Hi, I'm Sarah.
I am most passionate about human connection, empathy and attempting to help people feel less alone and more understood in this big, beautiful world of ours.
I do that by writing, making films and creating experiences.
I am a story finder, cinematic storyteller and authenticity addict.
I LIKE THINGS TO BE HONEST, BEAUTIFUL AND A LITTLE ROUGH AROUND THE EDGES.
I am a director, a writer, an artist. I write and perform spoken word poetry, write and direct narrative film and create and produce meaningful events.
I created Sarelizah Studios as my artistic home, studio and business. I called it Sarelizah because Sarah is one of the most common names in the (western) world and I wanted something that was just mine. I adore my middle name, Elizabeth, named after my mum, so I thought I’d create a little mash up. The last 'h' is for Harney, my surname.
I love FINDING, TELLING AND SHARING STORIES.
IN TRUE DOCUMENTARY DIRECTOR STYLE, HERE ARE SOME QUESTIONS I ASKED MYSELF:
HOW DID YOU GET HERE?
Hmm, starting off with an easy one…
I was raised on a farm in rural Victoria, Australia and at heart I am truly a farm girl. I fed lambs early in the morning before school and watched a lot of TV drama late in the evening after my three brothers were in bed. My world has always been half country - half big wide artistic world. My obsession with things like 'All Saints' and 'Grey’s Anatomy' made me search for journalism and media work experience in Bendigo and Melbourne. I finished High School and went straight to the University of Melbourne. I did half an arts degree, worked in corporate business management and administration, had an existential crisis at 21 and then did a Bachelor degree in Film Production.
Then in 2014, I quit my lucrative admin job because I really thought, if not now, when and thought I’d have a crack at building my own business. Then I moved to the US for a year and went to all kinds of festivals, events and conferences. I learned things and I re-discovered what I wanted to create in the world.
I currently live in Melbourne, frequently visit Elmore, the Fleurieu Peninsula, Mt Tamborine, Picnic Point and a little bit of my heart is still in Brooklyn, Portland and Pasadena.
WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF?
Honestly, I am most afraid of complacency. Of not being my best self. But I’m also incredibly afraid of putting all my honest self out into the world. It’s the ultimate contradiction right? But truly, I let the fear of ‘settling’ push me forwards. I fight to be self aware, self loving and self expressive. And I admire it in others. I am afraid that if I don’t tell my stories and other people’s stories, there will be someone sitting alone somewhere worrying that they are the only one. They are not the only one.
We are not alone. But we are individuals and I strive to honour that.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE?
I love a lot of things but I’m going simple with this one. I love books, particularly memoirs and personal development at the moment. I love narrative drama. I worship at the altar of Shonda Rhimes and her TV empire! I also adore stand-up comedy. And I really love competitive sport. I play netball and basketball because I love moving my body and being in a team. I like to keep score. But it’s ok if you don’t win, at least you had a crack (kinda like life).
I also like sport because I don’t like running, (how do you even win at running) and I love ice cream. So you know, life’s a balance.
WHAT ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT RIGHT NOW?
Podcasts! Audible! Spotify! Honestly I can’t get enough of all of this aural goodness. I don’t like quiet and these days my iPhone is hot mess of comedy podcasts, entrepreneur and creativity inspo, fun music playlists and audiobooks from fabulous humans like Brene Brown, Liz Gilbert and Amy Poehler.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM MOVING TO ANOTHER COUNTRY FOR A YEAR?
Oh my goodness, so many things. The highlights:
~ That I really need to stop apologising for who I am, what I believe in and what I want. And just be it, do it, go get it.
~ That there are even more beautiful humans out there; that community, friendship, acceptance and love, are everything.
~ That Oregon and Washington are freaking beautiful. Mountains, waterfalls, big rivers, forests and long wide roads. Heaven.
~ That vulnerability is everything. Asking for help is the worst! But every time I just put my hand up and asked for help, claimed my vulnerability and fear, the most incredible things would happen. I was supported by the most amazing humans and synchronicity. Every time.
~ That things will never turn out how you thought they would but that they will also kinda be exactly what you needed and wanted. I don't really know how to explain this one, but truly, I thought I wanted certain outcomes, experiences, career opportunities and as I slowly let go of externally placed expectations and just sort of followed my heart, my instincts, that was when I had the most incredible experiences. I found the most supportive community. I cracked wide open my career, my art, my passions.
WHY ARE YOU AN ARTIST?
I struggled for a long time to even call myself an artist. I think that was the biggest thing I learned at film school, was that there is a mixture of learned skill, in-built determination and natural talent. And that I have all of that, somewhere in me. It is so subjectively hard to think your work is any good. And for a long time I didn’t. But the more positive responses I received from people and the more I did it, the better I got and the better I felt. And when I really think about what I love to create, I realise that it is art. Creating anything, making conscious choices, having an instinct about it, that is art.
Deep down I think everyone is an artist, especially people building their own things. So I’m an artist because I like making things, I like sharing things and I especially like packaging things in a way that makes them easier to understand.
Sharing a message that otherwise wouldn’t have been heard, if it wasn’t for me. That is my art.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ERICA WHEADON