Former Stories for Broadcast TV

 

My Longer Stories

 

Broadcast Television Documentary Producer

Living With The Enemy —  Channel 4 Witness strand.  Tx Channel 4 Oct 96. Developed with George Carey for Barraclough Carey and directed by Mike Grigsby.  How would you behave if the man you wanted to marry was your country’s enemy? The choices the Channel Islanders made when occupied by the Germans in 1940 bitterly divides the community to this day. (Authored, produced and researched)

The Real Story of the Mozambique Floods — ITN Factual Tx March 2000. A 30 minute documentary on how the West responded to the crisis including interviews with the women who had a baby up a tree. Assistant Producer.


Documentary Series Producer

‘Commanding Heights’  6 x 1 hour series, June 01-02 (PBS America Tx April 2002.)  BBC 4 and BBC2 Series Producer and Director Bill Cran. InVision Productions & Lion TV.  As one of two in house series producers, Sara produced key sections of the series. A 6 X 1 hour documentary series on globalisation and the 'Battle of Ideas.'  It was filmed over two years on five continents. The first documentary series that tells the inside story of the new global economy and what it means for individuals around the world. BAsed on the best selling book by Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw it interviews major 20th Century figures such as President Bill Clinton, Vice President Dick Cheney, Former Presidents Mikhail Gorbechev and Lech Walesa and Chancellor Gordon Brown. “A brilliantly successful documentary series .....no more important program for making sense of our  times has been seen on air in at least a decade.” The Washington Post. The series won many awards amongst these was the Gold Award for Best Series on National and International Affairs, and had various Emmy nominations.


Documentary Director and Camerawoman

The Wee Grey Fergie — BBC ALBA (Scotland) 2009 - tx 8 Feb 2010 One hour documentary on Harry Ferguson the genius behind the Ferguson system which revolutionised farming and led to its efficient mechanisation. It also produced the much loved 'Grey Fergie' and other tractors which have become iconic and have created passionate devotion in farmers, crofters and enthusiasts around the world. Also an aviation pioneer Harry Ferguson was the first Briton to build and fly his own plane and later to design four wheel drive racing cars. Filmed & directed. 

Wootton Bassett - CNN observational Documentary - 30 mins  TX Sept 12 2009 A small market town in Wiltshire has become the focal point for the nation to show their respect and sorrow at the death of the soldiers who give their lives in the Afghanistan conflict. CNN asked Sara to spend a few weeks observing the community during one of the most traumatic periods with the highest level of casualties since the conflict began.  This included the loss of Lt Colonel of the Welsh Guards, Rupert Thorneloe and Joshua Hammond his driver. The highest ranking officer to die since H. Jones in the Falklands. The town were expecting 8 more the week after, and more still after that. Edit directed by Andrew Carey

I Will Never Be Cut  - broadcast on Al Jazeera and The Guardian - 32 min observational documentary TX May 2011

Nancy and Gertrude are two extraordinary Pokot-Kenyan teenagers living in a remote rural part of Northern Kenya where circumcision is every girls rite of passage in to womanhood. Nancy and Gertrude, are refusing to be cut. These pioneers 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 things forever. 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. 

'I will never be cut': Kenyan girls fight back against genital mutilation - Video


 
 

Channel 4 Indies and Youth Films

 

Channel 4 News

Wounded Soldiers: lead story for Channel 4 News on the hidden wounded of the Iraq war. The human cost of war President Bush downplays. We talk to amputees at Walter Reed, film the wounded returning from Iraq and observe a soldiers therapy group for the wounded at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. 14 mins. Tx10 Feb 04 DVD viewing copy available Finalist Rory Peck Impact Award 04 ­ clips used in Michael Moore FAHRENHEIT 9/11) 

The Yes Men — C4News Observational: US Election: Two scallywag satirical eco-activists create a spoof republican campaign bus and tour the marginal states to put people off voting for Bush and have a laugh. 

A Photo-Essay on Victims of Landmine's (A still-photographer's exhibition work made into a short film)

Hunting —  C4News Indie Fund TV Exclusive Feb 05 with John Vidal and the Guardian Film Unit  - The huntsmen of the Ledbury hunt who invaded Parliament and the Labour Party conference in Brighton speak out against the anti hunt bill. 

The Brussels Bubble — C4News Indie Fund May 04 A view from inside the bureaucratic culture, through the eyes of the idealists who sell the concept to the sceptical masses. Plus the sheer linguistic hell of 10 new European languages as the EU expands with a weekend of celebration. 

Serfraz Talks — Two short films for c4n 1) A British Muslim, famous for his spiritual pilgrimage to Mecca, goes on a walkabout in his hometown of Middlesbrough to discover what his community thinks of the Gulf War.  2) He comes to Parliament to challenge MP’s and Ministers to convince him the war has a  “just and moral motive.”  April 03.  

The Gaza Settlers — C4News Indie Fund Co-editing an Israeli filmmakers work, who spent months documenting the settlers lives as their forced removal splits Israel.

 In house Producer : Channel 4 News, ITN 1998-­99 (previous to that ­one year as assistant to Editor of the Home Desk at Channel 4 News)


Working with Children and Teens

Combat Club -  Factual Entertainment — Director of a 13 x 24 min  live action series for Channel 5 TX Autumn 2006  Lupus Films. Combat Club is an action packed factual entertainment series aimed at 6-11 year olds, which examines the history and practice of fighting sports. By looking at each fighting form’s historical roots, and emphasising the self-discipline and commitment involved in learning it as a sport, this series encourages young viewers to channel their energies positively and introduces them to aspects of history in a fun and exhilarating way.

The makeover of Elizabeth Garratt Anderson School. Once known as the School from Rising hell Street it has transformed itself in a revolutionary rebranding process. This film gives 7 of it’s school girls a chance to tell the story of their school and help direct a film. Sept 2007 Shortlisted for LEPA (London Education Partnership Award).

Summit About The Boy,  or Lee Mets Phil — a 30 minute documentary for the Community Channel commissioned by the Media Trust to observe the process of mentoring between at Times Political journalist and a wannabe journo and disadvantaged kid from the streets of Lozells, Birmingham attending the G8 in Rostock Germany 2007 to report on Blair, Bush and the Protesters. Tx June 2007  Winner of the 2008 IVCA Clarion Awards for Television.

Jamaican Overseas Teachers come to the UK— For C4News Independent Film Fund made with Uden Associates. Tx Dec 19th 02  - Two Head Teachers in Doncaster get together to solve the recruitment crisis by going to Jamaica to find staff.  15 minute observational doc/short film on the Jamaicans first term. Filmed and directed  from Sept-Dec 2002

Street Kids - changing young people's behaviour on Llanrumney Street's— C4News Indie Film Fund. Tx: August 2002 – c4N entry for The Rory Peck Award 2002.  2 x 20 minute observational documentaries on how the Youth Inclusion project is tackling endemic crime amongst street kids on a Cardiff estate.  One film follows the street kids on a journey to Belarus and the other on the streets of Llanrumney. (Filmed by myself on DV (PD150) March-July 02


 
 

Women and Africa

 

Channel 4 News, Guardian Films, PBS / BBC broadcast credits

Wole Soyinka on murderous cults in Nigerian University  — C4News Indie Fund July 05 with Noble Prize Laureate - Wole Soyinka A news feature about the murderous fraternity cults rampaging through universities in Nigeria, presented by Wole Soyinka the man wrongfully blamed for their birth. 

Katine, Uganda Series 2008

Guardian Katine — The Guardian Newspaper's project working with Amref - Working with children, musicians , pregnant women and villagers in Katine, Uganda -  Sara made 5 short character led films about the inhabitants of Katine Villiage where the Guardian Newspaper is working with AMREF an African charity in order to observe how development works - or doesn’t work - over a three year period. 

Katine Music and Radio 2008 — Music is woven into the fabric of society and is at the heart of community life, it is a tool of education and development. From radio to ceremony, music is often spontaneously composed and sung with homemade instruments. Screened in the Guardian Cinema.

A day in the life of the Odulai family 2008 — Frances Odulai lives in Katine with his large family of two wives and 18 children. From dawn until dusk we wake up with the family doing morning chores, including releasing their chickens from the coop, milking their only cow and collecting water from the borehole. The children go to school, while the mothers undertake household chores like preparing crops. Dad is a member of the village health teams and Amref has provided him with a bike.  A day in the life of the Odulai family - Video

Women and the dangers of childbirth  2008 — Childbirth in Katine, a rural sub-county of Uganda, is fraught with danger. One in 10 babies die and one in 200 births results in the death of the mother.  We follow Alice Amucu and Mary Amulo, both heavily pregnant, as they prepare for the birth of their babies.  Women and the dangers of childbirth Katine - Video

Enterprising Ugandan women in Katine 2008 — We visit the Tuesday market in Katine to speak to women about the difficulties of generating enough money to support their families. 

Christian Aid 2013 — Directing shoot in South Sudan for the CA 2014 Campaign.

Morgan Tsvangirai during his few years of power sharing with Mugabe. Interview with Zimbabwe Prime Minister


 
 

Our Blue Green Planet

 

Channel 4 News & C4 Indie Fund, Guardian Films, Rolex Awards, John Muir Trust, National Trust for Scotland. 

The Bountiful Sea: The Story of the Wester Ross Marine Protected Area  2015, film made for the National Trust for Scotland to mark the designation of the marine protected area and explain the benefits of protection to the community. 

Saving the Wild in Paraguay with Rolex Awards Scottish biologist  — Karina Atkinson became a trail blazer in a very short space of time, fuelled by her passion to save a vitally important habitat in Paraguay, the home of many endangered species. She is working to create a sustainable model for conservation across the region. Short film for Rolex Award Event and Website 2013.

Rolex Award Winner Elsa Zaldivar Innovates (recycling plastic waste in Paraguay) — 10 min film July/Aug 2008  TX on National Geographic, More 4 and others. A film celebrating the extraordinary Elsa Zalvidar, a Paraguayan green entrepreneur producing cheap eco-housing made from a mixture of luffa (a sponge like vegetable fibre) and recycled plastic in order to help eradicate the housing shortage in Latin America.  She hopes it will help avoid further destruction of the virgin forests and replace the incomes of the Campesinos who cut trees for charcoal and housing with luffa growing.

Chanda Shroff’s Vision — 10 min film September 2006  For Rolex - TX on National Geographic:  A film celebrating the extraordinary Chanda Shroff who has worked tirelessly for 37 years in Kutch, North Western India, to rebuild the economy of the region, and revitalise a dying art. More than that she has rebuilt lives and given hope where there was once despair. The workers have blossomed, and she has nurtured beauty and hope from tragedy and despair. (See Dance, Music, Arts Gallery)

Tunnel Protester's Ingenious Campaign to Save Stanton Hill— Stanton Lees, tree living, tunnel digging protesters are digging deep once again. For four years about 50 protestors have camped at Stanton Lee’s stone Circle stopping a company who wants to dig a vast quarry. The Guardian environment editor John Vidal went inside a tunnel for Channel 4 News. Tx March 04.

John Muir Trust 4 Audio Postcards: Skye, Sandwood Bay, Ben Nevis and Knoydart— 2013 for the John Muir Trust Exhibition Centre in Pitlochy. 


The Guardian’s Highland & Environment Living Lightly Off-Grid Series 2010

Stalking in Mountains of Snow and Ice — Michael Tait meets Stephen Gow of the Inverbroom Estate in Scotland's north-western Highlands to be shown how to stalk wild deer.  Stalking deer in the Scottish Highlands: 'Make sure you've got the wind in your face'

Mike Tait Goes Hawking in the Highlands — Michael Tait visits Scotland's western Highlands to meet Stephen and Jo Wonderley, practitioners of the 4000 year old art of falconry.  Hawking in the Highlands - Video 

Emma Magenta Living Lightly Off-Grid (2 films) — Em Magenta lives in a caravan and yurt on the banks of Findhorn Bay. She lives close to nature with her son Stormy, a few ponies and a handful of doves and chickens. She lives completely 'Off-Grid' sourcing her water, electricity and power from natural or green sources.

Life as an off-grid family - Video

LIfe as an off-grid family:  water and peonies - Video

Zero-carbon house — Living lightly (off the grid). The Reas fell in love with Unst in the Shetland Islands at first sight. Extremely economically, they have built an inspiring zero-carbon house in their dream setting and created an almost completely carbon-neutral lifestyle around it without sacrificing any of their creature comforts.   Living off the grid: Zero-carbon house

Scotland's recycled wind-powered community - Living off the grid: — Innovator Hugh Piggott is a pioneer, he has created dozens of recycled wind turbines and managed to power and maintain the entire community of Scoraig on Scotland's north-west coast. Here he runs courses teaching wind turbine construction to students from all over the world.  

Tom Forsyth Living Lightly — As founder of the Scoraig community and the Isle of Eigg Trust Tom talks about his life, beliefs and living lightly on the land. He tries to live by David Henry Thoreau's maxim: "You can judge a man's contentment in terms of what he can afford to do without."

Green Streets — A series of 4 films on a nationwide British Gas competition in which 64 families try and cut their C02 emissions by 25% over a year. 07/08  The Guardian and British Gas.  See British Gas Green Streets website and The Guardian website

European Forest Resources Group — Commissioned a film to be used to present their case for a Wind Farm to the local Highland community. The film explained what they hoped to achieve and the benefits they wished to provide for the locals. Designed for use at a public meeting and for web broadcast. 

Corporate Solar Power film for Solar Securities


 
 

Food, Art, Dance, and Music

 

Arts, Dance, Music Films (The Guardian & Corporate Films)

Belladrum Festival 2010 — the best festival in Scotland? A celebration of the diversity and creativity of a Highland independent Festival and it's roots in the community. Joe Gibbs the founder explains his vision for it and how it is a blossoming of local creativity as much as it is a music and arts festival. Filmed, Directed and Produced.  Scotland's Belladrum Tartan Heart music festival: 'You have to keep surprising and delighting people' - Video

Chanda Shroff’s Vision — 10 min film September 2006  For Rolex - TX on National Geographic:  A film celebrating the extraordinary Chanda Shroff who has worked tirelessly for 37 years in Kutch, North Western India, to rebuild the economy of the region, and revitalise a dying art. More than that she has rebuilt lives and given hope where there was once despair. The workers have blossomed, and she has nurtured beauty and hope from tragedy and despair. (Directed) 

The Tango: a dance born in a brothel - Born in the sexually repressed India of the early 70s, therapist Supriya Thimmiah has always been fascinated by the Argentine tango. She has got the best teacher in the country - but only 48 hours to convincingly perform 'the dance of pimps and prostitutes'. (Directed, produced and filmed) 

Waiting For The Miracle: The Tango  — A short film on a man obsessed and saved by dancing Tango. (Filmed & directed)

The Fleeting Opera — Max Couper Trust Collection (Art Gallery showing only) July 2000 ‘The Fleeting Opera’ A short DV film, starring Deborah Bull, the Royal Ballet and The  Royal Opera House get together with Judy Dench and Max Couper  for an opera performed live on a barge for the House of Commons & Battersea Park.

The Tale of The Rockness Monster  — Assisted John Martin on camera filming Rockness and the community of Dores which hosts it. 


Foodie Films

El Bulli: A day with Ferran Adrià — In this fascinating behind the scenes film, we view the world's greatest chef at work. And, err, Jay Rayner (apparently) at work  El-Bulli. Filmed, Directed and Produced.

Wild Mushroom Foraging with Emma Magenta in a Highland woodland — Off-grid living and foraging expert Emma Magenta shows us how to gather and identify hedgehog mushrooms and prepares a wild mushroom dish in the woods of Scotlands North West coast. Hedgehog Mushrooms in the Highlands - Video

Foraging for a Highland Seashore Feast — Off-grid living and foraging expert Emma Magenta shows Michael Tait how to gather and prepare a feast of shellfish, wild garlic and edible seaweed on Scotlands North West coast.  Foraging for a Highlands Feast - Video 

Britain’s Meat Heroes with Guardian Films for Guardian Unlimited Website: current production July/Aug 2007. Two 6-8 minute films on organic meat farmers with TV Cook Sophie Grigson. Filmed, Directed and Produced.

Fergus Henderson Cooks a Pigs head — July 2009 Tim Hayward takes a trip to Smithfield, buys a pigs head and takes it to his meeting with Fergus Henderson, his hero and author of 'Nose to Tail Eating' at St Johns restaurant. Fergus suggests Tim shaves it first before he teaches him how  to cook it. Filmed, Directed and Produced.

Melt — Melt is one of the coolest chocolatiers in London. They make the most delicious fresh chocolates in their Notting Hill Kitchen by hand. Watching chocolates being made is an intoxicating experience. Technical and skilled - it smell's divine and tastes out of this world.  Filmed and Directed. Melt Chocolates London - Video


 

Early Career: C4N, ITN, BBC Arts & Stills Photography

Camera on Magazine Programmes & Other Short Films

Various 5 Minute Royal Biographies.  March/April 2007

'Celebrity Doubles' — Uden Assoc. 2003

'Capital Gains' Studio based — Economic magazine Programme. (Plus VT’s inserts filmed and directed by myself on DV)


BBC Arts

Bookworm BBC Arts — Autumn 1999  Once in a House on Fire.  A memoir of a violent childhood in Moss side. (Beta, super 8 and DV)

Master Class BBC Arts — Spring 2000. Three short films on British filmmakers and artists: Peter Blake, John Hoyland and filmmaker Denys Blakeway. (Filmed on DV)


In House Channel 4 News Home desk Producer ( ITN) 1998-99


Documentary Researcher - ITN Documentaries

Channel 4 News; home desk. 1 year as assistant to Editor of the Home Desk

Channel 4 Dispatches 'The Derbyshire'; Compensation for the lives of seamen lost in a typhoon has never been paid despite new evidence that the ship was fatally flawed. 

ITN Prime Time Police Action Live: field producer on a 2 hour fly on the wall live broadcast observing police men and women at work in five OB locations in Britain.

Selina — NBC Chat show guest booker

String of Pearls — LNN Factual -July - Sept 99 Millennium festival promotional film for Carlton.

First Edition;  Jon Snow presents news for children. Researcher for series

ITN Election Programme 97' with David Dimbleby

Channel 5 'Exclusive' assistant producer MBC — Movie reviews

ITN Factual: developed ‘The Falklands War’ and "Hostages" a Premier First on SAS

Countless ‘C4 News midnight specials’ and ‘ITN News at 10 specials’


Freelance TV Drama Production and Photographic Assistant 1989-1992


Stills Photographer Late 1980's