Born in Rome, Sara Pettinella graduated in art history and studied digital communication, design and photography, specializing in social documentary photography, in Italy and the United Kingdom.
She won the Interfaces Award (University of Rome and MIFAV – Museum of the Photographic Image and Visual Arts) in 2002, with an interactive digital project inspired by author Franz Kafka and his relationship with his town, Prague. The same topic inspired her installation Praga_Kafka 2.0. designed in collaboration with Italian art collective Evoque Officine D’Arte, and was selected to be part of the Biennale Adriatica Arti Nuove in San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy in 2003.
Since 2004, she has been active in the non-profit sector in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa working with refugees and other vulnerable groups through photography and design.
In 2011, she relocated to New York City, where she founded the art collective electric cabbage with Chiara Bernasconi (MoMA).
Her photography, video projects and documentary films have been showcased by galleries, art centers and universities such as Center for Sustainable Urban Development (CSUD) The Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York, New York City Transit Museum, Children Museum of the Arts NYC, Saint Michaels College, Colchester, VT, University of Massachusetts Darthmouth, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana, Cheryl Pelavin Gallery, NooSPHERE ART, Skylight Gallery, The ArtisTTable, DomagkAteliers (Munich, Germany), and La Casa Dell’Altra Economia, (Rome, Italy), Setsunan University (Neyagawa, Japan), Hannan University (Matsubara, Japan).
She won several photography awards Eye.Eye.Nose.Mouth (portrait competition @ the ArtisTTable), and the New York Center for Photographic Art Urban Landscape photo competition.
Her documentary We Are One blood drum spirit is official selection and winner at several national and international film festivals (Dumbo Film Festival, West African Film Festival, Calcutta International Film Festival, Moscow Indie Film Festival, Jukebox International Film Festival, Movie Nisville Summit, Roma Cinema Doc, The IndieFest Film Awards).
She also produced and directed music the videos Points Of View music by Art Hirahara, animation by Kristen McCormick (2019) official selection at the 7th Siding Festival Of Film; The Busking Bassoonist, by Sunny Kanble (2019); Brooklyn Express (2019) awarded “best music video” at Queen City Film Festival, “best music video” at Raleigh Film and Art Festival; “best jazz music video” at Audio Shoot Unsigned International Music and Film Festival (Ireland).