Director Sarah Watt, Producer Bridget Ikin

Sarah Ann Watt (30 August 1958 – 4 November 2011) was an Australian film director, who made made award-winning animated short films before moving into live-action. She was a passionately creative person, a great storyteller, and was known for her wry sense of humour and singular vision.

Born in Sydney, Watt completed a Graduate Diploma of Film and Television (Animation) at the Swinburne Film and Television School (now VCA), Melbourne in 1990. Her student film “Catch of the Day” was to reflect the style of future work. In 1995, she directed a short film, Small Treasures, which won Best Short Film at the Venice Film Festival. The film, a 15-minute animated short, grew out of the experience of losing her first son Cosmo in childbirth. The film was part-autobiographical but also expanded from her own circumstances into the universal experience of grief and loss.

In 2000, she made a program for the SBS series; Swim Between the Flags, and Living with Happiness won her an AFI award in 2001. However it was her film debut with the movie Look Both Ways in 2005 that shot her to wider acclaim. The movie was shot in South Australia in 2005 and was featured at the opening-night of the Adelaide Film Festival. It won four AFI awards, including best director, best original screenplay and best film. Her second film My Year Without Sex was released in 2009.

Watt taught animation and assisted in the development of many animators at the VCA School of Film and Television, including Academy Award winner Adam Eliot. She was instrumental in the development of scripts for all of her students, but left the school to further develop her own projects, returning on occasion as a script and final production assessor. Her work is represented in a permanent collection at MOMA, New York.

Watt also wrote and illustrated the children’s picture book, Clem Always Could, and she and her husband and actor William McInnes wrote Worse Things Happen At Sea, a series of reflections on family life that was published shortly before her death.

During the post-production of Look Both Ways, Watt was diagnosed with cancer. She died on 4 November 2011 after suffering for six years with breast and bone cancer, aged 53. Sarah and William had two children, Clem (b. 1993) and Stella (b. 1998).