Yale School of Art
1156 Chapel Street, POB 208339
New Haven, Connecticut, 06520-8339
(203) 432-2600


Born in Centralia, Washington, Sandra spent the first 18 years of her life in “Twin Peaks” country, the Great Northwest. She had an eclectic childhood: she trained as a figure skater, performed professionally as a ventriloquist. She is devoted to her Mexican heritage as well as her American upbringing.

She received her undergraduate degree from Yale University. Her senior thesis, a feature documentary , Sharp Edges, won the Louis Sudler Prize in the Performing and Creative Arts, marking the first time Yale had recognized a film project.

Sandra received her MFA from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, Graduate Film and Television. She worked for various icons in the filmmaking industry including Frances Coppola, Bonnie Timmerman, Paul Schrader, and Eleanor Bergstein. In 1996 she made “Belly Talkers” for Harvey Weinstein at Miramax. She was associate director at the ABC soap opera “One Life to Live.” She has worked as a camera operator on several reality shows, produced, directed and shot documentaries around the world and exhibited on television and in cinemas nationally and internationally. She specializes in teaching young narrative directors how to work with Actors for authentic on camera performances.

2017 marks her 20th year teaching at Yale University’s School of Art. She proudly help develop the filmmaking concentration within the Art Major , Columbia University, Barnard College. She ran and developed and run a unique six-week production program at Yale Summer Film Institute from 2002-2015. She specializes in teaching young narrative directors how to work with Actors for authentic on camera performances.

Most recently, she has been part of the Lines and Spaces delegation of the International Writers Program and the US State Department tours to India and Ecuador giving presentations at each country’s universities, film festivals, libraries and cultural centers. During the Ecuadorian tour, she gave all of her presentations in Spanish.

She has written a screenplay, “Blind Man’s Bluff,” and is writing a one-woman show. She spent seven years making the documentary “That Way Madness Lies…” an unprecedented first- hand look at untreated severe untreated mental illness and the broken mental health system. The film will play the film festival circuit this year. While not even completed, the film won an IndieFEST Award of Merit Special Mention.

Sandra is a member of the Director’s Guild of America, The International Documentary Association and New York Women in Film and Television.

Last edited by: Patricia DeChiara
Edit access: Sysop