"The power of documentary portraiture to convey the nuance and subtlety of human experience is undeniable."
Sally Rubin is a documentary filmmaker, editor, and professor who has worked in the field for over 25 years. She recently completed Mama Has a Mustache, a fully animated documentary about kids and gender identity. The film premiered at Outfest in 2021 and screened at the San Francisco International Film Festival, MountainFilm in Telluride, the Hamptons International Film Festival, and many others. Rubin also recently completed a commissioned piece for the Smithsonian called Appalachian Futures, released in January 2022.
In 2018 she completed Hillbilly, a feature documentary about media stereotypes of Appalachia. The film streamed on Hulu and Al Jazeera, and is now available on iTunes, Amazon and beyond. Hillbilly is in distribution through 1091 Media (Cartel Land, Life Animated), funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts, won the Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the Los Angeles Film Festival, and has been praised by Michael Moore and Dolly Parton. In 2014 Rubin completed Life on the Line (with Jen Gilomen) about a teenage girl growing up on the U.S./Mexico border. The film broadcast nationally on PBS and premiered at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Rubin's previous film, Deep Down was an ITVS-funded feature-length documentary about two friends in eastern Kentucky who find themselves divided over mountaintop removal coal mining near their homes. The film was part of the 2010-2011 Independent Lens Emmy-winning PBS series, and has reached almost 1.5 million people through its broadcast, distribution, and outreach campaign. It was nominated for an Emmy for its Virtual Mine outreach project, in the category of New Approaches to News and Documentary. It was funded by Chicken and Egg Pictures, the MacArthur Foundation, ITVS, and the Fledgling Fund.
Rubin's other credits include The Last Mountain, a film about her father's death in a hiking accident that was broadcast on PBS, Robert Greenwald's Iraq For Sale: The War Profiteers and the television series The Freedom Files (editor), as well as David Sutherland's 6-hour Frontline special Country Boys (associate producer), and Riverwebs (editor), which broadcast nationally on PBS. In 2004 Rubin founded the groundbreaking Straight Outta Grrrlville Film Festival in San Francisco, and continues to produce local events and benefits for artists and filmmakers, in conjunction with her own continued work.
Rubin is a full-time documentary professor at Chapman University. Other professional memberships and affiliations include: Doculink Steering Committee: Member; Doculink Planning Committee: Member; Tenth Muse Films: President of the Board; International Documentary Association: Member; International Documentary Association David Wolper Award: Member, Screening and Judging Committees; International Documentary Association Awards: Feature Documentary Judge; New Day Films Cooperative: Member/Owner.
After earning her M.A. in Documentary Film and Video from Stanford University, Rubin fell deeply in love with the field of documentary film, where she hopes to continue working for a very long time.