Sana Bilgrami, born in Pakistan, is an award-winning documentary film director and researcher. In her films, she explores cross-cultural identity and belonging through a variety of stories. She experiments with different techniques, frequently using 8mm film, archive and intimate voice-over.
She leads and teaches introductory and advanced level documentary film practice to undergraduate Film students at Edinburgh Napier University.
Her practice-based research interests include the use of archive and personal voice, the interrogation of cross-cultural identity, and the interstices of history and geographical spaces in documentary films. She is interested in portrait films, essay films, and the crossover with/use of fiction in documentary film.
Her broadcast credits include 'Tree Fellers' (STV, 2004), shortlisted for a BAFTA Scotland Award, 'Across the Waters' (BBC Scotland, 2004), shortlisted for a Satyajit Ray Award, and she was one of ten directors of 'New Ten Commandments' (BBC Scotland, 2008). Her Masters degree film, 'Under My Skin' (2001), won awards at Scottish Students on Screen, was shortlisted for the Saltire Grierson award at Edinburgh Film Festival, and won Best Documentary at Chichester Film Festival.
Her short documentary, 'Fragments of A Love Story' (2013), was exhibited at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. In 2015, she filmed, directed and edited seventeen short documentary portrait films for a series called ‘Artist Uncovered’, commissioned by charity Art in Healthcare.
She is developing a feature-length documentary film, ‘The Album’, produced by BOFA Productions. ‘The Album’ is a personal and historical exploration of cross-cultural identity. The project received a development grant from Creative Scotland, after being selected for the Edinburgh Pitch in 2017.
In 2020, she was awarded a grant from Royal Society of Edinburgh to carry out theoretical and practice-based research on the Representation of South Asian Women in Scottish Cinema.
During lockdown in the pandemic, she co-curated an international visual-art exhibition, 'Landscape of Memory' (2020, online), bringing together the works of five Pakistani artists and five Scottish artists, alongside a series of webinars on the themes of Place, Process and Memory.
In 2021, after receiving a 'Connect and Collaborate grant' from British Council and Creative Scotland, she designed and curated an international artist residency 'Ecologies of Displacement' that culminated in multimedia exhibitions at Koel Gallery in Pakistan (January 2022) and Summerhall, Edinburgh (July 2022).