channel.
He moved to Los Angeles and launched VFRFilms, but returned to the nation’s capital when documentarian Nina Seavey hired him to edit her film, The Ballad of Bering Strait. He then split his time between both cities, teaming up with filmmakers Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine to edit three documentaries that earned an Emmy, a Peabody Award, two Academy Award nominations, and the Oscar win.
Consiglio says he enjoys projects that help others.
“I live for the moment when someone who sees my films tells me they forgot they were watching a documentary,” he says. “I’m most proud when people walk away transformed.”