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Sam French

Writer. Director. Producer.

An Oscar-nominated filmmaker and founding director of the documentary production company Development Pictures, Sam’s work has appeared on HBO, BBC, CNN, Channel 4 News, Al Jazeera, National Geographic, and other broadcast outlets.


Sam spent five years in Afghanistan, where he directed the Oscar-nominated narrative short film Buzkashi Boys. His most recent documentary With This Breath I Fly, about two Afghan women fighting for their freedom after being imprisoned for “moral crimes,” has won over a dozen awards at major film festivals. 


Sam has directed episodes of the Emmy-nominated documentary series Religion of Sports and Why We Fight, and the Red Bull series All In and Life of Kai. He is currently working on Dominion, a documentary about a new generation of evangelical climate activists, and Skinhead, a narrative feature film about former neo-Nazi Frank Meeink, exploring one man’s fall to power and rise into grace. He has served on juries for the IDA Documentary Awards, the Austin Film Festival, the Istanbul Film Festival, the Dumbo Film Festival, and New York Shorts International.


Sam believes in storytelling as an engine of empathy. He lives in Los Angeles.


"When you have Sam French on your team, everything moves up a few notches."

-- Leehom Wang, China's "King of Pop"

"Sam is a very talented storyteller: he knows how narrative structure works and is an extremely effective communicator, both in person and via the written word."

-- Victor Buhler, Producer, Religion of Sports

"He has an infectious optimism and positivity, and is immensely empathetic to both the subjects in his work and to the people he works with.'

-- Martin Roe, President, Dirty Robber

"Sam exudes confidence with his narratives, thrives in brainstorming environments, and is always excited about adapting and incorporating feedback from his colleagues."

-- Leslie Knott, Producer, Tiger Nest Films

"Sam has an ability to communicate his ideas clearly and effectively, being a leader while at the same time remaining open to input and feedback from his entire team."

-- Sarah Anthony, Producer

Friends and Collaborators

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Awards and Festivals

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