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The visionary cinematographer

Sara Mishara, BFA 99
July 4, 2022
By Richard Burnett, BA 88

Cinematographer Sara Mishara is celebrated for the many award-winning and nominated films she has worked on since graduating from Concordia’s Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, including the 2020 feature film My Salinger Year directed by Philippe Falardeau and starring Hollywood legend Sigourney Weaver.

It was at Concordia where Mishara met another award-winning filmmaker, director Maxime Giroux, with whom she has a long working relationship: “I’ve basically shot every film he’s made,” says Mishara, including Félix et Meira which was Canada’s entry for the 2015 Academy Awards’ best foreign-language film.

Mishara also shot and co-wrote the film Drunken Birds, selected as the Canadian entry for Best International Feature Film at the 2022 Academy Awards, and for which she won Achievement in Cinematography at the 2022 Canadian Screen Awards. The trailblazer’s prolific body of work also includes visually captivating music videos and commercials.

Proudest moment

“This year it was winning a Canadian Society of Cinematographers award in the Theatrical Feature Cinematography category for Drunken Birds, especially because I am the first woman to win that award. I hope it will open the path for more women.”

Career moment

“Making the film Drunken Birds with director and co-writer Ivan Grbovic, BFA 00, who is also my husband and a Concordia alumnus.”

Career challenge

“The film industry is in itself a challenge. While there are great moments of joy, there are definitely a lot of moments of insecurity. The challenge is to try to stay sane and keep your eyes on the goal.”

The Concordia factor

“I still work with some of the people that I met in my classes. It was a very creative time and our teachers were not only supportive but also really pushed us to experiment and try things. Concordia is a big part of who I am today.”

Paying it forward

“I have interns working on my films, especially young women, because I'm trying to get more women into the industry and make film sets less intimidating for the younger generation of filmmakers. I also mentor cinematographers. I have them shadow me on the set.”

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