AFS Viewfinders Podcast: How To Cut a Great Trailer with Editor Trevor Lee

The film trailer is an art form in itself, and, for many of us, an invisible art. We don’t even know the names of the people who cut the trailers, or how it’s done. If you have ever sat in your seat and watched the seemingly dozens of trailers* unfold before a film starts, perhaps you have wondered about the process by which the decisions are made.

We have too, and we happen to know an expert, so we asked. Trevor Lee, née Trevor Garza, is an editor who has cut a good number of trailers for us at AFS. He has also worked – pre-pandemic furloughs – for the Alamo Drafthouse in the same capacity, and also edits for national distributors. In the podcast that follows he discusses how he got his start in the field as part of his AFS internship and went on to learn a lot of important lessons.

He is, as you will note, fairly obsessed with trailers and their inner workings. He is a perfectionist and the work speaks for itself. This is a pretty arcane subject we admit, but it is always interesting to hear someone who really excels at a trade describe it in detail. You can listen to the podcast here.

During the course of our conversation Trevor mentions a few of the trailers he has cut for AFS, as well as some trailers that inspired him. We share them below. You can also check out some of his other work or get in touch with him via his website.

“A labor of Quarantine Love. This was my experiment to see if i could make a super trailer that kept your attention the entire time rather than checking your watch for when it was over. Very proud of it.”

“My first trailer for Kino Lorber. A beautiful and exquisite film that I hope my trailer does justice.”

“To date my favorite trailer for an individual film.”


“A far cry from the bombastic trailers you get for most blockbusters these days. It starts out very quiet and simply uses the momentum of Hans Zimmer’s magnificent score to build to a colossal end. It’s a trailer that’s honestly better than the film.”

“Here is another trailer that feels like an emotionally stirring 2 minute short film. This trailer still makes me feel all the feels and I can remember the insane hype I had for it in the wake of Malick’s magnum opus Tree of Life. The film is good, definitely the best of what I call his “Improv Trilogy” but this trailer is one of the most emotionally resonant trailers I’ve ever seen.”

“This might be the greatest trailer of all time. A Serious Man is one of my all time favorite Coen Brothers films and I would never in a million years think of cutting a trailer with this energy for that film. But that’s what makes this such a stroke of genius. If I ever watch this trailer, I watch the movie within a few days.”

*We should note here by means of patting ourselves on the back that we limit our trailer reels at the AFS Cinema to 4 short trailers each. Carry on.

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