Well Told Films


It was a busy Spring and Summer here in Montpelier. Finally catching our breath long enough to do an update.

When we moved here last Fall we got in touch with Montpelier Alive to thank them for the great events that they organize and all of the helpful information that they share, which played a role in our researching communities when deciding where to relocate in Vermont. We also wanted to say hello as new neighbors as well as a new small business in the area and were eager to do our part to help celebrate and promote our new home town.

It turns out they had been hoping to make a video for the city, promoting the downtown, local businesses, and culture to prospective visitors and people who might like to move to the area. This seemed like a great chance to help out and also provide a way to meet a lot of our new neighbors, so we jumped at the chance.


Our concept was centered around the focus of telling the story of the wonderful natural beauty, the vibrant downtown, art, culture, commitment to fresh cuisine, etc. through personal stories and perspectives of the people who live here, because ultimately it is the people who make a community, and make a community unique. Montpelier Alive and the Montpelier Development Corporation loved the idea.

“#MontpLove” Producer: Kristin Cantu,
Director/Camera/Editor: Chad Ervin,
Camera: Brandon Poulin

Because we were looking to make a piece that captures the people of Montpelier, we tried to take a moment in the video with each person to actually get a sense of who they are and what it is about the city that they personally love about their town. Because of this we filmed it with a different feel from many of the city promotion pieces that we’ve seen, opting for a documentary style in order to try to capture more relaxed and un-scripted moments. It was our feeling that a ‘typical’ tourism piece with snappy visuals over talking point sound bites would not be as memorable as getting a chance to connect and empathize with real people in genuine, organic moments.

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Here is a sample clip from the episode of America’s Hidden Stories that I edited and created document animations for, “Pearl Harbor Spies” created for the Smithsonian Channel by Lone Wolf Media.


America’s Hidden Stories is a cool new show airing on the Smithsonian Channel starting March 4. I edited the episode on “Pearl Harbor’s Spies.”

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As part of an ongoing project with our amazing downtown association Montpelier Alive to highlight the wide variety of fun activities for all ages going on here in the Capital City we filmed the Ice on Fire Central Vermont Winter Festival. It was a total blast, everyone had a great time and we wanted to capture a sense of the wide variety of activities held over the course of the winter afternoon.

Ice on Fire: In Progress clip

We filmed the Ice on Fire Winter Festival in North Branch Nature Center in Montpelier, Vermont last weekend as part of a project for Montpelier Alive. It was lots of fun and we’re working on a little video of the event to give them for promotion. The “blanket toss” was so much fun I put together a little teaser.

Tonight “Coal’s Deadly Dust” broadcasts on PBS, for the series FRONTLINE in collaboration with NPR. Directed by Elaine McMillion Sheldon and Reported by Howard Berkes, the film investigates the rise of severe black lung disease among coal miners in Central Appalachia.

The film is co-produced and edited by Well Told Films principal Chad Ervin.

Coal’s Deadly Dust

The Newest film edited by Chad Ervin, produced and directed by Elaine McMillion Sheldon and reported by Howard Berkes, made in partnership with NPR “Coal’s Deadly Dust” is broadcasting January 22, 2019 on the PBS Series FRONTLINE. This is the first film edited entirely at Well Told Films’s new location in Montpelier, Vermont.


FRONTLINE and NPR investigate the rise of severe black lung disease among coal miners, and the failure to respond. This joint investigation reveals the biggest disease clusters ever documented, and how the industry and the government failed to protect miners. Also in this two-part hour, FRONTLINE presents a report from Yemen.

Winter S’Morestice Festival

This is what happens when I’m in charge of making home videos. Wanted to test the new camera’s slow motion, ended up being a handheld, slow motion, 13-degree temperature test.

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I am working with the production company The Film Posse putting the finishing touches on a new two-hour film for the PBS’s American Experience, “The Battle of Chosin,” about the grueling and, by many, forgotten campaign waged by a group of American and allied soldiers against incredible odds, in sub-freezing weather, isolated and surrounded in the mountains of North Korea.  It’s not to be missed, if for nothing than the amazing first-person testimony given by the men who lived through the ordeal.

It will be airing this fall.  I will add more info and a sneak peak when it becomes available.


I’m a bit late posting this but was happy to see a series that I frequently work for, PBS’s FRONTLINE, nominated for 18 News & Documentary Emmys for 2016.  FRONTLINE is always one of the best shows on television and it is a pleasure and honor to work with these great people whenever I get the chance.

I was especially (selfishly, sure) happy to see two program that I worked received nods.  “Being Mortal,” a critique of the medical approach to end of life care and a contemplation on approaching the mortality of ourselves and those we love with a focus on personal priorities and values in mind.  It was a privilege to work with the great director, Tom Jennings, who captured a nuanced portrait of the brave subjects of the film, who agreed to share their most intimate moments with the world.  It was also a great pleasure to edit the film with one of the best editors in the business, Steve Audette, whom I’ve admired for years.

The other film that I had a (admittedly small) hand in making was Ken Dornstein’s 3-part capstone to his decades long quest to track down the perpetrators of the Lockerbie bombing, which claimed the life of his older brother, “My Brother’s Bomber.”  I worked in various roles over a couple years but jumped on in earnest to help create the motion graphics for the film, bringing to life some of the mountains of document and photo evidence that Ken used on his quest.  It’s always a treat to get to see how other film editors approach their craft and this was no exception.  I was able to lend a hand to one of my other favorite editors, Brian Funck, whom I’ve known for years and we work for many of the same people but tend to pass like ships in the night.  The entire team was so passionate and committed to the project and their roles that it was a blast getting to jump aboard with them and help bring this epic project into port.

Hey, it’s not all documentaries about death and/or destruction for me!  I got a great palate cleanser by cutting several episodes of the fun and stylish “A Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking,” which airs on PBS, and has many episodes available online.

Like an athlete who benefits from developing both the fast twitch and slow twitch muscles, it’s beneficial for an editor to work on a variety of content, pushing yourself to master working at different paces and in a variety of aesthetic styles.  You need to take a totally different approach to every aspect of your work, from the organization of footage to your workflow and editing pace.  I find that this keeps me challenged and fresh and each style adds to my toolkit for subsequent projects.

Moveable Feast combines learning novel cooking techniques and recipes with the experience of traveling to a wide variety of culinary destinations where you are taken through the personal process of some interesting local chefs.

I take great pride in the fact that I limited myself to only one food metaphor in this entire post.  Cheers!  (OK, two now.)

It was a long-awaited pleasure to cut my first film for the PBS series American Experience.  Even better that it was this dark and thrilling tale of the rise of the Ku Klux Klan in progressive North Carolina in the 1960s.  I’m glad I got to cut this film for (fellow Tennesseean) producer/director Callie Wiser and feel that she crafted an intriguing and nuanced portrait of ‘the banality of evil’ in action, told mainly through the Carolina Klan’s charismatic leader, Bob Jones.  It is easy to ascribe terrible deeds and attitudes to a morally “bad” other but in KlansvilleUSA, we see how hatred can take root in a disenfranchised population, left behind by social and economic changes.

And with that I’ll stop trying to sound smart and give you the description from the website where, at this time, the film can be viewed in its entirety:

Having been dormant for decades, the KKK (Ku Klux Klan) reemerged in the U.S. after the 1954 Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education decision, gaining momentum in the U.S. as the civil rights movement grew. That the Klan would rise once again wasn’t surprising, but where the reincarnation took place was. North Carolina was long considered the most progressive southern state; its image was being burnished weekly on CBS by the enormously popular “The Andy Griffith Show.” In 1963, North Carolina salesman Bob Jones chartered what would become the largest Klan group in the country, which, under his leadership, grew to some ten thousand members. In the process, the group helped give the Tarheel State a new nickname: “Klansville, U.S.A.”