Sahar Driver

Film + Strategy + Campaign Design + Social Change

Social movements need powerful stories. But if that is all it took to solve social problems, we wouldn’t have any. Strong and compelling stories that grapple with timely and important issues benefit from careful planning to ensure the message reaches the right audiences, in the right ways, at the right times.


I help filmmakers, funders, and movement leaders build strategic partnerships and plans that strengthen their respective projects and contribute to lasting change. Campaigns that I have contributed to, through my work at Active Voice and elsewhere, have gone on to influence public discourse and measurable change related to immigration, racial justice, aging and eldercare, health disparities, LGBT rights and inclusion, worker advocacy, and more.

Titles include: American Promise by Michele Stephenson and Joe Brewster, American Revolutionary by Grace Lee, CARE by Deirdre Fishel and Tony Heriza, Facing Fear by Jason Cohen, Gideon's Army by Dawn Porter, The New Black by Yoruba Richen, Welcome to Shelbyville by Kim A. Snyder, and Who is Dayani Cristal? by Marc Silver. 

Partnerships have included: the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Caring Across Generations, Church World Service, Facing History and Ourselves, PFLAG, Teaching Tolerance, Welcoming America, and the YMCA of the USA.

To find out how we can work together, click here.


I am a San Francisco-based impact and engagement strategist, researcher, and educator. I believe deeply in the power of story to support social and environmental justice. I also believe that power can be even greater when harnessed in creative and strategic ways and with careful and deliberate planning. This is why I do what I do.

My first exposure to storytelling was through my maman-bozorg (Farsi for “grandmother”) who would share beautiful bedtime tales of old Persian heroes and magical beings who live just on the other side of a thin veil that separates our worlds. Later as an adult, I continued to explore story through creative writing and eventually landing into television production and development in L.A.. But I turned my attention to the intersection of media and social change in 2006 when a colleague and I began producing independent shows for SF Community Access TV  to uncover issues that were getting buried in mainstream news. And my specific training and focus on story-based impact and engagement began in 2008 at Active Voice, where I worked under the guidance of Ellen Schneider, a pioneer and visionary in the field, and later under the talented and equally powerful, Shaady Salehi.

Sahar Desert.png

When I'm not digging deep into a film's potential to have a lasting impact, I'm either teaching or doing research (latest examples are here and here). My background is in post-colonial anthropology, which turns the anthropological gaze back onto the colonizers to understand how power and privilege shapes meaning-making today so the research we produce together can be emancipatory.

I am especially inspired by work that builds understanding across difference and highlights shared stakes. If you are working on a film that helps do this, I’d love to hear from you!