Monique Zavistovski


A native New Yorker, Monique is a graduate of USC’s M.F.A. program in Cinema-Television and holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. Projects she edited have appeared at the Sundance, Venice International, and Los Angeles Film Festivals, and have won festival Awards worldwide. She worked with filmmaker Peter Forgacs on his Getty Center installation, "The Danube Exodus," and artist Judy Chicago for her permanent installation of "The Dinner Party" at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. In 2006, a short film called, "The Wraith of Cobble Hill," which she produced and edited, won the Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking at Sundance. And the following year "Bad Boys of Summer," a feature doc she co-edited about the inmate baseball program at San Quentin State Prison, premiered at Slamdance. She's currently cutting "The Legend of Pancho Barnes and the Happy Bottom Riding Club," and having the time of her life with her daughter and husband, director, Adam Parrish King.

Editor's Statement

When Robyn and Chad hired me to cut Circus Rosaire, I was 8 months pregnant and ready to burst. They had shot roughly 300 hours of footage and, having spent 4 years following the Rosaires at home and on the road, it was immediately clear to all of us that questions of structure were paramount. Where do we start and how can we possibly end this story? These were concerns Robyn and Chad had from the outset and I suppose none of us thought a newborn baby could be disruptive to the editing process. Crazy. This film was cut between diaper changes, naps and nursings. Robyn spent countless afternoons rocking the baby to sleep while I worked through the edit. It took us a year to finish and, apart from continual questions of story structure, I think balance was our biggest challenge – balance between characters and balance of perspective. The Rosaires are a truly extraordinary family of performers all competing for the spotlight in the ring and, as I saw it, in their relationships with each other. While Robyn and Chad spent more time filming some folks than others, each of the family members’ arcs needed to be fully and fairly explored. In early cuts, when some characters were far less developed than others, the film played like we had a stilted ecosystem on our hands. An equally important issue of balance concerned animal welfare and exploring the viewpoints of those who believe training animals is cruel and unnecessary. In our first meeting I let Robyn know that I’m vegan (in personal protest against the treatment of animals in the marketplace) and she let me know that she’s deeply concerned about animal rights. Giving voice to activists who are committed to stopping animal abuse was always a top priority for her and Chad. But, it became perhaps more important in this film to dispel some myths surrounding exotic animals in captivity and what it is that the Rosaires do. They do what very few of us would ever be willing to attempt when they rescue animals from life-threatening circumstances and provide them with homes, health and love while placing their own livelihoods in jeopardy. I know this is a sensitive subject – one that dominated the editing room on countless occasions – and I hope this film provokes a more informed dialogue about the issue. On a final note, a million thanks to Robyn and Chad for trusting their labor of love to an editor with one foot in the delivery room door and to the Rosaires for illuminating what true sacrifice for creatures in desperate need really means.