An award winning documentary director and producer, Sara Blecher has recently completed her first feature film, OTELO BURNING, which was shot in Durban, South Africa in July 2010. One of her companies, Real Eyes, has subsequently been awarded funding to develop a slate of feature films for the NFVF (National Film and Video Foundation of South Africa). The first film in this slate AYANDA AND THE MECHANIC, premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival and was just picked up by Ava Duvernay’s new distribution company, ARRAY. AYANDA is currently screening internationally.

In 2009 Sara series-produced and directed the South African version of WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? Based on the BBC format of the same name, this 12 part series traced the ancestry of South African celebrities.

Sara is a co-founder of CINGA PRODUCTIONS, a production company which has in its 15 year long existence made a number of innovative television programs and drama series including the award winning ZERO TOLERANCE for SABC 2. Sara co-wrote, directed and produced episodes for this series. She also freelances as a drama and documentary producer/director.

Sara has made some noteworthy documentaries for Curious Pictures and the SABC’s Award winning current affairs program, Special Assignment, where she worked as a journalist and senior producer for two years. Awards for these documentaries include the Safta award for best documentary for SURFING SOWETO, an Avanti for FROM RUSSIA WTH LOVE (about mail-order brides) and in 2003 a CNN’s African journalist of the year award in the Arts and Culture category for KOBUS AND DUMILE, among others.

She has extensive research and theatre experience beginning her career working on theatre productions and later as a researcher and fixer for numerous television companies, including BBC, WGBH, Channel 4 and NBC. Prior to this she waitressed, modelled, drove elevators, and worked as a journalist in London, Paris, Windhoek, Washington and New York. Her first film related job was as a production assistant on the documentary PARIS IS BURNING.

Sara was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her family immigrated to the United States of America in 1981 when the policies of apartheid became untenable for her parents. She was educated at Stuyvesant High School and later graduated with honors from New York University Film School.

A naturalized American citizen she returned to South Africa as a researcher on a BBC/WGBH documentary soon after graduating from NYU. During this trip she met her future husband, Steve Collins, in 1992 that she interviewed on violence in the war-wracked province of KwaZulu. She has been living in South Africa with him and her three children ever since.

Winning Project: Otelo Burning


Upcoming film, Surfing Soweto: