top of page


California-born, dreaming of rain and snow, Sara Ross-Samko is a director and cinematographer drawn to the misty realms between dream and document. A background in music and theatre informs her approach to image-making and working with puppets, in-camera effects, celluloid, mud, ink, bugs, beasties and all things messy bring her great joy. A graduate of the American Film Institute Conservatory with a degree in Cinematography, she joined the AFI faculty in 2021. Her cinematography has been screened at festivals such as Venice and Telluride and directing honors include participation in the Berlinale Talents Project Lab and IFP Week, a Women in Film Scholarship, a Panavision New Filmmaker Grant, a Kodak Emerging Filmmaker Grant, an American Documentary Film Fund award and a Bridges/Larson Grant for Socially Responsible Filmmaking. 

"Refusing to Ghost," a 16mm feature documentary about a Gold Rush town, is Sara's feature debut as director/DP, co-written and co-produced with her partner, Chris Dennis. In post-production, the film was been selected for the 2018 Berlinale Project Lab and IFP Project Forum.

       Fairy tales, hairy tales, children on the run, lovers on the run, runners on the run, rumors of a gun, hitting home, flying home, lonely hearts, lonely hunters. Floating weeds, sumptuous flowers, voices in the water, heart music from space, a ring in her ear and a fly in your beer. Ghosties, gullumphs, buffoons, mad monks, kings and punks, jesters and skunks. There isn’t a soul you couldn’t learn to love if you only heard their story, and we all get to meet at the movies. 

Equipment Owned: Super 16mm Arri SR3 package, Arri SR116mm camera, Hasselblad Medium Format 

bottom of page