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Sunset High School graduate worked on Oscar-winning documentary

Sarah Jenks grew up in Portland and graduated from Sunset High School in Beaverton. Her first job out of graduate school was on the film "Colette."

PORTLAND, Ore. — Filmmakers and movie buffs alike understand what goes into a memorable motion picture.

“This was a three-year journey, and I was part of the last…year-and-a-half of that,” said Sarah Jenks, a Sunset High School graduate. “I really felt like I was leaning back into my Portland ties, throughout this process.”

Jenks’ first job out of the Columbia University School of Journalism was associate producer and assistant editor on the short documentary "Colette."

"'Colette' is a short documentary about a 90-year-old woman who was in the French Resistance as a child, and her brother Jean-Pierre was taken by the Gestapo, to a concentration camp in Germany where he passed away,” said Sarah.

The 25-minute film follows Colette Marin-Catherine’s journey of loss and healing as she retraces Jean-Pierre’s steps in his final days 70 years after his death. Sarah and the rest of the crew were rewarded with an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject.

Credit: 'Colette'

“As a parent, when your daughter says or your child says, ‘yeah, I think I'm going to major in art and journalism,’ and you turn around and say, ‘what you really meant to say computer science or business, right?’” said Sarah’s mom Rita Jenks, jokingly. Rita, clearly proud of her daughter reached out to KGW to share the film’s Portland connection.

“I feel like this is her opportunity to say, ‘see, I told you so Mom!’” said Rita.

Sarah was able to watch the Oscars last weekend and saw the announcement in real time. As excited as the crew was, the focus has always been on Colette. Her poetic words after the announcement stuck with Sarah.  “She said, ‘because of this nomination, the memory of my brother Jean Pierre is no longer lost in the night and fog of the Dora concentration camp'…to me, and I think for most people on the team, that was the moment we actually won,” she said.

Sarah won’t get her own golden statue, but the real prize for her was playing a supporting role in such a moving story.

“The reward really is that, Colette feels some closure, her brother's memory carries on, and that we've found a new way to engage young people in this very important history that has shaped a lot of our present day,” Sarah said.

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