Culture
Hold my briefcase! This gutsy gal ditched her law career to work on blockbuster films
She is Malta’s only stunt woman and is currently working for Netflix London

Caroline Curmi

Sarah Michelle Attard’s induction into the world of film happened by chance, but one little episode has permanently altered her life trajectory.

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The story starts with Sarah’s brother, who had been called in to help a family friend serve food on a film set. Instead, Sarah stood in for her brother: “Although I was in catering, I got the chance to see how a film set actually worked and I fell in love,” she says.

Sarah Michelle Attard

Sarah Michelle Attard

Sarah enjoyed the vibe so much that she offered herself for future projects, and barely a few months later she was interning as a Set PA and Extras Casting on Belgian-Dutch film The Devil’s Double. “What was meant to be a few days ended up becoming months,” she revealed, before continuing: “no regrets whatsoever!”

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During this time, Sarah was enrolled at the University of Malta and was studying law, which meant her standard day would see her flit from set to university and back. “I kept getting called for Production work while studying law – I couldn’t refuse the opportunities, but I still made sure I graduated,” she says.

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Immaculate time management was essential for her to juggle 14-hour workdays with exams, but she pulled it off and successfully graduated with a Doctor of Laws, with some help from her law course friends: “they went out of their way to cover up my university vanishing acts,” she quips. Angels would be a more appropriate description!

Hold my briefcase! This inspirational & gutsy gal ditched her law career to work on blockbusters

Sarah Michelle Attard

Sarah only worked as a lawyer for three months: “I missed the chaos on set,” she explains, claiming the legal lifestyle simply didn’t allow her to be the free spirit that she is. “Living in a suit was not for me,” she states.

Finding work there is known to be difficult, but by contacting old crew mates and printings lots (and lots) of CV’s, she found herself on a film set i

Sarah Michelle Attard

Additionally, her short experience showed her that a court is not always the fairest of places, and that did not sit well with her. However, she still hopes to put her academic background to good use: “I don't regret studying law as it has given me so much knowledge and I hope I get to use it to improve the film industry wherever I am,” she says.

Now a Netflix London employee, Sarah admits that while there were times where she found opportunities in Malta lacking, it ultimately proved the perfect platform to launch her career. “I used to get really annoyed when a movie would shoot in Malta for a month, and then the core crew would leave to continue shooting in various other locations. I wanted to be part of the core crew, not the Maltese girl hired solely for the Malta location. I worked hard and I got there,” she says.

Sarah had already worked on 15 films by the time this realisation hit home, and confident in her dream she booked herself a one-way ticket to London. Needless to say, she hasn’t looked back since.

Sarah Michelle Attard

Sarah Michelle Attard

Finding work there is known to be difficult, but by contacting old crew mates and printing lots (and lots) of CVs, she found herself on a film set in under a week: “I got a call asking if I was interested in a PA job in Tilbury and I immediately said yes,” she narrates.

Asked whether she had a car and could drive herself on set at 3am the following day, she gave the exact same reply, even though it wasn't an accurate one. “I packed a bag and got a taxi to Tilbury, which cost me my entire day’s salary,” she continues. Ultimately her risk paid off: not only was the film Wonder Woman, but the 2nd AD (assistant director) had been left so impressed by her perseverance that they decided to keep her on.

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Sarah has worked on a vast number of huge international productions, but long years dedicated to film coupled with a passion for fitness have given birth to another love: stunt work. “I got a little opportunity in Malta on a foreign film to play the part of a beaten woman and I loved it,” she says, adding that she later found work as a Stunt Department Coordinator, which meant she could run the department alongside the stunt coordinator AND occasionally put on a costume and participate in some action work.

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Urged to follow her passion by Morgan Chetcuti, Malta’s top stuntman, Sarah took part in a Stunt Course at the European Film School. “My favourite stunts are fire and wire work - although I haven't done them on camera yet, the training was insane,” she elaborates.

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Sarah now aspires to join forces with Morgan to coordinate their own overseas stunt department: “He is an inspiration and it’s always been great working together,” she says. The list doesn’t end there: Sarah harbours hope of becoming an international producer, aspires to play a part in making Malta a leader in film servicing, wants to attempt advanced car stunts, pen an inspirational book about her achievements (all before turning 30) and wishes to have her own family.

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But for now, she offers one little teaser about her future: "Working with Netflix London has kept me away from freelancing for now. I do stunt work whenever I can, but as for what's next .... something which involves gym wear, brains & braun," she says. 

Sarah Michelle Attard

Sarah Michelle Attard

We can't wait to find out what's in store for this inspirational woman!

17th February 2020


Caroline Curmi
Written by
Caroline Curmi
When she’s not having a quarter-life crisis, Caroline is either drawing in a café, frittering her salary on sushi or swearing at traffic in full-on Gozitan. There is also the occasional daytime drink somewhere in the equation. Or two. A creative must be allowed at least one vice.

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