Sarah Moshman inspires us through her dedication to telling stories that uplift, inform, inspire and showcase strong female role models on screen. This Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker and TEDx speaker has had her work featured on Upworthy, Marie Claire, CNN, and Good Morning America.
Sarah has directed multiple films focused on female empowerment including Girls Rock! Chicago, Growing up Strong: Girls on the Run, The Empowerment Project: Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things, Losing Sight of Shore and is now working on a documentary examining sexual harassment in the workplace titled NEVERTHELESS.
On May 19th, Tourmaline Properties and Girls On The Run SD will be hosting a screening of The Empowerment Project: Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things (2014). This film has been screened over 700 times around the US and around the world in schools, groups, organizations and corporations starting conversations about gender equality. You can purchase your tickets here.
We sat down with this incredible filmmaker and new mom to learn what makes her gritty.
Tell us a little about yourself. What inspires you? What scares you? Why?
I’m Sarah Moshman and I am a documentary filmmaker, an entrepreneur, a teacher, a speaker, a feminist and a new mom! I am inspired by fearless women. I am inspired by my fellow female filmmakers out there in the world being brave and telling their stories. I suppose I’m scared of not living up to my fullest potential. There is so much I want to see and do and conquer!
You have directed incredible documentaries about female empowerment including Girls Rock! Chicago, Growing up Strong: Girls on the Run, The Empowerment Project: Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things, Losing Sight of Shore and are now working on a documentary examining sexual harassment in the workplace titled NEVERTHELESS. These stories show the raw moments of women that force them to be gritty. Through telling these stories, what do you hope to convey to the world? Why have you chosen to tell these stories?
I see so clearly how important it is that our media represents real, complex, flawed, strong women and that is my mission to shine a light on their stories. Right now our media landscape has so much objectification and sexualization of women and girls. So much of the content we consume is coming from a male lens. I am most passionate about telling stories of “ordinary” women who are truly extraordinary because we have so much to share with each other from our experiences. We have so much more power as women than we can even understand. I think the more girls and women see themselves reflected back to them on screen, the more empowered they can feel in all aspects of their lives. I have seen the power of cinema first hand all over the world! It’s amazing.
What has been the most rewarding thing to come from your experience as a documentary filmmaker?
The most rewarding thing is to be able to go to schools and organizations, meet teenage girls and young women, share my films with them and see that spark occur right in front of my eyes. What a gift it is to be present in the theater to witness these emotions. I am so grateful to be able to travel all over the world to make films as well as share them with audiences. I have screened my films all over the world and have tought workshops about storytelling and entrepreneurship. It’s all more than I ever could have imagined.
How have you been GRACEDBYGRIT? Has there been a gritty moment in your life that has forced you to learn what you are truly made of?
I agree that being GRACEDBYGRIT means that you’ve earned your stripes. For me, one of the gritty moments was being sexually harassed when working in the television industry and having to find my way again. I felt isolated, powerless, and insignificant after working so hard to get where I was.
How has this moment shaped you into the woman you are today?
This moment has shaped me because I use it as fuel to create my own career path. I don’t let anyone else define what success looks like for me. I now make films that support, empower, and inspire women which we desperately need more of. It has inspired me to make a film about sexual harassment entitled NEVERTHELESS so I can work to make the workplace safer for all of us to exist in.
Do you have a favorite story or film you’ve done?
I think Losing Sight of Shore is my favorite film that I’ve made so far. It was an adventure of a lifetime. The film is about 4 women who rowed across the Pacific Ocean from America to Australia! From how it came together, to traveling around the world to follow these heroic women, to ultimately licensing the film to Netflix worldwide, it feels like it was all meant to be. It’s a film I never thought I’d make, and I’m so proud that it’s my work. It makes me tear up every time!
What does a typical day look like for you?
Well, my days are certainly different now with a 5 month old! I wake up with her and feed her, I take her to the park to do a Mommy and Me workout, and then I typically work from home on my latest project which can involve everything from phone calls to Skype interviews, meetings, planning & researching, going out and filming, editing, fundraising, hiring people, and more! Every day is different and I love it.
What can you not live without?
I certainly can’t live without my awesome husband, Ryan, and my little boo Bryce, and I suppose I live by my Google Calendar to keep it all organized! Netflix is essential as well; my favorite shows to watch on repeat are Parks and Recreation, New Girl and the Office.
How do you stay balanced? Where do you go to seek rest and rejuvenation? We know you just had a baby...so if you could seek rest and rejuvenation, where would that be?
I love working out and doing yoga to stay centered. There’s not a ton of rest and rejuvenation going on right now, but I find pockets of it throughout the day. When my baby goes to sleep, I pour myself a glass of wine and melt into the couch trying to rest my brain. I miss going to the movies, that was really my happy place! Soon enough :)
In addition to creating amazing films, you are also an adjunct professor at Ithaca College and the Studio School. What are the takeaways you hope your students learn after taking your class?
I want my students to feel empowered to tell their stories. It’s so easy in film school to only teach about the artistry of making movies, but it’s also so important to be aware of the practical elements like fundraising and distribution. I like that being a filmmaker is like being an entrepreneur and I try to encourage my students and peers to embrace those roles. No one will be as big of a fan for your film as you! It’s a tough lesson to learn, but so important. I wish I had learned more about the business side in film school.
You recently became a new mom. What are your hopes and aspirations for your daughter?
I want Bryce to thrive in a world where she can be treated equally. I want her to be happy for the most part, healthy and driven to pursue her dreams whatever they are. I secretly hope she and I will start a business together someday!
What advice would you give to a young woman who is chasing her dream?
I would say don’t wait for permission to go after your goals. It’s easy to sink into the feeling that we’re not “ready.” But no one ever feels ready! I certainly don’t when I am beginning a new project! If you wait for the phone to ring with that perfect opportunity, it may never come. You have the power to design your own life, and it’s incredibly powerful when you do. Be bold! And don’t be afraid to lose sight of the shore.
Comments will be approved before showing up.
32 C/D - 34 A/B
34 C/D - 36 A/B
34 DD - 36 C/D
36 DD/DDD - 38 B/C