Sarah Jacobson

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Sarah Jacobson
Born(1971-08-25)August 25, 1971
DiedFebruary 13, 2004(2004-02-13) (aged 32)
EducationEdina High School
  • Film director
  • screenwriter
  • producer
Years active1993–2004

Sarah Jacobson (August 25, 1971 – February 13, 2004) was an American film director, screenwriter, and producer.


Jacobson was born in Minneapolis[1] and graduated from Edina High School in Edina, Minnesota in 1989.[2] She moved to San Francisco in 1991 to pursue a career as a film director.[3] After studying with George Kuchar, Jacobson began making her first film while in her early 20s.

Jacobson's two major releases were I Was a Teenage Serial Killer and Mary Jane's Not a Virgin Anymore. Both were well received at film festivals across North America such as the New York Underground Film Festival, the Chicago Underground Film Festival and Sundance. I Was a Teenage Serial Killer featured songs by Heavens to Betsy. She was listed in Spin as one of the "Top Influences on Girl Culture".[3]

Also outspoken in their praise were film critic Roger Ebert, filmmaker Allison Anders, and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth.[4] Ed Halter, writing in the Village Voice, considered I Was A Teenage Serial Killer "a key film of that decade's angrily subversive underground cinema".[5]

Jacobson was interviewed, reviewed, and written about in national publications like The New York Times, Village Voice, Spin, Bust, and Film Threat, among others.

Mary Jane's Not a Virgin Anymore[edit]

Her novel and feature film Mary Jane's Not a Virgin Anymore and the grassroots manner in which Jacobson promoted the film garnered her much recognition in her specific field. Mary Jane's Not a Virgin Anymore starred Lisa Gerstein and Beth Roman Allen of the band The Loudmouths, whose music—along with that of Babes In Toyland and Mudhoney—is featured in the film. Jello Biafra also appears in a cameo role. Film Threat, in its Film Threat Video Guide, labelled it as one of the "25 Underground Films You Must See". Following the release of this film, Jacobson directed videos for the bands Man or Astroman and Fluffy.

As a result of the success of her films, Jacobson was an important champion of the DIY approach to filmmaking and wrote for several publications, including Punk Planet, Grand Royal, San Francisco Bay Guardian and Indiewire on the topic. She was a contributor to the film zine Joanie4Jackie, a project created by Miranda July to showcase women's independently made and DIY films. Jacobson was also a participant in DiY Fest, a do-it-yourself travelling film festival.


Jacobson died from endometrial cancer in New York City on February 13, 2004, aged 32.[1]


After her death, Marc Savlov wrote in The Austin Chronicle, "There's no doubt in the minds of anyone … that she greatly helped stoke the flames of the guerilla and indie filmmaking movement while becoming a voice for grrrl-positive cineastes everywhere".


The Sarah Jacobson Film Grant was set up by Sarah’s longtime friend and collaborator filmmaker Sam Green and annually awards grants to young female directors. The Sarah Jacobson Papers are located in the Fales Library at New York University.



  1. ^ a b Hernandez, Eugene (February 18, 2004). "Remembering DIY Queen Sarah Jacobson, 1971-2004". Indiewire. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
  2. ^ Sinagra, Laura (March 10, 2004). "Grrrl, Interrupted". City Pages.
  3. ^ a b Adams, Sam (January 7–14, 1999). "The Virgin Machine". The City Paper. Retrieved August 12, 2012.
  4. ^ "Sarah Jacobson Memorials". Filmmaker Magazine: Blog. 2004. Retrieved 2006-12-16.
  5. ^ Halter, Ed (2004). "Sarah Jacobson 1971-2004". Village Voice. Retrieved 2006-12-16.


  • Dixon, Wheeler Winston. The Second Century of Cinema: The Past and Future of the Moving Image (The Suny Series, Cultural Studies in Cinema/Video). State University of New York Press March 2000 ISBN 0-7914-4515-1