Storytelling, Independent Feature Documentaries & Impact Campaigns
The Sun Dance Journey: the Gift, an authored feature documentary, self funded over the last 15 years. A story of mythological dimensions it tells the story of reconnection and healing between the Native and non Native people of America. A true story, in the vein of Dances With Wolves or Avatar, it highlights the enormous need for the indigenous perspective in our era of ecological & human crisis. It begins with a vision and the meeting of two remarkable men who can help fulfil it; one of them is Chief Crowdog the former spiritual leader of the American Indian Movement. Spirit-led to share the Lakota tribe's most sacred healing ceremony with non natives, despite the controversy, he chooses a non native Texan lawyer to become a Sundance intercessor. Through the extraordinary story of these two leaders, and two Sundances, the film explores how the ceremony has begun to heal the wound at the heart of America. It charts the process of forgiveness, awakening and renewal. 2018 is the 150th anniversary of the Fort Laramie Treaty which betrayed the Lakota people, the film hopes to bridge these two cultural stories and find the common root we share. Principal photography is complete and the film is in post production.
See Indigenous section for links to a few snapshots of life on the reservation.
Nancy A One Girl Revolution, In Dec 2010 Sara directed, produced and filmed a short film called I Will Never Be Cut. The film won two Webby Awards and was runner up for the Rory Peck Sony Impact Prize. After helping fund the education of Nancy and Gertrude who were the main characters featured in the film, Sara was awarded a WorldView grant (from the Commonwealth Broadcasting Assoc.) to fund development of another film, this time focusing on Nancy. Since then the filming has been funded by a combination of crowd funding and private donation and herself. In 2013 Sara began following Nancy's story as she worked to fulfil her dream to be an example for others.
Nancy, is a charismatic and fearless breaker of her tribe’s taboos. Now a well known figure in her own area of North Western Kenya, she wants equality for girls. For Nancy this means education, freedom from abuse and the eradication of child marriage and Female Genital Mutilation. Ambition enough for any conviction politician but Nancy, a girl from a remote rural area, was still just a school girl when she pledged to be an example to others and resist FGM. Over the next 5 years Sara followed Nancy as she travelled to remoter and even more traditional parts of her tribal area helping spread the word far and wide to girls wishing to escape the ‘Cutting Season’. Unexpectedly left alone, Nancy sought ways to challenge chiefs, elders and the whole patriarchal cultural tradition of her tribe. However the film is not about FGM, it is a human story of a charismatic young woman who follows her heart to inspire others and ultimately stands for the triumph of hope and above all: to thine own self be true.
Nancy A One Girl Revolution came out of the connection Sara made with Nancy when making I Will Never Be Cut.
The 2010 film I Will Never Be Cut - was broadcast May 2011 on Al Jazeera and The Guardian. It was an 32 min observational documentary. In 2010 two Pokot-Kenyan teenagers, Nancy and Gertrude, living in a remote rural part of Northern Kenya, where circumcision is every girls rite of passage in to womanhood, refuse to be cut. These two pioneering young girls, are willing to defy their family's expectations and challenge their culture's taboos in order to save themselves. With the help of a grassroots group of men and women prepared to support them, they take on centuries of tradition in an attempt to transform their culture forever. Their generation is the first to be able to challenge this ancient tradition. This is an observational film with extraordinary access to the internal family conflicts of a tribe in the process of radical change. I Will Never Be Cut won two Webby Awards for Best Single Documentary (The Peoples Choice and The Judges Choice). It was also Finalist for the Rory Peck Sony Impact Award 2011.
See Women section for links to website and trailer.
For a filmmaker the underwater world is an endless source of curiosity, beauty and inspiration. In 2015 the National Trust for Scotland asked Sara to mark the creation of Wester Ross Marine Protected Area with a film to explain the purpose and benefits of the MPA. She made The Bountiful Sea - The story of the Wester Ross Marine Protected Area. Woven into the story was the indigenous Highlander's ancient connection to the sea as a living spirit, embedded in the oral tradition. Connecting with a traditional Highland storyteller furthered Sara's fascination with myth, ceremony and storytelling, but this time within her own cultural tradition.
More Stories from Wester Ross Marine Protected Area
There is great delight in the discovery of new creatures and life forms as well as capturing this on film to bring the underwater world alive for others. Since Wester Ross MPA was protected from dredgers, an enthusiastic team of like minded people have collaborated to support surveys and begin a process of mapping the MPA through citizen science. Andy Jackson ( SubSeatv scuba diver-cameraman and storyteller ) has helped us glimpse the stunning diversity of creatures in Wester Ross. Out of Andy's beautiful footage Sara has been able to produce a variety of short films. Staying above sea level for the time being, Sara's part has been in recording the collaboration between fishermen, scientists, Seasearch divers, marine scientists, diver-cameramen and members of the community. This way she has been able to share the process of discovery as the MPA recovers and document the community's support for it...see the series of films celebrating the 1st birthday of the MPA. These Happy Birthday Wester Ross MPA films were co-produced and funded by Don Rice. Film 1 and 2 are edited by Tom Nicholl
See SEA section.