A former Linlithgow Academy student has been nominated for an Oscar for her hard-hitting documentary film Karama Has No Walls.
Sara Ishaq, who attended the Academy in 2001 and 2002, puts her achievements down to the hard work ethos instilled 12 years ago while a student at Linlithgow.
Sara was born in Edinburgh to Yemeni-Scots parents. She completed her education with degrees in Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as a masters in Fine Arts in Cinematic Arts, Film and Television Production.
Her interest in documenting human rights issues started when she visited Palestine as a volunteer teacher, where she first filmed video-blogs.
In 2011, she returned to the Yemen at the onset of the uprising and began reporting on BBC radio and filming for BBC World Service/Newsnight.
In early 2012, she finished her debut award-winning documentary film ‘‘Karama has no Walls’’, which was later nominated for the BAFTA Scotland New Talents and One World Media awards.
Sara has now set up her own film production company based in Yemen.
The only film-house in the sensitive middle eastern area was shut down in 2004, therefore Yemen has little or no film culture.
Through its productions, Sara’s company, Setara Films, sets out to discover, cultivate, encourage and promote the work of local talent and to instill a more open appreciation of film-viewing, making and acting in a country averse to the media.
Sara said: “My overall vision and hope is to work on films that both challenge deeply ingrained negative attitudes towards Yemen and to transcend pre-conceived notions of its people and culture, through stories that reflect the shared universal human condition in a forgotten country.”
In a time of boundless access to knowledge and information, Yemen remains largely misunderstood by the outside world.
Susan West, head of English and RMPS at Linlithgow Academy, said: “I remember Sara well, which, given it’s been 12-13 years, tells you the impact she made.
“She is a highly articulate, yet very humble, individual and I am not surprised in the least to find she has gone on to make such a mark in the human rights fields of documentary film-making.”