Sarah Michelle Brown
Writer, Director, Producer – Fire Up Productions
Sarah Michelle Brown’s passion is for telling stories that reach out and give audiences a powerful experience. She is a multi-passionate artist who writes and directs for ﬁlm, music videos, documentaries and for the stage.
Since studying at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theater in New York City, Sarah has been writing, directing and producing primarily her own ﬁlm and theatre projects. She shadowed Oscar winner Paul Haggis in New York City and Los Angeles, and writer/director Bobby Moresco in Chicago. That same year, Sarah was one of eight women selected to participate in the Women in the Director’s Chair program in Banff.
Sarah created the concept for, and directed music videos for acclaimed Canadian artists Shad and Saidah Baba Talibah, and has several more in the works. Sarah was the winner of a coveted spot at the 2013 New York International Fringe Festival, the 2009 Next Stage Theatre festival as well as the Chapters Best Text award for writing at the St. Ambroise Montreal Fringe festival, all for her uplifting stage play, First Hand Woman.
Lately, Sarah has been focused on true-to-life stories: A short documentary, Book of Love, about the dearly departed Leonard and Gwendolyn Johnston of the Third World Bookstore. She also grabbed her camera and created Toronto Marched with You, about the Womens March in January 2017.
In 2016, she began to realize that she HAD to do something about what she saw going on around her in the world. She knew she wanted to make a film about empathy, and its apparent decline. But it wasn’t until June 2017 that she made the decision to make it a reality. And so, the idea for the docuMOVEMENT “D) All the Above”, was born.
As a creator with over 20 years of experience, Alison has a hand in virtually every form of content creation there is. From music videos to documentaries to film, she brings an eclectic, nuanced perspective to each and every art form.
In 2001, Alison made her directing debut in the music video industry. Her sharp, creative eye put her behind the camera of various artists’ music videos such as Maestro, Fresh Wes, Glenn Lewis, and Nelly Furtado. It was opportunities like these that eventually led her to create her own hip-hop film, Raisin’ Kane: A Rapumentary, which was produced by the National Board of Canada.
She has worked as a segment producer for Gemini Award-winning documentary series Sex TV on CHUM Television and directed the documentary A Deathly Silence for CBC Witness and Newsworld. It was there that she began working other filmmakers like Yvonne Welbon (Sisters in Cinema, 2007), Andrew Niskers (Garbage: The Revolution Starts at Home, 2008), and Dany Chiasson (My Joan of Arc, 2009).
Since then, Alison has lent her efforts to honing in on issues of social justice. In 2005, she produced Hear the Story, a 28-minute documentary commissioned by the City of Toronto that looks into the stories of racialized youth in Toronto. Two years later, she created Traditions and Transitions, a 40-minute project that explores the lives of six extraordinaire senior immigrant women who become activists. One year later, she produced The Woman I Have Become a 60-minute commission by several Ontario AIDS service organizations that candidly highlighted the plight of eight African and Caribbean women living with HIV.
But it wasn’t until 2012 when her documentary Positive Women, a documentary about four women affected by Canadian HIV non-disclosure law, helped solidify her position in the Canadian documentary film world. This film was commissioned by The Canadian HIV/AIDS Network, and screened over 150 times around the world, including at Broadway Cares in New York.
With an intimate and creative style, it’s no wonder why she’s a well sought-out director. Often alternating between directing and producing, she frequently collaborates with filmmakers in the city. She enjoys producing informative, factual, digital content that follows personal journeys, history and social justice stories.