Past Events

Editing Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult with Inbal B. Lessner, ACE and Gillian McCarthy

Editing Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult with Inbal B. Lessner, ACE and Gillian McCarthy
Jan 12, 2021

This event took place on January 12, 2021

Presented in English / Présenté en anglais

Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult chronicles the extraordinary and harrowing journey of India Oxenberg – the daughter of Hollywood actress Catherine Oxenberg and a descendant of European royalty – who was seduced into the modern-day sex-slave cult NXIVM. More than 17,000 people, including India, enrolled in NXIVM’s “Executive Success Programs,” a front for the cult and a hunting ground for its leader, master predator Keith Raniere. Women in DOS, a secret master-slave society within NXIVM, were sex-trafficked and branded with a cauterizing iron. Both about a mother trying to save her daughter and recovery from trauma, the series follows India’s seduction, indoctrination, enslavement, escape – and her role as “co-conspirator” in assisting the U.S. government with bringing down Raniere and his criminal enterprise. In addition to being a rigorous and unsparing examination of India’s abuse and her own culpability, it explores how India and a chorus of other women are still grappling to make sense of their experience. The series also showcases extensive insider footage and exposes the inner circle of enablers around Keith Raniere.

This series is about women by women. It had women in all key positions, and they took great care in creating an environment for the cult survivors who shared their stories, in which they felt supported before, during and after filming. We will discuss the ins and outs of shaping such a complex and sensitive story and the challenges that Inbal and Gillian came across in the edit suite.

Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult is available on Crave in Canada and on the Starz app almost anywhere else, a secure link will also be shared with people who RSVP! This talk will be moderated by Sarah Taylor.

Sarah Taylor is award-winning editor with over eighteen years of experience. She has a passion for storytelling and has cut a wide range of documentaries, corporate videos, television programs, and full length feature films. Her work has been seen in festivals around the world including Sundance. She is a member of the Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) and is the host of the CCE podcast The Editor’s Cut.

Inbal B. Lessner, ACE, is an Emmy® and Eddie-nominated editor and producer. On her latest project, “SEDUCED: Inside the NXIVM Cult,”  which she co-created with her filmmaking partner, Director Cecilia Peck, she takes on the roles of Lead Editor, Writer and Executive Producer. This four-part documentary series, premiering on STARZ, follows one young woman’s perilous journey through the dark and criminal world of NXIVM, the notorious self-help-group-turned-sex-slave-cult. 

Inbal and Cecilia Peck’s last collaboration was the Emmy-nominated feature documentary Brave Miss World, which debuted on Netflix in 2014. It is the story of an Israeli beauty queen, who was raped seven weeks prior to her winning the Miss World pageant, and her crusade to reach out to fellow survivors while trying to keep her own rapist behind bars. 

In 2019, Inbal edited and co-produced “The Movies: The Golden Age,” executive produced by Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman and Mark Herzog. This was the latest in her 4-year-long collaboration with the team that produced CNN’s Emmy-nominated “Decades” series. Inbal has edited seven episodes in the series and was nominated for an ACE Editing Award for “The Nineties: Can We All Get Along.”

Inbal’s editing credits include ReMastered: The Two Killings of Sam Cooke (Netflix Original, Dir. Kelly Duane), nominated for an Outstanding Documentary NAACP Image Award, and Autism: The Sequel, (HBO, Dir. Tricia Regan), a follow-up to the Emmy-winning Autism: The Musical (2007). She edited and co-produced the internationally acclaimed, award-winning, I Have Never Forgotten You, about Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal.  Inbal also directed the docudrama Night Bites and was second-unit producer on the HBO/ARTE documentary Watermarks.

Over the course of her career, Inbal has worked in the cutting rooms of directors such as Davis Guggenheim (Teach), R.J. Cutler (“American Candidate”), Kief Davidson and Daniel Junge (A Lego Brickumentary), Jeremy Simmons (“Transgeneration”), Tracy Droz Tragos (Be Good, Smile Pretty) as well as Natalie Portman’s feature directorial debut (A Tale of Love and Darkness). 

Inbal began making films when she was in high school and later produced training films for the Israeli Defense Forces.  At NYU, she was the recipient of the prestigious, merit-based, WTC Johnson Fellowship, awarded to one student filmmaker a year.  Since moving to Los Angeles, Inbal has edited hundreds of hours of non-scripted network and cable television shows. She was also a Visiting Professor at UNCSA Film School, and a mentor in the Karen Schmeer Diversity in the Edit Room Program.

Gillian McCarthy is an accomplished editor whose creative style combines compelling storytelling with a cinematic sensibility.  Her feature documentary credits include the Oscar nominated Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience, Girl Rising, and Above and Beyond: 60 Years of NASA. Her television credits include work for ABC, PBS, Showtime, STARZ, Discovery and OWN.  She learned her craft working in the most precise form of visual storytelling, the television commercial, editing countless national campaigns in New York and Toronto.  A dual American and Canadian citizen, she lives in Los Angeles.

With thanks to our sponsors

About the Event

January 2021

5:00pm -7:00pm CT



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