headshot photo of Sally Rubin

Sally Rubin

Assistant Professor
Lawrence and Kristina Dodge College of Film and Media Arts
Expertise: Social-Issue Documentary Film; Community Engagement for the Documentary; Documentary Fundraising
Office Location: Chapman Studios West 116
Phone: (714) 289-3505
Tufts University, Bachelor of Arts
Stanford University, Master of Arts

Video Profile


Sally Rubin is a documentary filmmaker and editor who has worked in field for over 15 years. She recently completed Life on the Line (co-director, editor, with filmmaking partner Jen Gilomen) about a teenage girl growing up on the U.S./Mexico border. The film broadcast nationally on PBS in Fall 2014 and premiered at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Her previous film, Deep Down was an ITVS-funded feature-length documentary about two friends in eastern Kentucky who find themselves divided over mountaintop removal coal mining near their homes. The film was part of the 2010-2011 Independent Lens Emmy-winning PBS series, and has reached almost 1.5 million people through its broadcast, distribution, and outreach campaign. It was nominated for an Emmy for its Virtual Mine outreach project, in the category of New Approaches to News and Documentary. Rubin is currently working with co-director Ashley York on a feature-length documentary film called The Hollywood Hillbilly, about representations of Appalachia and white rural America in the media.

Rubin's other credits include The Last Mountain, a film about her father's death in a hiking accident that was broadcast on PBS, Robert Greenwald's Iraq For Sale: The War Profiteers and the television series The Freedom Files (editor), as well as David Sutherland's 6-hour Frontline special Country Boys (associate producer), and Riverwebs (editor), which broadcast nationally on PBS. In 2004 Rubin founded the groundbreaking Straight Outta Grrrlville Film Festival in San Francisco, and continues to produce local events and benefits for artists and filmmakers, in conjunction with her own continued work.

Rubin is a full time documentary professor at Chapman University. Other professional memberships and affiliations include: Doculink Steering Committee: Member; Doculink Planning Committee: Member; Tenth Muse Films: President of the Board; International Documentary Association: Member; International Documentary Association David Wolper Award: Member, Screening and Judging Committees; International Documentary Association Awards: Feature Documentary Judge; New Day Films Cooperative:  Member/Owner.

After earning her M.A. in Documentary Film and Video from Stanford University, Rubin fell deeply in love with the field of documentary film, where she hopes to continue working for a very long time.

Recent Creative, Scholarly Work and Publications

Reviewed "Documentary Editing: Principles and Practice" by Jacob Bricca.
Reviewed "The Technique of Film and Video Editing" by Ken Dancyger.
Received Faculty Opportunity Fund grant from Chapman, for $15000 for "Mama Has a Mustache," my new documentary about being gender non-conforming and pregnant.
Editorial Consultant on "This Won't Be on the Test," a work-in-progress documentary about the importance of after-school and extracurricular programs to American education.
Los Angeles premiere of "Life on the Line" at the Mark Taper Auditorium at the Los Angeles Public Library. In conjunction with "The Big Read" Los Angeles. Panelists at the event included Lucy Santana, Executive Director of Girls Inc, Linda Lopez, Chief of Immigrant Services in the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, and moderator Desiree Gutierrez of Impact Media Partners.
Producer on this 15-minute documentary about a transgendered opera singer, directed by Nicole Opper.
Edited a short piece for documentary director Sarah Feeley entitled "Hamsterdam."
Completed (co-directed and edited) feature length documentary film for national PBS broadcast in November 2010. See www.deepdownfilm.org for more. The film was broadcast on PBS’ Emmy award winning series, Independent Lens, to over one million viewers.