Sarah Jane Foster (event MC) and Caroline McEntee (Aspire Training) at Mullingar Park Hotel for the International Women's Day event presented by Mullingar Chamber.

Filmmaker follows her instinct – but is ‘one of luckiest people’

Part of our International Women's Day feature

Being the granddaughter of the music legend Mick Foster you could expect that Sarah Jane Foster would be musical, but she claims she is not. When she went on shoots to RTÉ with her granddad as a child, it was the cameras, not the music, that fascinated her.

On Tuesday last, at an event to mark International Women’s Day in Mullingar Park Hotel, Sarah Jane shared with the packed audience her career story which resulted in her setting up SJF Productions, a company that makes corporate videos, five years ago.

“I had no interest in music, but was obsessed with cameras,” she recalled. When she was 18 she featured on the Seoige Show and got friendly with Claire Monaghan, a Longford woman who was the producer of the show.

Through Claire, she got a spot on the popular TV drama, Love/Hate where she kissed ‘Tommy’. She confessed that she found the drama, which depicted gangland Dublin, too gruesome and only watched the episode in which she appeared.

Sarah Jane did much of her work experience in RTÉ while she was studying TV and Film at GMIT. She did her final year documentary on Foster and Allen, “milking the contacts, as you do”.

While at college, she worked weekends for Pat and Una Weir of Multyfarnham and she recalled how good they were to her at that time and how understanding they were when she’d call in to say she couldn’t work because she was filming.

After college, Sarah Jane got a job presenting, filming and editing with Irish TV, a company set up by a young couple in Westport.

In 2017, she set up her own company – SJF Productions. “I was 26, I had no children and no mortgage, but I’d saved up a bit of money because I was never into going out.

“So I bought an Apple Mac and a couple of cameras and SJF Productions began and is still thriving today, thank God.

“I am one of the luckiest people ever,” said Sarah Jane, a woman who follows her gut and takes opportunities whenever they present themselves.

She was listening to RTÉ FM one day when she heard a conversation about Hollywood stars having on screen kisses. She texted in immediately to tell of her experience of on screen kissing with ‘Tommy’ on Love/Hate and ended up on air, talking for 15 minutes about the experience, but mostly plugging SJF Productions.

Five minutes later, the producer of the show rang her back. Sarah Jane confessed that she was terrified she was going to get a bill for all the free publicity she had wrangled, but instead she was invited to work for the station, and for the last two years she has had a twice monthly slot on the show where she talks about “all things midlands”.

Before concluding, Sarah Jane got a plug in for the Westmeath Bachelor Festival, where she will be one of the presenters on the May bank holiday weekend in Mullingar.