Editing Greatness One Project at a Time with Radek Sienski

Radek Sienski relishes every opportunity afforded him in his career to move and inspire people of different backgrounds. Whether it’s via cinema in Paris, the “telly” in the UK, or streaming on a tablet in America, the knowledge that his work can touch and inspire those whom he has never met or will likely never ever meet, it’s gratifying and humbling to Radek. Perhaps that’s because he considers himself something of an underdog, coming from Poland to achieve great success in television and film throughout Europe and America. Mr. Sienski is immensely proud of his BAFTA membership and the long list of productions which led to this status. The credits which populate his resume are eclectic while being imbued with a common thread of exceptionalism, each possessing its own unique identity. Dramatic political films, the struggles of illiteracy, Reality TV, from the traditional to the most current themes, Radek has always injected the productions he works on with a component that speaks to the inner struggle we all face. Speaking through his editing in a way that unifies the entire audience while still retaining an individual identity of those featured, that’s the true mastery of an editor like Radek Sienski.

At thirty-five-years old, Radek Sienski is one of the youngest BAFTA members. In fifteen years of work in the industry, Radek has continually captured attention by challenging himself to unearth the potential of the story in a wide array of forms. A sense of community and history is vital to this editor who imparts, “Becoming a BAFTA member made me aspire to further better myself as a filmmaker. It opened floodgates of inspiration by being able to connect with such esteemed filmmakers as Darren Aronofsky, Alejandro G. Iñárritu or Baz Luhrmann, watch their films, talk with them, soak up their experience and set my sail for new challenges ahead. It’s very important to me that I can use the privilege of being a member to take young talent under my wing, educate, inspire and show them that anything is possible as long as you work hard and always strive to better yourself.”

The last few years have been referred to as the second golden age of television. The segmentation of entertainment which is a by-product of streaming has benevolently led to more adventurous TV productions. BAFTA Award Winning Series such as First Dates and GoggleBox, as well as BAFTA Nominee The Write Offs are all wildly different thematically but share a unison in the editing expertise of Mr. Sienski. Joining First Dates in their seventh season, his contributions were so pronounced that the show’s producers enlisted him as the editor for the spin-off series First Dates Hotel and the subsequent Teen First Dates. Richard Mears, whom Radek collaborated with on these, took Radek with him onto The Write Offs, a documentary series which presented the modern day challenges of illiteracy. Sienski whittled down the mammoth seventy-five hours of footage into one of the most emotionally captivating forty-five minute episodes. Known for an empathetic style, Radek imparts, “Similar to how Christopher Nolan started ‘Memento’ with a stylized ‘reversed’ sequence that allowed the viewers to feel what the main character feels, we decided to open the show with a sequence where ordinary signs and words get mixed up beyond any recognition. That is exactly the way our contributors perceive the world of words; it doesn’t mean anything to them! Using that literal example, we managed to let the audience feel what is normally hard to imagine — how even the simplest of tasks are daunting to people who can’t read or write.”

While different countries and societies can take on a specific demeanor that doesn’t always translate, Radek seems immune to this. America has made proper use of his skill. Born and raised in Poland, Mr. Sienski admits that American television was common viewing for him as a youth. When the Primetime Emmy Award Winning US production Undercover Boss requested that he join the production, Radek quickly agreed. Conversely, his work on the massive Russian film Dau (2019 Winner of “Event of the Year” from Russian Guild of Film Critics) shows this editor’s ability to shrug off any “outsider perspective” and communicate the integral human emotion of the story. Shot entirely in 35mm on Europe’s single largest film set over the span of three years, Dau is truly on an epic scale. Sienski’s work for this acclaimed film ranged from editing all musical performances involving the main cast to those portraying Ayahuasca experiments. Numerous productions populate Radek Sienski’s resume but one he points to as likely the most pivotal was his own Memories (2010). His first film as director and editor, Memories marked the beginning of a lifelong professional journey which has resulted in great recognition. With a contemplative look, Radek confides, “The process was intense as I was still learning my craft but I put all my heart into it. I worked hard to convince the Slovenian band Silence to let me use one of their beautiful songs for the film and learned the lesson that you must put everything you have into your art, collaborating with others who are talented in an attempt to realize your vision. It takes that effort every day of every project you work on, if you want to grasp something truly great.”

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Kelly King

An LA based writer with more than a decade as a staff writer for NYC based Drumhead magazine, Kelly is also a contributor to a number of outlets.