A 2021 graduate of Florida State University’s College of Motion Picture Arts and recipient of the prestigious Strickland Pathfinder Award for visionary storytelling, that was also awarded to Barry Jenkins in 2003, Sarah Gambles is a writer and director known for creating racially diverse, LGBTQ, and female-driven dramas and dramedies.
As a multiracial child born in Hawaii, Sarah thrived in the cultural diversity that surrounded her. At age 14, she was thrust into an environment of racial division when her family moved to rural southeast Alabama. Feeling trapped between racial identities, Sarah soon found refuge amongst the artists and thespians in her local high school. Following her high school graduation, Sarah completed her degree in Communication and Fine Arts from Troy University. After completing an internship at NBC Studios in Burbank, California, Sarah went on to work as a Publicity Assistant at NBC and later as a Production Receptionist for John Wells Productions. Sarah completed her Master of Education in 2004 and worked as a teacher, while continuing to pursue creative ventures.
Her first documentary feature, Armor: Biracial in the Deep South, was selected to screen at festivals from New York to Auckland. Following the success of Armor, Sarah was more inspired than ever to continue examining the complexities of the female experience through storytelling. After 15 years of teaching, Sarah decided to further hone her craft as a writer/director by entering Florida State University’s College of Motion Picture Arts where she continued to draw from personal experiences as a woman of color when telling stories and selecting projects. Her next adventures in directing were a web series called All About Alyssa, which she co-created with her sister and writing partner Crystal Bass, and the short films Unbound, Irresistible, and Darling Don’t Cry, It’s Ugly, all of which dealt with exposing the hidden sides of women’s lives that are both driven by, as well as bound to societal expectations and idealisms.
Sarah’s newest films, Fairydust; a magical realism southern fairy tale about the relationship between a lonely biracial boy and his estranged gay uncle, and Dog Daze, a slapstick buddy comedy about a lab experiment with canine side effects, will begin the festival circuit this Fall. During her time at Florida State University, Sarah was also a Wilson-Auzenne Diversity Fellow as well as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for undergraduate screenwriters.
Throughout my childhood and adolescence, I always felt like an outcast as the only queer person in my family. In my teens, my best friend shared with me the story of his gay uncle who moved home to the rural south from the San Francisco area. He had the most magical and loving memories of his uncle and the things they did together, and how those encounters shaped him into the man he is today. We rarely see gay men, especially BIPOC gay men portrayed as positive role models for children. Drawing on my own inspiration as a biracial person and my experiences living in a multigenerational household, I wanted to show a narrative where gay people can come home again, have a positive impact on younger family members, and heal traumas from their pasts.