Sam French

Founding Partner

A founding director of Development Pictures in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sam French is an award-winning filmmaker with over 15 years of experience in film and television.

Growing up in suburban Philadelphia, Sam dreamed of one day becoming an astronaut and flying the first mission to Mars. But as he devoured science fiction novels to prepare for his journey, he revelled more in the ancient power of storytelling than the far-off future destinations these stories revealed. After graduating from Williams College in 1998, Sam embarked to New York City, where he cut his teeth in the film industry before moving to Los Angeles to attend USC film school. There he directed the film “Over the Line,” which won multiple awards, including Best Director and Best Actor at the Beverly Hills Film Festival, and was rated as one of the best films of the year at USC’s 2006 First Look Festival.

Sam went on to direct numerous commercials and music videos, and in 2008 he moved to Afghanistan in pursuit of a beautiful woman. He arrived with barely any knowledge of the country, without a job, and expecting to be hunkered down in a bunker for the duration. But he found instead a complex tapestry of stories waiting to be told. He decided to stay, and founded Development Pictures, a production company dedicated to revealing another side of this often misunderstood country.

In 2011, Sam directed “Buzkashi Boys,” one of the first narrative fiction films to be shot entirely on location in Kabul with a mixed Western and Afghan crew. This film was the first project of the Afghan Film Project, a non-profit NGO that Sam co-founded in 2010 to help train Afghan filmmakers and foster Afghanistan’s film industry.

Sam believes that film has the power to reveal those truths that tie us together as humans on this small planet hurtling through space we call home, and will continue this journey for the rest of his life. He no longer wants to go to Mars.

Sam’s work has appeared on broadcast outlets including Channel 4 in the UK, the BBC, Al Jazeera, National Geographic, HBO, Current TV, and others. He has produced and directed documentaries for clients including the US State Department, DFID, the EU, CARE International, Safi Airways, and various UN agencies.

For more information on Buzkashi Boys, please visit: