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Sara was first trained as a stills photographer but her TV/Film career began when she developed a one hour documentary idea about the Nazi Occupation of the Channel Islands and was given the chance to work with the well-known auteur director, Mike Grigsby. Together they made a 1 hour documentary film for Channel 4's 'Witness Strand'.
Beginning a short apprenticeship at ITN News, after some months she moved from News into documentary production at ITN Factual, working across a range of programmes including Channel 4 News’s Midnight Specials with Sue Inglish. When the Channel 4 News Home Editor needed an assistant, Sue recommended Sara for the job and she spent the next few years with C4 News. It was here she received her journalist’s training although she is first and foremost a filmmaker/artist. Later she became a producer/director making films for the day’s news where she honed her skills for keeping her head in a crisis and thinking creatively under pressure by meeting some very scary deadlines.
After some years Sara went freelance in the hope of returning to Documentary whilst continuing to work for Channel 4 News and Guardian Films, supplying mini-documentaries for News programmes through the C4N Indie fund. 'Wounded Soldiers,' broadcast on C4News, was one of 3 finalists for the Rory Peck Sony Impact Award and was used by Michael Moore in Fahrenheit 9.11. Whilst at Channel 4 News she managed to cram in a Masters Degree in Film and Cinema, although the final dissertation clashed with a job abroad so she did not get her essay in on time and was awarded a Higher Diploma instead.
Between making films for C4N and The Guardian, Sara began working at BBC ARTs, and on art films of her own. In 2000 she was asked to produce an epic documentary series on globalization with Bill Cran of InVision Productions. This took her around the world and gave her the opportunity to meet some of the World’s greatest leaders, and thinkers, amongst these were Lech Walesa. This was followed by a half hour fast-reaction film on the ‘Real Story’ about the devastation following the Mozambique Floods. Both these films gave her vital experience in working abroad, particularly Africa.
In 2002 Sara began researching a feature length documentary film about The Lakota Tribe, their Sun Dance Chief and also the first White Texan Sun Dance Chief. This has become her passion so she has spent several summers in America filming it and has self-funding the film to date.
Her purpose as a film maker is to tell a powerful and emotional story with integrity. Working with people in situations which requires trust and sensitivity whilst making films that captures the intimacy and spontaneity of the people whilst still retaining emotional authenticity. She is now editing this film as a work in progress.
Sara has often enjoyed working with children. She worked with 'street kids' in Cardiff when she made a 25 minute observational film for Channel 4 News about a party of young Cardiff boys involved in crime who, as part of a Youth Inclusion Programme, travelled by road to Belarus to help disabled children in an orphanage. This film was one of the most moving experiences Sara has encountered as a filmmaker. She has since worked with children again when she helped schoolchildren produce a film about the re-branding of their school. She also worked with talented young athletes10-12 years old, in the 13-part Combat Club series for Channel 5. Working with children and a large crew, it was one of her greatest challenges; to be creative with a small budget and limited time. She has further expanded her experience of filming abroad when working for The Proudfoot Company on the Rolex Award Scheme in India and in Paraguay on films about extraordinarily dedicated people helping to save the environment or helping the poor.
Sara's work with The Guardian over the last 5 years has been very varied, working across a wide spectrum from Environment, innovation in renewable technology, schools, Arts, Dance and films about villagers in Uganda plus many corporate clients. During this time she made a film with Wole Soyinka, the Nobel Prize winner, about the murderous cults wrecking University Campus life in Nigeria, where she had spent several years as a teenager. Her film on the best restaurant in the world 'el Bulli' with Jay Rayner and another about Learning to Dance the Tango received very high viewing figures. She also worked on films with corporate clients such as British Gas and Eblex etc. Making promotional films helped Sara to understand how the creative process works to build a company’s 'brand image' and to capture the essential qualities of that brand on film. This she also found stimulating and plans to work more in this area, whilst maintaining her documentary work. She can edit on Avid and has recently taken a course in Final Cut Pro editing.
Sara's work at Channel 4 News, Guardian Films and on her own feature documentary has given her many years of experience, working both as a camera operator and director, often alone and sometimes in hostile circumstances. In summary - as a TV director who originally trained as a stills photographer Sara believes 'the look' of the film is as high a priority as the content, yet this is not style without substance. Her long apprenticeship at ITN and Channel 4 News gave her the skills of a journalist too which she combines with natural creativity and artistic flair.
Please see 'Links and Filmography' for more details and links to websites for viewing a number of Sara's films which are broadcast on the Guardian website. Longer films can be shown in DVD.