Shooting a documentary at 16,000 feet in Tibet. This was before she was put in an oxygen tank! circa 2006

Shooting a documentary at 16,000 feet in Tibet. This was before she was put in an oxygen tank! circa 2006

Sara is an Oscar and EMMY Nominated, and International Documentary Association (IDA) Winning documentary director who began her filmmaking journey as a veritè style filmmaker, intimately following her subjects with a camera as a one-woman-crew. For two years, Sara embedded herself with dozens of young Iraq War Vets involved in the Combat Paper Project. Processing trauma through art became the subject of two films, “Iraq, Paper, Scissors” and “Poster Girl,” the latter about an all-American apple pie cheerleader turned tough-as-nails gunner in the Iraq War who returns home to battle her demons and the dysfunctional VA system. The film premiered at the Telluride Film Festival, had its HBO broadcast in 2012, and received International acclaim.

Over the past three years, Sara took a more lighthearted approach with a music-in-film trilogy - a behind-the-scenes musical journey across gender, generations, and cultures. The first of the series, "Women Who Score" celebrates 20 award-winning women composers - including Diane Warren, Laura Karpman, and Miriam Cutler - struggling to get past the Hollywood gatekeepers.  It was nominated for a Hollywood Music in Media Award (HMMA) for Best Music Documentary. This film was followed by "The Berklee Seven", featuring a promising new crop of film composers enrolled in Berklee College of Music’s most elite course, and what it takes to be the next John Williams. The trilogy concludes with the feature documentary, “Two Beats, One Soul”, a genre-bending musical journey with “Dancing With the Stars” Musical Director, Ray Chew, and a new generation of Cuban musicians who wrote and recorded 13 songs in just two weeks.

Early in her career, Sara received mentorship from her father as a run ‘n’ gun Director/DP. Together, they made socio-environmental films while spanning the globe, including a remote peninsula off the coast of Siberia, where a boating accident left them considering a dull life selling insurance. Other adventures included living in a tent for a summer in Alaska where she worked as a sea kayaking guide, and trekking across Eastern Tibet as a one-woman crew, following 30 doctors delivering aid to nomadic Tibetans. She remembers a rare moment of rest inside an oxygen tank at 16,000 feet.

Living in LA, Sara spends most of her time at sea level with both feet on the ground but is raring to go on new adventures. Sara loves to cook, do yoga, and has rediscovered her passion for photography. She serves on the board of Warrior Writers.



Sara Nesson