School of Cinematic Arts Directory Profile

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Lillian Benson

Affiliated Divisions:

Division of Film & Television Production

Lillian Benson, A.C.E.

Lillian Benson’s professional body of work as a television video and feature film editor spans thirty years. The native New Yorker was nominated for an Emmy in 1990 for her work on the acclaimed Civil Rights series “Eyes On the Prize II”. She is currently part of the editorial team for the episodic series "Greenleaf". "Greenleaf" tells the story of the inner workings of a megachurch in Memphis and will air on the cable network, OWN. Another recent project, “Maya Angelou- And Still I Rise” was selected for the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Additional documentary editing credits include: “Get In the Way—The Journey of John Lewis."  Wounded Knee, the closing episode of  “We Shall Remain”, the multi-part series on Native American history, winner of the IDA ABCNews VideoSource award, Beyond the Steps-Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (WNET), Craft In America- the 2007 Peabody-award winning series, Smothered- the Censorship Struggles of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (Bravo), Bring Your A Game, a CGI documentary with a “stay in school” message, directed by Mario Van Peebles. A Century of Living, Death by Hanging and Out at Work (all for HBO), and Motown 40th, a Retrospective (ABC).

Lillian has collaborated with director Debbie Allen on several projects including The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker a Christmas musical for BET (2014) Alex In Wonderland , and Life Is Not a Fairytale –The Fantasia Barrino Story, a movie-of the-week for Lifetime television. Their first collaboration was The Old Settler, the film that launched KCET’s new national dramatic series PBS Hollywood Presents.

Benson made her directorial debut with All Our Sons-Fallen Heroes of 9/11, a half-hour documentary about the firefighters of color who died at the World Trade Center and followed it in 2013 with the educational documentary Amen: the Life and Music of Jester Hairston.


Benson is also the first African- American female member of American Cinema Editors and a member of their Board of Directors.