Banks teacher making film

Published 3:00 am Saturday, December 27, 2014

For many, going through life is a difficult, confusing time that is often muddied by a false image a person chooses to show the world. Sarah Gambles, a teacher at Banks School, is setting out tell the world her story and the story of others.

“It’s an innocence rather than an ignorance that people have,” Gambles said. “As soon as I tell people about the film, people want to tell me about themselves. I’m going to start the film by telling viewers about myself. The intro really ends with me saying, “Why do I feel like this? What’s wrong with me,” and then I allow others to tell their stories.”

Gambles is originally from Hawaii, but said she moved back to Troy after her father, who was in the Navy, felt a need to come home. Gambles said her family faced adversity early in her life as she came from a bi-racial family.

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But, the movie is not focused around the adversity she faced as a child. Instead the film focuses on individuals from Southeastern rural Alabama who have stories to tell of their own.

“My travels kind of take me through my roots in Hawaii, and that leads me to interview friends of mine,” Gambles said. “I’ve interviewed parents of students who I have taught. People just want to put their stories out there.”

The idea for the film came shortly after a close friendship of Gambles’ dissolved.

“It brought about feelings of inadequacy and self doubt,” Gambles said. “Soon, I began to realize the way I was feeling had nothing to do with my friendship ending at all. It dealt with the way I had always been protecting myself from the outside world.”

Gambles said looking at her life and the way she had sheltered her true self from the world had caused her to think about her students and how little she really knew about their histories and family.

“I have always thought that no matter where or who people are they have a story,” Gambles said. “I can’t tell the world’s story, but I hope people will see this film and see a little bit of themselves in each of the stories.”

Gambles said her goal with the film was to try to reinforce a person’s innate ability to be different and to help others shed their “armor” the way she was able to shed her own. And, so far, she’s been able to help others do just that.

“I think probably the greatest take away from it, on top of the self-acceptance and awareness, is probably how I’ve been able to see people heal through their own storytelling,” Gambles said. “Being able to tell their own stories is really a counseling session for them, and I think that’s what people are often searching for. Once they know that someone else is fighting that same or similar battle, it makes it easier.”

Gambles has enlisted the help of Troy University student Hayden Glass with her film and said she had tried to reinforce a local product.

“This was important to me because, I feel like this is a Grassroots effort,” Gambles said. “I never for a minute wanted to make this blockbuster-y or Hollywood-ish. I want it to feel organic and down home.”

Gambles said Glass had been a little standoffish when she first approached him for help, but said he slowly grew to love the idea of the film.

“He was a little stand-offish at first, but he called a couple of days later,” Gambles said. “Now, he calls me religiously and says, ‘Oh, I thought about this,’ or, ‘What about if we did this?’”

While Glass is helping Gambes, Gambles said she would not only love more help from community members, but would also love to hear the stories of those in her community and own backyard. Those interested are being asked to email gambles at

“I live for this project,” Gambles said. “Between teaching during the day and filming at night, it’s almost like having two full-time jobs. We are still looking for help and stories. If anyone is interested in being apart of the project, please contact us. If they want to be interviewed or want to help out on the film, we would love to build our crew. As we progress further, there will be times when Hayden can’t help, so I’ll definitely need someone to help out with a backup camera or someone who can easily run do an interview for us.”