Sascha Just is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, and educator. For her work, the United States Government granted her the rare national interest-based permanent resident status.
Born and raised in Berlin, Sascha dreamt of cities, films, and music. New York appeared and re-appeared in those dreams, became symbol and myth, and then a reality, when right after school she moved across the pond. In New York, she absorbed the downtown art and music scene and studied film production at The City College of New York. She has been working as a film director and producer since.
Eventually, Sascha studied acting and directing (method) with Salem Ludwig of the Actors Studio. Salem, a working artist and educator, was a role model for Sascha and motivated her to pursue a graduate degree in theater and film. While studying she began teaching and has since been teaching at various schools, colleges, and universities.
Her doctoral research at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York drew Sascha to the city she had dreamt of the longest, New Orleans. She wrote her dissertation (committee chair Marvin Carlson) about the role of the media and live performances in constructing New Orleans’ public image, followed by several essays and articles. Parallel she filmed her documentary Heirs (short version Big Chief) about the heritage of the city’s performance cultures.
Based on research and interviews she conducted for these two projects, Sascha is developing – with funding from the Jazz and Heritage Foundation and the Hogan Jazz Archive, Tulane University – the Freytag Collection, an online archive of New Orleans performers and performance traditions.
Currently, Sascha is working on two components of the archive, the book “Halbmondstadt/Halfmooncity New Orleans,” a literary travel book about film, performance, and the art of making art, as well as the documentary Ellis, a film portrait about pianist and educator Ellis Marsalis, Jr.