Sarah Barton has worked mainly as a documentary writer and director since graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts School of Film and Television in 1992. Her first documentary Untold Desires (SBS 1994 – producer Eva Orner) dealt frankly with the topic of sexuality and disability. This film won numerous awards including a Logie Award and an AFI Award, and is still screened regularly around the world.
In 1997 Sarah wrote and directed Secret Fear (SBS 1997 – producer Eva Orner) a film about anxiety disorders, and obsessive compulsive disorders. Also in 1997 Sarah worked as a producer for the Seven Network on the 13 part series Kids Ward and in 1998 directed Village People Go North Down Under for the Nine Network.
Her next independent film A Wing and A Prayer (SBS 2000) was co-written with producer Catherine Dyson and profiles a group of Muslim women from the Horn of Africa living in Melbourne. This film screened internationally, including on Oxygen in the USA.
In 2003 Sarah developed the award winning community television series No Limits, which looks at living life to the fullest with a disability. Sarah was the founding series producer of this long running series which still screens on community television stations across Australia. During her three year tenure she produced 70 half hour episodes and the series won numerous community television awards for excellence including three Program of the Year Awards. In November 2011 Sarah was asked to return to Grit Media the organisation that produces No Limits. She currently works 2 days a week as their CEO.
Outside the broadcast arena Sarah has written and produced numerous programs for not for profit organisations including The Association for Children with a Disability, The Communication Aide Users Society, Riding for the Disabled, The Disability Services Commissioner and DEAL Communications.
In 2008 Sarah was a finalist in the Australian Government’s National Disability Awards in recognition of her work over many years advocating for the rights of people with a disability through her film and television productions. In 2010 Sarah was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to travel to England and America to research her documentary about the disability rights movement. This film, Defiant Lives, will be released late 2016.
Thursday 14th September, 2017: 10:30am - 12:30pm
Defiant Lives introduces the world to the most impressive activists you’ve never heard of and tells the story of the rise and fight of the disability rights movement in the United States, Britain and Australia. Featuring exclusive interviews with elders (some now deceased) who’ve led the movement over the past five decades, the film weaves together never-before-seen archival footage with the often-confronting personal stories of disabled men and women as they moved from being warehoused in institutions to fighting for independence and control over their lives.