Exile Co-Founder/Editor Eric Zumbrunnen Passes Away at 52

On August 1st, the arts, entertainment and advertising community lost one of its most respected, inventive visual craftsmen, award-winning editor Eric Zumbrunnen, following his hard-fought battle with cancer.

Photo by Rob Kalmbach
Appreciated for his intelligence, kindness and dry wit as much as his editorial talent, Eric left a memorable imprint that spanned the worlds of feature films, commercials, music videos, short films, and documentaries.

Known to many as “EZ,” Eric graduated from USC with a degree in Journalism, and began his professional life in video post-production. A proficient guitarist, he brought his affinity for music to his early work editing music videos, among them classics, including Weezer’s “Buddy Holly”, Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight, Tonight,” Beck’s “Where It’s At” and Bjork’s “It’s Oh So Quiet. “ He developed close collaborative relationships with a few directors, and subsequently expanded into commercials for clients such as Nike, Xbox and Apple, and ultimately into feature films. He perhaps most notably found his creative kindred spirit in director Spike Jonze. The pair’s harmonious, highly successful collaboration spanned two decades and resulted in film favorites like the Oscar-nominated Her, Adaptation, Where the Wild Things Are, and Being John Malkovich, which earned Eric an ACE Award for Best Edited Feature Film. More recently he was awarded a Bronze Lion for Editing at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, for his work on Jonze’s innovative Kenzo World fragrance ad “My Mutant Brain”. He was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this year based on his body of work.

In 2014, Eric Zumbrunnen co-founded Santa Monica and New York-based post-production company EXILE with partners Kirk Baxter, Matt Murphy and Carol Lynn Weaver. Regarded as one of the most technically proficient editors of his era, one who approached editing with insight and eloquence, Eric valued the opportunity to learn from the gifted writers, directors and editors he worked with. While he held himself and his co-workers to a high standard, he was also committed to encouraging and mentoring other editors and would-be editors.

Eric Zumbrunnen is survived by his wife Suzanne, children Henry and Greta, and a loving extended family. Arrangements are being made for a fellowship in his name.