Sandra Luckow, Filmmaker
Born in Centralia, Washington, Sandra spent the first 18 years of her life in “Twin Peaks” country, the Great Northwest. She had an eclectic childhood: she trained as a figure skater, performed professionally as a ventriloquist. She is devoted to her Mexican heritage as well as her American upbringing.
She received her undergraduate degree from Yale University. Her senior thesis, a feature documentary, “Sharp Edges,” won the Louis Sudler Prize in the Performing and Creative Arts, marking the first time Yale had recognized a film project.
In 1994 portions of the film was used in a segment on 60 Minutes to understand the Harding/Kerrigan scandal and then in 2017 the filmmakers of I, TONYA used “Sharp Edges” as their visual bedrock. Then distributors NEON released “Sharp Edges” world wide in conjunction with the film it inspired.
Sandra received her MFA from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, Graduate Film and Television. She worked for various icons in the filmmaking industry including Frances Coppola, Bonnie Timmerman, Paul Schrader, and Eleanor Bergstein. In 1996 she made “Belly Talkers” for Harvey Weinstein at Miramax which premiered in competition at The Sundance Film Festival. She was associate director at the ABC soap opera “One Life to Live.” She has worked as a camera operator on several reality shows, produced, directed and shot documentaries around the world and exhibited on television and in cinemas nationally and internationally.
In 2018, after spending seven years making the documentary “That Way Madness Lies…” an unprecedented first- hand look at untreated severe untreated mental illness that ravaged her brother and traversing the broken mental health system. The film played the film festival circuit, and was named #6 of the 11 Best Documentaries of 2018 by The Wrap.com. It also won Best of Festival at the 2018 NYC Chain Festival and Best Documentary at the Hot Springs International Women’s Film Festival. it is now distributed by First Run Features, and can be seen on PBS Plus.
2020 marked her 23th year teaching at Yale University’s School of Art and she seamless pivoted her film production classes to online learning in the middle of the spring semester when the university went into lockdown because of the Covid 19 pandemic. She proudly help developed the filmmaking concentration within the Art Major. She also taught film production at Columbia University and Barnard College for well over a decade. She ran and developed a unique six-week production program at Yale Summer Film Institute from 2002-2015. She specializes in teaching young narrative directors how to work with Actors for authentic on camera performances, teaching the use of smartphone camera technology professionally in both documentary and fiction as well as story structure.
She has been part of the Lines and Spaces delegation of the International Writers Program and the US State Department tours to India and Ecuador giving presentations at each country’s universities, film festivals, libraries and cultural centers. During the Ecuadorian tour, she gave all of her presentations in Spanish.
She has written a screenplay, “Blind Man’s Bluff,” and is writing a one-woman show about ventriloquism, identity, listening to voices and being human called “Let Me Explain You.”
Sandra’s new documentary is ⚠️ Danger about the quest of Dr. Bandy X. Lee, forensic psychiatrist at the Yale School of Medicine and the editor of The New York Time Best Seller, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, 37 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President. Information about this film can be found at http://dangerdoc.com.
Sandra is a member of the Director’s Guild of America, The International Documentary Association and New York Women in Film and Television.
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