Hollywood veteran lends expertise

Thursday September 17, 2015 Written by Published in Education
Ken Zemke is a former Hollywood editor and producer, and was at Nukutere College for a day to share his experience and knowledge with students Ken Zemke is a former Hollywood editor and producer, and was at Nukutere College for a day to share his experience and knowledge with students

Students at Nukutere College had a rare opportunity to brush up their film and editing skills last week, with the help of a former Hollywood film editor.

Ken Zemke worked in Hollywood for 18 years, and is mostly known for his work on popular sitcom Hogan’s Heroes, The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking and the documentary Elvis on Tour. 

Zemke is also famed for winning a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Film Editing of a Series in 1974.

In 1981, Zemke and his wife, Mary and their three children, left their home in Hollywood and moved to New Zealand.

Today, Zemke is the producer of Bahá’í on Air programmes which screen on Auckland’s Triangle Television and other community stations in New Zealand and overseas. 

 “I started out on comedy TV series like Hogan’s Heroes, and then got into television drama editing and one-off movies for television,” he says.

“I had learned editing in 1963 at CBS television in Hollywood, making 30-second promo clips for upcoming programmes.”

Zemke says he moved to New Zealand looking for a simpler way of life in a country where he could continue his film-making career.

Since moving to New Zealand, he has visited the Cook Islands numerous times for his Bahá’í on Air series.

This time, Zemke says he wanted to give some of his time to give back to the community and share his knowledge and experience. 

“I like to offer my services. Being 77 years old, I have a lot of experience and I don’t know how much longer I’ll be around.”

He says he wants to share as much of his knowledge around, so it lives on past him.

Zemke was at the college for one day, teaching the students about the power of YouTube and some basic editing and filming skills.

He says editing is a very fine craft, requiring a good sense of timing for drama, action or romance.

“We control the emotions of the viewer, and that’s a really powerful tool in motion pictures.”

Zemke says the great thing about motion pictures is that they are entertaining, but they are also education for mankind.

“It’s a very exciting industry, and I got to be part of it for all those years. I just hope I can pass on that enthusiasm to the students.”

As well editing for the big screen, and the television screen, Zemke also produces many YouTube videos for his series.

“Millions and millions of people are using YouTube, and I think that more people now need to be educated about it,” he says.

Zemke was also in the Cook Islands to promote Bahá’í on Air, which will now air every Sunday on local television.

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