Samuel Gray Anderson was born in Latrobe, PA and grew up in South Carolina. He studied English at Yale University, graduating in 2004. Studies in the French New Wave and World Cinema at Yale inspired him to turn to filmmaking, and in 2006 he co-wrote Munyurangabo with director Lee Isaac Chung. The first feature-length fiction film made in the Kinyarwanda language, it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival (Un Certain Regard) in 2007, won the Grand Prize at AFI Fest 2007, and was hailed by Roger Ebert as 'a masterpiece.'
Following Munyurangabo, Anderson went on to collaborate with Chung on the screenplays for Lucky Life (2010) and Abigail Harm (2012). In 2014, he returned to Rwanda to co-direct the documentary I Have Seen My Last Born, an intimate portrait of a single father's struggle to provide a better future for his teenage daughter. His films have participated in the Berlin, Toronto, and Tribeca Film Festivals, among others, and have played for audiences around the world. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Susan and son Theodor.