Sarah Whelden's award-winning approach to cinematography always puts the story first. It starts with asking "why" before ever considering "how."

As a queer trans woman, Sarah has a special place in her heart for those in the shadows. She is drawn to narratives that highlight the often chaotic reality between humans and their surroundings, and to characters that are eager to find themselves but may not know where to start.

Sarah has put in the work to confidently own her personal journey, which is ever evolving, and in doing so, she learned the art of storytelling through sharing one's truth. She brings this self-possessed quality to each project and allows it to lead the narrative.

In our latest episode of Long Story Short, Sarah talks to us about being a storyteller as a DOP, building collaborative workspaces that provide a voice to everyone on set, and what it means to take up space in the world.

For more about Sarah, and work she discusses, visit these links:

The Question [Robin Vada & Carlie Guevara] • LUZ [Jon Garcia] • The Lighthouse [Robert Eggers]

Watch Sarah's video below, and to see all of Muse by Clio and FREE THE WORK’s Long Story Short videos, visit

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