Bio / Resume (download)
Born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sabina Vajrača immigrated to the U.S. in 1994 as a war refugee. She started her professional career in theatre, writing, directing and producing plays at The Lincoln Center, SITI Company, and Shakespeare & Company.
Sabina ventured into the world of film by directing and producing the critically-acclaimed feature documentary BACK TO BOSNIA. The film premiered at the AFI Fest, screened at over 30 festivals worldwide, winning Director’s Choice at the Crossroads Film Festival, and is featured in the top 100 of the greatest films directed by women by the BBC. It's currently streaming on multiple platforms, including Amazon.
Since then, she wrote, directed, and produced a dozen short narrative films; the music video for Nouvelle Vague’s BELA LUGOSI’S DEAD; commercials for ESPN and IFP Media Center; and wrote numerous award-winning short and feature screenplays.
Most recently she co-directed a Warner Bros./USC feature period drama VOODOO MACBETH, whose numerous accolades include Best Director awards at Catalina and Charlotte Black Film Festivals; and wrote/directed the short drama VARIABLES, which won the Alfred P. Sloan Grant and DGA Student Awards Grand Prize, and was nominated for the Student Oscars, HUMANITAS Prize, and BAFTA Student Award, among other honors. Her latest short SEVAP/MITZVAH won the Claims Conference Film Grant.
Outside of her own projects, Sabina worked as an assistant to writer/director Max Mayer on his feature drama ADAM, starring Hugh Dancy and Rose Byrne (2009 Sundance); alongside Gregory Crewdson on his photo opus CATHEDRAL OF THE PINES; and she shadowed James Whitmore Jr. on MADAM SECRETARY (CBS) and Sarah Boyd on 9-1-1 (FOX).
Sabina is the Annenberg Scholar, a member of Film Fatales, Women in Film, and BAFTA, and an alumna of Ryan Murphy Half Directing Mentorship, Almanack Screenwriters, and Stowe Story Labs, where she won the Tangerine Entertainment Fellowship. Most recently she was selected for the 2023 Hayama Residency in Japan.
She received her M.F.A. in Film and TV Production from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, and is repped by Paradigm, Zero Gravity, and Goodman, Genow, Schenkman, Smelkinson & Christopher.
When not making movies Sabina can be found practicing philosophy, playing dress-up, quoting Balašević, and dancing to the beats of The Hot Sardines, preferably in full 1920s gear, with a good single-malt in hand.
Hayama Residency Artist-in-Residence (2023)
Claims Conference's Emerging Filmmaker Grant (2021) ~ Sevap/Mitzvah
Lynn Shelton's "Of a Certain Age" Grant Finalist (2021) ~ For Buraz
FEST Pitching Forum Award (2021) ~ For Buraz
Best Director, Catalina Film Festival (2021) ~ Voodoo Macbeth
Best Director, Charlotte Black FF (2021) ~ Voodoo Macbeth
Industry Choice Best Feature, Dances With Films (2021) ~ Voodoo Macbeth
Best Narrative Feature, Vail FF (2021) ~ Voodoo Macbeth
Director's Choice Independent Spirit Award, Sedona FF (2021) ~ Voodoo Macbeth
Golden Wheat Award, Best Drama Short (2021) ~ Variables
BAFTA Student Awards Finalist (2020) ~ Variables
HBOAccess Directing Fellowship Semifinalist (2020) ~ top 25 out of 1,500
TIFF Filmmakers Lab Shortlist (2020) ~ For Buraz
HUMANITAS Prize Finalist (2020) ~ Variables
Script 2 Screens Grand Prize (2020) ~ Variables
Golden Apple for Best Short, BHFF (2020) ~ Variables
DGA Student Awards Grand Prize (2019) ~ Variables
Student Academy Awards Semifinalist (2019) ~ Variables
Best Student Short, Vail Film Festival (2019) ~ Variables
Ryan Murphy Half Directing Mentorship (2019)
Nantucket Screenwriters Colony (2019) ~ For Buraz
Stowe Story Lab / Tangerine Fellowship (2019) ~ For Buraz
Austin Film Festival Second Rounder (2018) ~ For Buraz
MOME Finance Lab (2018) ~ Lost Children
Annenberg Fellowship (2018/19)
AAUW Fellowship (2017/18)
Alfred P. Sloan Grant (2017) ~ Variables
Cagney & Lacey Fellowship (2016)
FEBA Road Map Award (2012)
Puffin Foundation Grant (2007)
Director's Choice Award, Crossroads Film Festival (2006) ~ Back to Bosnia
NYSCFA / IFP Marketing and Distribution Grant (2005) ~ Back to Bosnia
Jerome Foundation / SITI Company Associate Member Grant (2004 and 2007)
MSN/Visa Ideas Happen Award (2003) ~ Back to Bosnia