Sara Sugarman grew up in Rhyl in North Wales, but by the time she was in her teens, she lived in London while working on various TV shows. She played the regular role of Jessica Samuels on Grange Hill in 1979, followed by Belinda Marsh on County Hall in 1981 and Tracey Blaines on Radio Phoenix in 1982. Her feature film-acting debut was as Abby National in Sid and Nancy (1986), about Sid Vicious of the punk group the Sex Pistols and his girlfriend. Sugarman appeared in the comedy Straight to Hell (1987) with Courtney Love, the TV movie Escape from Sobibor (1987) with Alan Arkin, the feature film Dealers (1989) with Rebecca De Mornay and the same year found herself back on weekly television with a regular role on the TV series Streetwise.
By 1990, Sugarman had come to the realization that she wanted to direct, and took time off to attend film school, graduating in 1995. She gained attention as a director right off the bat with her short film, Anthrakitis (1998), when it was nominated for a BAFTA film award. Her feature film directorial debut was the comedy Mad Cows (1999), then Sugarman wrote and directed Very Annie Mary (2001). Starring Rachel Griffiths in the title role, the film was well-received, with Sugarman winning a Film Discovery Jury Award for Best Screenplay at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival.
The success of Very Annie Mary generated interest in Hollywood for the Welsh director, and she was next asked to direct Disney's feature comedy Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen (2004), starring Lindsay Lohan.
Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen (2004)
Very Annie Mary (2001)
Mad Cows (1999)