M.F.A. Documentary Film: Class of 2011: Sara Newens

  • Sara Newens has been involved in film and television for over a decade, working primarily as a video editor for CBS News in New York City. Sara is a recent graduate of the M.F.A. Documentary Film and Video Program at Stanford University, where she was awarded a Princess Grace Foundation scholarship, and is currently expanding her student film, Top Spin, into a feature documentary with Mina T. Son. Her film accomplishments include Student Academy Award Regional Finalist, Best Short Documentary at the San Diego Asian Film Festival, and a CINE Golden Eagle Award; and film screenings at many festivals including Sarasota, Starz Denver, Rooftop Summer Series, Lunafest, Mill Valley, Big Sky, BendFilm, and Cinequest. She has also worked for The Edit Center, Barefoot Workshops, and as an Assistant Producer for the award-winning PBS feature documentary, New Year Baby. She received a B.S. in Mass Communication from Miami University of Ohio in 2001. 


    Princess Grace Foundation Award, 2010



    hd video

    16:35 min.


    A resilient young woman learns how the emotional intelligence of horses can facilitate healing as she wrestles with a grim prognosis.



    Best Documentary Short, Prescott Film Festival, 2012

    Silver Award Winner, Student Film Competition, California Film Awards, 2011

    Semi-Finalist, Angelus Student Film Awards, 2011

    Napa Valley Film Festival, 2012

    Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, 2012
    NextFrame Film Festival, 2012

    Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, 2012

    Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival, 2012





    16mm color film

    6:11 min.


    A look into the physical and emotional intensity of fighting wildland fires.





    Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, 2011

    NewFilmmakers Los Angeles at Sunset Gower Studios, 2011

    Rural Route Film Festival, 2011



    Top Spin

    Co-directed with Mina T. Son

    hd video

    11:32 min.


    With hard work and family sacrifice, a young table tennis champion works towards becoming one of the top players in the world.



    Regional Finalist, Student Academy Awards, 2010

    CINE Golden Eagle Award, Student Division – Documentary, 2010

    Best Short Documentary, San Diego Asian Film Festival, 2010

    Cinema by the Bay, San Francisco Film Society, 2011

    Traverse City Film Festival, 2011
    Asian American International Film Festival, 2011

    Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, 2011

    Newport Beach Film Festival, 2011

    San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, 2011

    Cinequest Film Festival, 2011

    Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, 2011
    IAWRT Asian Women’s Film Festival, 2011

    LUNAfest, 2010
    Mill Valley Film Festival, 2010
    BendFilm, 2010
    Starz Denver Film Festival, 2010

    Cantor Arts Center, Party on the Edge, 2010




    The Comfort of Cold

    16mm black and white film

     4:13 min.


    A portrait of one man's ritual escape into the cold waters of the San Francisco Bay and the art that is influenced by his meditative experience.



    Semi-Finalist, Angelus Awards, 2010

    WNET's Reel 13 Shorts Program, broadcast, 2012

    Wild and Scenic Film Festival, 2012
    Neuse Riverkeeper Film Festival, 2012

    Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, 2011
    STARZ Denver Film Festival, 2010

    Rooftop Films Summer Series, 2010

    Sarasota Film Festival, 2010
    San Francisco Ocean Film Festival, 2010
    Alaska Ocean Film Festival, 2010

The French Ambassadors of King Henry II at the court of the English King Henry VIII

Oil on canvas

Holbein, Hans the Younger (1497-1543)

Photo credit: Erich Lessing / Art Resource, NY

Favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Robert Dawson

Students shooting a project



Acrylic on Shaped Canvas

Matt Kahn