A moving image artist trained in photography and the documentary tradition, my work is concerned with devotional practice – explored in my feminist experimental films about motherhood, and in portraits of artists and other humans in restless and hot pursuit of wild dreams, private obsessions, radical futures, and mystical enthusiasms. My ardor for archives, poetry, buried histories and archaic media defies easy branding. I am here to explore the scary dark rainbow of time.
Still from This Existence is Material (2003)
The films of Sasha Waters are “nothing short of groundbreaking.” Her feminist portrait of three dominatrixes in pre-9/11 New York – Whipped – funded in part by Sub Pop Records – was selected for the first-ever Sundance Producers conference and aired nationally on the Sundance Channel in the early 2000s. Her next film, Razing Appalachia, aired on the acclaimed PBS series Independent Lens and was the first ever feature documentary about the devastations wrought by mountaintop strip mining. More recently, Sasha’s deep dive into the archives of trailblazing American photographer Garry Winogrand fundamentally challenged and changed the art historical understanding of his legacy. The resulting film Garry Winogrand: All Things are Photographable was called one of the year's best by The New Yorker, won a Special Jury Prize for “Best Feminist Reconsideration of a Male Artist” at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival, and screened theatrically around the world. Her research also led to Garry Winogrand Archive 1948-1984, a book project currently underway. Also in progress is a concert documentary Trouble Don’t Last – part love letter, part eclectic gospel mix tape –sparked by Sasha’s quest to rescue from obscurity the unfinished film about the Soul Stirrers by artist and filmmaker Bruce Conner. Originally filmed in 1984 and currently in post-production, Trouble Don’t Last has received support from the Catapult Film Fund, Field of Vision, the Denver Film Society and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Sasha’s essay films and experimental shorts – from Chekhov for Children – a Top Ten mention in the Senses of Cinema World Poll – to 16mm films such as Respiration and Fragile – embrace a personal, artisanal approach to craft. Her work has been exhibited at Kassel Dokfest, Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin; Microscope Gallery, Vox Populi, Anthology Film Archives, Pacific Film Archive, the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of the Moving Image; Union Docs, the Library of Congress, the Speed Art Museum and the Gene Siskel Film Center, among other international venues. Selected festival screenings include IMAGES in Toronto, the Telluride Film Festival, the San Francisco International Film Festival, the Rotterdam, Tribeca, Ann Arbor, Woodstock, Chicago Underground, Big Sky Documentary, Vancouver International, and Palm Springs Film Festivals.
Sasha has completed residencies at MacDowell, Yaddo, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts; was awarded a 2019-20 Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship and is the 2016 recipient of the Helen Hill Award from the Orphan Film Symposium. A professor of Film and Art Foundation at VCU in Richmond, Sasha is included in Edited By: Women Film Editors, a survey of women who "invented, developed, fine-tuned and revolutionized the art of film editing," and in the FemEx Film Archive, an ongoing collective archive of interviews with feminist experimental filmmakers.