SARAH THOMAS, STOM PRODUCTIONS
“There is no place for misogyny in my life and on my set. If you feel superior merely because you are a man, you can continue feeling so in the cave you come from.” Meet Sarah Thomas, Founder and Producer – STOM Productions, an ad film production house. This passionate, vocal and full of fire 25 year old, directed and produced her first documentary in her final year of college. It was on the issue of acid attacks. The second to be made in India at that time, it went on to win several awards and received coverage in leading newspapers. But that experience helped Sarah not only evolve as a person but also understood the power of films and the part it plays in bringing about social change. Sarah especially loves to make films on issues that affect women and is currently pursuing her Masters in Women and Gender Studies to understand the theoretical side of feminism and gender as a social construct.
One might think being young in this industry could have been the only aspect that was challenging (tackling the ones who associate youth with inexperience), but no, being a young woman posed a bigger challenge at times. Sarah related the incident 2 years ago where, at the end of a successful shoot, a middle-aged man refused to accept a cheque from her as payment for his services. He found it hard to collect the cheque from someone as young even though he knew she was the Producer, he did not even make eye contact. Refusing to be bullied, yet handling the situation in a mature, dignified manner ultimately did get the point across to him – but Sarah also took the firm resolve never to employ his services again.
Although STOM was set up only two years back, Sarah and her team have worked on several leading brands and some very exciting projects. Starting out on her own was her best decision but it was not made on impulse. Sarah had worked as an assistant director on more than 60 released ad films by then. In fact, it was during that time she introspected and discovered why she loved film making and what aspect of it brought her to life. She suggests that if you have a flair for this profession then you must chalk out a plan on how you can develop your skills, your level of expertise and keep learning every day. And choosing to sign off on an encouraging note, she says, “Once you are ready, you will know it, believe and take the plunge. No matter what, you will always be happy that you tried.”