SAM FRENCH - Director
Sam is an Oscar-nominated filmmaker who writes, directs and produces documentary and narrative films. His mission is to give a voice to the voiceless by creating compelling content with a social message. After earning an MFA in film production from the University of Southern California, he moved to Afghanistan in 2008, where he founded the production company Development Pictures to make films that showed the human side of an often misunderstood country. His work has appeared on HBO, BBC, CNN, Channel 4 News, and Al Jazeera. In 2012 Sam wrote and directed the narrative short film Buzkashi Boys, which was nominated for an Academy Award.
After moving back to Los Angeles in 2013, Sam has worked on various projects, including producing the documentary The Last Animals about elephant and rhino poaching in Africa, directing an episode of the DirecTV documentary series Religion of Sports about the Esports phenomenon, and developing a television crime drama. While directing AHMAD ZAHIR, he is also in post-production on the documentary film In-Justice, about women imprisoned for “moral crimes.” He wrote and is directing Hunting Hope, an action thriller about the ivory trade.
SHABNAM HUMPHREY - Executive Producer
Shabnam is the co-founder of Bossy Fox Productions. Shabnam has over a decade of experience in graphic design and digital media. As a photographer her portfolio is diverse, ranging from candid portraits to conceptual and political photography. She is the only daughter of Ahmad Zahir.
MO SCARPELLI - Producer
Mo’s debut feature-length documentary FRAME BY FRAME followed four premiere Afghan photojournalists to explore how photography and freedom of the press has emerged after a media ban enforced by the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. The film was shot exclusively in Afghanistan, premiered at SXSW 2015, and screened at Hot Docs (Top 10 Favourite Film), BFI London Film Festival (Grierson Documentary Competition nominee), Camden International Film Festival (Jury Award for Best Documentary), AFI DOCS, and has won over a dozen jury and audience awards at international festivals, as well as a Cinema Eye Honors nomination. The film will have its international digital and broadcast release by TIME Inc., in 2017. Mo’s cinematography, short docs, photography and writing have been published with The New Yorker, the BBC, CNN’s Great Big Story, The Wall Street Journal, and Africa Review.
MIRIAM ARGHANDIWAL - Writer / Researcher
Miriam Arghandiwal is an Afghan-American director, writer, and producer from the Bay Area, California. Before becoming a filmmaker she was a reporter for Thomson Reuters in Afghanistan, where she covered stories about women and civil rights. She recently received her Masters in Fine Arts from the University of Southern California’s Film & Television Production program. She also just finished producing her first feature film; Samir, which was funded by the Warner Brothers Studios. Miriam currently works for the Disney Channel.