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Meet Sinah Ober

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sinah Ober.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Sinah. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was born in a small village in Germany’s Black Forest to a tailor and a carpenter, where I grew up working class. My first step internationally was a volunteer trip to northern India, which I paid for through a janitor job at the intensive care unit of the city hospital. Afterwards, I studied at the Albert Ludwig University in Freiburg, Germany and later transferred to the University of Iowa, where I graduated summa cum laude with a BA in Cinema, being the first one in my family to experience higher education. At Iowa, I immersed myself in all forms of art, including cinema, performance art, photography, acting, and much more. I had my first art exhibitions, made films, and joined the student cinema. I became the creative collaborator of the intermedia artist Hans Breder, our collaboration focused on an interdisciplinary and transmedia exploration of body and landscape.

Because of its interdisciplinary approach to film production, I then enrolled in the Film Directing Program at CalArts where I received my MFA. At CalArts I strengthened my voice as a director and was an essential creative collaborator on numerous projects. I participated in the Telluride Student Symposium and taught a semester long seminar class, Social Media and Storytelling. My time at CalArts faded naturally into my current work as a freelance director, producer, photographer, and actor. I am presently based here in Los Angeles, but I also work in Berlin and Bogotá.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Working as a director and producer means that my job is to solve problems and overcome challenges. They range from the personal to the technical and often involve communication issues.

Women in this industry face a lot of sexism and doubt, from both men and women alike. While I find this very exhausting, my way of countering it is to aim to empower all of those around me, no matter what their role on set.

Cinema is a tool that allows you to dig deeper into yourself if you are open to that encounter, and that can be emotionally challenging while at the same time necessary to grow as an artist. As a director, I am often talking about felt trauma. As an actor, I am personally entering into a character and their story. But in my art, and in all aspects of my life, I push myself to overcome limitations. That’s where the interesting work happens.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am a freelance director, producer, photographer, and actor.

My work as a director is about connecting with a universal human struggle, whether that struggle is based in family, inequality, society, trauma and pain, or the drive to achieve. Films I directed have screened at several venues, including Big Muddy, Oslo Independent, the Student Experimental Film Festival at SUNY, the International Academic Video Festival in São Paulo, and the International Kansk Video Festival in Siberia, among others.

Besides directing, I have been able to establish myself as a strong collaborator, working on several feature films and more than 50 short films, examples are The Sacred Disease (2016), The Creature (2016), Retreat (2017), The Iron Wall (2017), The Boogeywoman (2018), East of the River (2019), and Gently, Jennifer (2019). My films as a producer have recently screened at the Viennale, Slamdance, Tribeca, OutFest, Palm Springs Film Festival, Portland Film Festival, Baltimore Film Festival, Fantasia (Best Short 2019), as well as elsewhere.

What sets me apart from others is my absolute commitment to the creative and emotional heart of every project. I push my collaborators to creative growth. I specialize in missions that are difficult, hiking gear 8,500 feet up an Idaho mountain and traveling to distant shooting locations with limited resources. I’ve worked from Palm Springs to Providence, from D.C. to Marfa, and from Colombia to Berlin.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
As an artist and a filmmaker, my goal is to make authentic, meaningful human connections, and I am always involved in multiple projects at the same time. Right now, I am looking forward to production on Lisa and Liza (2020), a wonderful absurdist stoner comedy that is not afraid of going deep. The feature-length film is written and directed by Liat Benezra and Shianne Yang, and I am the producer of this (almost) all-female creative team. We are currently crowdfunding and everyone should check us out on IndieGogo!

Other collaborations for the new year are producing The Boogey Woman feature Queen of Swords (2020) in Tennessee and Nacido del Barro (2020) in Colombia, and directing a music documentary I am working on with/about singer-songwriter Suzie Chism here in Hollywood.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Nadia Honary, Riley Shen, Chris Renaud, Rachel Greenberg, Thaïs Castralli, Sophie Bergg, @erickm0ra

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