Joi McMillion lives up to her name on a daily basis — you’ll rarely catch the Oscar-nominated editor with anything less than a smile. As the co-editor of Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight, Joi became the first black woman to be nominated for an Oscar for film editing and the proof is in the process. Joi and longtime friend and colleague Nat Sanders knew Barry from their time at FSU’s film program and have since established a long and successful working relationship together. After working on If Beale Street Could Talk, Joi took on a project she’s never worked on before: a television series on a streaming service.
The editing process that awaited her in Amazon’s The Underground Railroad was well-received; Joi frequently spoke on the preservation process of meticulously organizing each episode so that the character’s respective narratives were still accessible, even while editing the beginning and ending of the series at the same time. Joi and Barry’s creative and artistic chemistry is unrivaled, and the work put forward by the production team and players of The Underground Railroad is a testament to it.
I had the immense privilege of speaking with Joi about her creative process, juggling such a new and large endeavor, and the many nuances she took away from working on The Underground Railroad. You can find our conversation in full below and be sure to check out the series available now on Amazon Prime.