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Anne V. Coates

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Title: Anne V. Coates  
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Subject: BAFTA Award for Best Editing, Lawrence of Arabia (film), BAFTA Fellowship, GBFTE, I Love You to Death
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Anne V. Coates

Anne V. Coates
Born Anne Voase Coates[1]
(1925-12-12) 12 December 1925
Reigate, Surrey, England, UK
Occupation Film editor
Years active 1947 – present
Spouse(s) Douglas Hickox (? – 1988)
Awards American Cinema Editors
1995 Career Achievement Award

Anne Voase Coates (born 12 December 1925) is a British film editor with a more than 40-year-long career in film editing. She is perhaps best known as the editor of director David Lean's epic film Lawrence of Arabia in 1962. Coates has been nominated five times for the Academy Award for Film Editing for the films Lawrence of Arabia, Becket (1963), The Elephant Man (1980), In the Line of Fire (1993), and Out of Sight (1998). In an industry where women only accounted for 16 percent of all editors working on the top 250 films of 2004, and 80 percent of the films had absolutely no females on their editing teams at all, Anne V. Coates continues to thrive as a top film editor.[2] In February 2007, she was awarded BAFTA's highest honour, The Academy Fellowship.[3]


Anne V. Coates' first passion was horses. As a girl, she thought she might become a race-horse trainer.[4] A graduate of Bartrum Gables College, before becoming a film editor, Anne Coates served as a nurse at Sir Archibald McIndoe's pioneering plastic surgery hospital in East Grinstead, UK.[5][6] Anne is Godmother to Samuel and Thomas Moore, Son of Patrick Moore. Coates decided to pursue film directing and started out working as an assistant at a production company specializing in religious films (also doing projectionist and sound recording work). There she fixed film prints of religious short films before sending them out to various British church tours.[6] This splicing work eventually led to the rare job as an assistant film editor at Pinewood Studios, where she worked on various films. Her first experience was assisting for film editor Reggie Mills.[4] Anne V. Coates later worked with film director David Lean on Lawrence of Arabia. Coates has had a long and varied career, seemingly refusing to retire and she continues to edit films such as Out of Sight and Erin Brockovich for iconoclastic film director, Steven Soderbergh. Coates is a member of both the Guild of British Film and Television Editors(GBFTE) and American Cinema Editors (ACE).

Coates is at the centre of a film industry family. Besides being the niece of J. Arthur Rank, she was married to the director Douglas Hickox for many years. Her brother, John Coates, was a producer (The Snowman and Yellow Submarine), and her two sons, oldest Anthony Hickox (1959) and youngest (1965) James D.R. Hickox used to be directors, whilst her daughter Emma E. Hickox (1964) is also a film editor.

One of the Top Film Editors

Variety's Eileen Kowalski notes that, "Indeed, many of the editorial greats have been women: Margaret Booth, Dede Allen, Verna Fields, Thelma Schoonmaker, Anne V. Coates and Dorothy Spencer."[7]


  • "In a way, I've never looked at myself as a woman in the business. I've just looked at myself as an editor. I mean, I'm sure I've been turned down because I'm a woman, but then other times I've been used because they wanted a woman editor." .[4]
  • "...I guess I've been lucky that most of the time I've been in the same direction as the director. I try to work with directors whose work I like and find interesting. When I was younger, I had to find work where I could, and I had some not great experiences with directors."[4]
  • "I like having a little edge with the director – you know, discussions and arguments. I think that's what editors are partly there for, like a sounding board. When I first worked on Out of Sight, I knew that Steven (Soderbergh) did things in a fairly far-out way. So I said to him, "Stretch me." We tried a lot of things that we didn't put in the picture. Steven was always coming up with great ideas. I like working with him a lot."[4]
  • "I like to take time off between films. I think it's important to live your life. I don't think that if you are just an editor all the time that you are going to be a good editor. You've got to go out and experience things, see things and travel."[4]
  • "You have the courage of your convictions. When you're editing you have to make thousands of decisions every day and if you dither over them all the time, you'll never get anything done."[8]
  • "I seem to get the rhythm from the performances I like to feel I'm very much an actor's editor. I look very much to the performances and cut very much for performances rather than the action. I think that's important, what's in the eyes of the actor."[8]
  • On Previews: "I hate them more than I hate anything else that I can possibly think of."[8]
  • On Collaborating with the Directors:"I don’t care if a director tells me to take 10 frames off—because I don’t take 10 frames off. I take off what I think would be appropriate. Most directors have no idea what 10 frames looks like. If you work with Sidney Lumet, he knows what 10 frames are. Milos Forman does, too. But most directors, when they say “take 10 frames off,” they’re just kind of showing off to you. I’ve learned through the years you just do what you think is right. And they’ll think that’s great because they’ll never count the frames."[9]

Selected filmography

As film editor

As assistant film editor

  • The End of the River (1947) (second editor) (uncredited)
  • The History of Mr. Polly (1949) (assistant editor) (uncredited)
  • The Chiltern Hundreds (1949) (assistant editor) (uncredited)

Academy awards and nominations

see: Academy Award for Film Editing

Other awards and nominations


  1. ^ BFI biodata
  2. ^ British Independent Film Awards – (BIFA)
  3. ^ "BAFTA crowns 'Queen' best film" 11 February 2007 – Variety (subscription)
  4. ^ a b c d e f Murch, Walter (2000). "Walter Murch interviews Anne V. Coates", webpage originally posted at the website; webpage archived at WebCite on 2008-07-07 from this original URL.
  5. ^ Erickson, Hal (undated). "Anne V. Coates", webpage from Allrovi Guide; online version retrieved 7 July 2008.
  6. ^ a b IMDB Biography
  7. ^ (Editor) "Tina Hirsch" By Eileen Kowalski – Variety 11/14/2001 (subscription)
  8. ^ a b c Coates, Anne V. (2007). "Things I've Learned As A Moviemaker", article posted on 3 February 2007 at MovieMaker website retrieved 7 July 2008.
  9. ^ MovieMaker (MovieMaker Publishing). Winter 2002 (45) . Retrieved 2009-09-13. 

External links

  • Anne V. Coates credits – Biography
  • Anne V. Coates at the Internet Movie Database
  • filmed interview with Anne Coates on The Reel Show
  • Anne V. Coates – Filmography New York Times
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