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Kevin Nolting

Affiliations: UCSC alumnus: Porter College, B.A. Aesthetic Studies, 1979


Kevin Nolting is an award-winning film editor who has been working in film and digital cutting rooms for over 37 years. After serving an apprenticeship in Hollywood with iconic film editors like Robert C. Jones and Richard Chew, he’s spent the last 22 years at Pixar Animation Studios, where he edited the Academy Award-winning films Up, Inside Out and Soul and contributed to many others, including Finding Nemo and WALL-E. He also directed the short film '22 vs. Earth’ for Disney+. Kevin currently lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife Diane (UCSC alumna, Porter College, 1978), just a short bike ride from their two daughters and two grandchildren, and is working on independent live-action films while continuing to mentor and consult at Pixar.


In Conversation with Kevin Nolting


Greatest influences that shaped your career?
Early on, working as an assistant editor for the late Robert C. Jones, and for Don Zimmerman and Richard Chew, I learned not just the mechanics and art of film editing, but, more importantly, about the importance of collaboration and the value of mentorship. For the last 20 years, I was working mostly with Pete Docter at Pixar Animation Studios in an environment created and nurtured by Steve Jobs and John Laseter – one that took collaboration to a level I never imagined possible. Steve also encouraged early and frequent failure as one way to push the creative process along. At first, this seemed counterintuitive and very intimidating, but is something I eventually fully embraced, and it continues to be the most valuable lesson I’ve learned along the way.


Passions, joys, and causes that drive you?
Working with young filmmakers on smaller scale projects and trying to pass on what I’ve learned (though I’m still learning more than I’m teaching). Spending time with my kids and grandkids, volunteering, reading and rereading books, writing and drawing, talking with old friends—all of the things that got neglected during the years I was working long hours.

The relevance and role of arts education in today’s world?
With the modern world tilting further and further toward what is data- and profit-driven, it is more important than ever to keep art, and thinking artistically and creatively, alive. That begins with exposure at a young age. Unfortunately, art education has been whittled away in primary and secondary schools, and more and more our society seems to actively diminish the value of art. We still have a chance at the college level to encourage a path that will help keep those scales of society more balanced.


What’s exciting to you about the vision and mission of UCSC’s Arts Division? 
I’m most excited about seeing people who haven’t had a voice gain one and learn how to use it. I’d like to help instill the idea of possibility to students. Most of us aren't raised in a way to understand or to appreciate that the possibilities out there aren’t necessarily out of reach, that they don’t belong exclusively to someone else. College introduced me to whole worlds I otherwise would not have known even existed and demonstrated to me that it wasn’t out of the question to be part of them.