From Hanford High to HBO, West Richland native making a name for herself in TV and film

At Hanford High, Jeanna French was part of a broadcast class that put together the The Falcon Report video announcements. Here, she’s pictured with Hanford classmates while working on the show.
At Hanford High, Jeanna French was part of a broadcast class that put together the The Falcon Report video announcements. Here, she’s pictured with Hanford classmates while working on the show.

A Hanford High School graduate is making a name for herself as a TV and film editor, with her latest project set to debut on HBO later this month.

And her success is likely no surprise to those who knew her during her time as a Falcon.

Jeanna French loved film — so much so that when she was assigned oral presentations, she’d often ask to submit a video instead.

“Teachers would almost always say, ‘yes,’” she recalled. “I got a lot of experience doing that.”

French, now 27, spoke to the Herald this weekend while in Los Angeles ahead of her documentary’s HBO premiere.

The film, called Brillo Box (3¢ Off), was directed by Lisanne Skyler, whose parents bought a Brillo Box sculpture by Andy Warhol for $1,000 in 1969.

Four decades later, that same sculpture sold for more than $3 million in a Christie’s auction.

The documentary blends “a humorous family narrative with Pop Art history,” an HBO news release said.

And it’s racking up distinctions, including a slot in the 54th New York Film Festival and a spot on the shortlist for an Academy Award nomination.

It debuts on HBO on Aug. 7. It airs at 10 p.m. EST; Tri-City viewers should check their listings for the local air time.

French served as editor.

Working on Brillo Box (3¢ Off) was rewarding and fulfilling, she said.

She sees a straight line from her success on the project to her alma mater and hometown.

At Hanford middle school and high school, teachers encouraged her, she said.

“I began toying around with a film camera and editing software in my middle school years and thus began my love for editing,” she told the Herald.

In high school, photography teacher Scott Page started a studio broadcasting class, and French and other students produced a daily news show that replaced morning announcements.

“I was production director for (The Falcon Report),” French said. “I got a lot a lot of hands-on experience editing that way.”

She also got her first paid editing jobs at Hanford High, working on the senior class videos for the Class of 2007 and the Class of 2008.

After French graduated in 2008, she went on to the University of Arizona School of Theatre, Film and Television, earning a bachelor’s degree in film/TV studies.

Along with her film work — she also was tapped by Skyler for A Few Things About Robert Irwin, a documentary commissioned for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s annual Art+Film gala — French also is as an editor and associate producer on the PBS travel series In the Americas with David Yetman.

She loves her work, she said — both for the technical skills it demands and the creativity it requires.

“When you sit in front of hours and hours of footage, there’s something so exciting and challenging about figuring how you’re going to piece it together and create something meaningful,” French said.

“As a creative person, it’s totally exhilarating,” she said.

French is the daughter of Mickey and Mary K. French of West Richland. Her older brother, James, lives in New York, where he practices law.

Jeanna French is based in Tucson.

She’s excited for Brillo Box (3¢ Off)’s debut, she said. And she’s thankful for the encouragement and inspiration she received while growing up in the Tri-Cities.

“I’m very grateful to my teachers and (school community) for encouraging creativity and allowing me the space to explore creative ventures,” she said. “Without that, I don’t know if I would have chosen this career. I had all these opportunity to create videos and get my feet wet in that field. I’m very grateful for those early experiences.”

Sara Schilling: 509-582-1529, @SaraTCHerald