Sarah Whelden on Living Her Truth and Making Space For Younger Filmmakers

Inside the cinematographer's approach to art and storytelling

Sarah Whelden's award-winning approach to cinematography always puts the story first. It starts with asking "why" before ever considering "how."

As a queer trans woman, Sarah has a special place in her heart for those in the shadows. She is drawn to narratives that highlight the often chaotic reality between humans and their surroundings, and to characters that are eager to find themselves but may not know where to start.

Sarah has put in the work to confidently own her personal journey, which is ever evolving, and in doing so, she learned the art of storytelling through sharing one's truth. She brings this self-possessed quality to each project and allows it to lead the narrative.

In our latest episode of Long Story Short, Sarah talks to us about being a storyteller as a DOP, building collaborative workspaces that provide a voice to everyone on set, and what it means to take up space in the world.

For more about Sarah, and work she discusses, visit these links:

The Question [Robin Vada & Carlie Guevara]
LUZ [Jon Garcia]
The Lighthouse [Robert Eggers]

Video edit by Carly Angeloni.

"Long Story Short" is a new Muse video series produced with FREE THE WORK, a nonprofit initiative and talent discovery platform for underrepresented creators. Head to to search for more talented creators to work with. For more about Sarah Whelden, visit her Free The Work page.

Ashley Epping
Ashley Epping is art director of Muse by Clio and program lead at the Clio Awards.

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