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Sarah Adina Smith

Sarah Adina Smith

American film director, producer, editor, and screenwriter
Sarah Adina Smith
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American film director, producer, editor, and screenwriter
A.K.A. Sarah Smith
Is Film director Television director Writer Film editor Screenwriter
From United States of America
Type Film, TV, Stage & Radio Literature
Gender female
Birth Fort Collins, Larimer County, Colorado, USA
Poudre High School, Fort Collins, Colorado (-2001)
Columbia University, New York Philosophy 2001-2005
The details


Sarah Adina Smith is an American film writer, director, producer, and editor. She is known for her work on The Midnight Swim (2014), Buster's Mal Heart (2017), and Hanna (2019). She also directed several episodes from the television series Room 104. 

Her films often center around mysticism, spirituality and psychology, and the surreal.

She is repped by Artists First, WME (for directing), and Jon Van Schaik.

Early life and education

Smith was born in Fort Collins, Colorado. 

She graduated from Poudre High School, Fort Collins, Colorado, in 2001. Later, she studied philosophy at Columbia University in New York (2001-2005).


Smith made her entry in the show business in 2006 with a short fantasy film titled Madura, which she wrote, edited, directed, and produced. The film stars Cassie BenavidezAsante Jones, and Stephanie Lugo. In 2009, she directed another short fantasy The Sirens with April Eckfeld and Lily Chapin in the lead cast.

2014 saw the release of her first feature film The Midnight Swim, a POV drama-mystery starring Lindsay BurdgeJennifer Lafleur, and Aleksa Palladino as three half-sisters trying to put their missing mother's affairs in order. The film had its world premiere on July 27, 2014, at the Fantasia Film Festival. It was released on June 26, 2015, in a limited release and through video on demand by Candy Factory Films. For her work, Smith won many awards including the "Audience Award" at 2014 AFI Fest, the "Best Feature Film" award at 2014 Denver International Film Festival, the "Best Screenplay" award at 2016 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards, and a nomination for Grand Jury Prize at 2015 Nashville Film Festival.

In 2016, Smith directed the "Mother's Day" segment of fantasy-horror film Holidays, starring Madeleine Coghlan, Savannah Kennick, and Rick Peters.

Her second directorial feature was Buster's Mal Heart (2017)—a surreal mystery film starring Oscar-winner Rami MalekDJ Qualls, and Kate Lyn Sheil. Smith wrote the script at the Screenwriters Colony in Nantucket, Massachusetts. While finding financing was not difficult for such an unusual script, the biggest challenge was finding someone to cast as the lead. Originally planning to cast a Latino actor due to the bilingual nature of the main character Jonah, Smith widened the search to expedite the casting process, eventually deciding on Rami Malek who she had seen in Short Term 12 and The Pacific. A tarot-card reading confirmed her casting choice. The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2016, and was released on April 28, 2017, by Well Go USA Entertainment. It received positive reviews from film critics and holds a 72% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. For her work, Smith won nominations for the "Best American Independent Feature Film" award at the 2017 Cleveland International Film Festival and the "New Auteurs" Audience Award at the 2016 AFI Fest.

In 2018, Smith wrote the screenplay for Suzi Yoonessi-directed comedy-drama Unlovable, starring Charlene deGuzmanJohn Hawkes, and Melissa Leo.

In 2019, Smith produced eight episodes of Amazon Prime Video series Hanna, based on the 2011 film of the same name, which was directed by Joe Wright. The series was created and written by David Farr and stars Esme Creed-Miles and Mireille Enos. The first episode was made available on Amazon Video as a time-limited preview on February 3, 2019. The full eight-episode first season was released on March 29, 2019, and the second season was released on July 3, 2020. In July 2020, the series was renewed for a third season. She also directed two of the episodes: "Forest" and "Friend".

Most recently, in 2019, she directed and produced one episode ("Famous Last Words ") of the television series Looking for Alaska, which is a television adaptation of John Green's 2005 novel by the same title. 

Smith has also finished work on Birds of Paradise—a drama based on the novel Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small—for Amazon Studios. It will star Diana SilversJacqueline Bisset, and Kristine Froseth. The film currently (Nov. 2020) is in post-production and the release date is yet to be announced.

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