Sam Low

Sam Low is a film producer, writer and photographer. He graduated from Yale University in 1964. After active duty with the 7th fleet in the Pacific, he received his Ph.D. in anthropology from Harvard in 1975. He taught anthropology at Hunter College in New York and Bowdoin College in Maine. In 1979, he began his career in film by joining the production team for the Odyssey series on PBS where he produced his first film – the Ancient Mariners – on underwater archeology. He founded Cambridge Studios in 1981 with two partners and produced films for the PBS series NOVA and The Ring of Truth as well as programs for the Discover Channel and an eight part series on the Maya called Out of the Past.

His films have won many awards and have been shown at the Nantes Festival International de film du Mer, Film/Video International at Castle Hill, the Honolulu Film Festival and the Margaret Mead Film Festival.

Recently, he has turned to journalism, writing articles for a variety of magazines. His sailing features have appeared in Soundings, Sailing, Sea History, Sail, Wooden Boat and Cruising World. Articles about motor racing have appeared in Sports Car International, Porsche Panorama, Excellence, Sports Car International and European Car. Other venues include Orion, Hana Hou (in Hawaii) and Martha’s Vineyard Magazine. He has illustrated these articles with his own photographs.

Sam is completing a book that tells how ancient Polynesian seafarers – without instruments or charts – explored and settled ten million square miles of the Pacific more than a millennium ago. “Hawai’iki Rising” will be published by the University of Hawaii press.

Click here for Sam’s website.

Click here for more information on Sam’s latest book, Hawai’iki Rising


Present Position
Freelance Writer and Partner – Cambridge Studios. Working on two books about Hawaii and Polynesian navigation. Ohana is the story of Rawhide Ben Low – a famous Hawaiian cowboy – and Hawai’iki Rising is the saga of Hokule’a and her famous navigator, to be published by the University of Hawaii Press.


1975 Ph.D., Anthropology, Harvard; 1971 M.A., Anthropology, Harvard: 1964 B.A., History, Yale.

Military Service
1964 -1966 Active duty with the seventh fleet (Pacific), Lt. USNR.

Teaching Experience
Bowdoin College, Visiting Lecturer, 1977; Hunter College, Assistant Professor, the Department of Anthropology, 1975-1976; Harvard University, Teaching Fellow – 1967 – 1969

Voyages – Robert C. Seamans, Sea Education Association, Hawaii-Marquesas, March 2003. Polynesian Voyaging Society, replication of ancient Hawaiian navigation: Tahiti – Hawaii, winter, 2000; Mangareva – Easter Island, fall 1999; Tahiti – Hawaii, Spring, 1995. Anthropological Fieldwork in El Porvenir, Peru, 1969-1970. Archeological Excavations – Roman Shipwreck, Torre Sgaratta, Italy , summer, 1968; byzantine shipwreck, Yassi Ada, Turkey, summer, 1968; Roman Shipwreck, Torre Sgaratta, Italy, summer, 1967; ancient seaport, Cosa, Italy, summer, 1967; byzantone shipwreck, Yassi Ada, Turkey, summer 1966; ancient sea port at Kenchreai, Greece, summer, 1964.

Sam Low at Lime Rock


NOVA“Imagine the Worst” – in proposal – film about protecting America’s airlines in a time of terrorist threat, 2004.

Wreck of the Columbus – story of famous shipwreck off Martha’s Vineyard, WNAN-FM – January 18, 2001 – writer/presenter.
No Hair Day -installed DeCordova Museum, October 2000; PBS broadcast Fall 2000 – videographer
Discover – The World of Science – producer/director/writer – Speed – April 16, 1997.
NOVA – producer/director/writer – Fast Cars – May 23, 1995.
Out of the Past – Series Producer: eight-part PBS series spring 1993
Out of the Past – Producer, director, writer: Collapse and New Worlds.
The Ring of Truth – Producer, director, writer – Change and Mapping – PBS – October 27 and November 3, 1987
The Navigators – Producer, director, writer – PBS national broadcast in 1983.
The Ancient Mariners – Producer, writer – Broadcast 1980 on PBS and BBC CHRONICLE Series.
Odyssey Series, Acquisitions producer, Ongka’s Big Moka, Maasai Women, Cree Hunters, The Sakuddei, PBS, 1980.
Odyssey Series, Senior Researcher, 1978-1980.
Seaplanes at Moosehead, Producer, director, writer – WCVB-10 and MPBN, 1978.
The Maine Festival, Producer, director, writer – MPBN, Maine PBS, 1978.

Collage, Segment producer, director, writer; MPBN, Maine PBS, 1978.
The Saint Mary, Slide tape, 1976.

AwardsFirst Finalist, Society of Professional Journalists, Hawaii Chapter, Feature Writing – Long Form, Hana Hou magazine, Hokule’a 25th Anniversary articles, 2001; Kahili Award, 2001, Hawaii Visitors Bureau award for best article celebrating Hawaiian culture, Hana Hou magazine – “Guardians of the Pond;” Hawaii Publishers Association Pa’i award, 2001, Editorial Feature, first place, Hana Hou magazine – “Guardians of the Pond;” Kahili Award, 2000, Hana Hou magazine – Hokule’a 25th anniversary articles; Cine Golden Eagle, 1995 – Fast Cars; Bronze Plaque – 1995 – Columbus International Film and Video Festival – Fast Cars; Certificate of Merit – 1996 – Chicago International Film Festival – Fast Cars; Cine Golden Eagle – 1993 – Artisans and Traders; Cine Golden Eagle – 1993 – Collapse; Bronze Plaque – 41st Annual Columbus International Film and Video Festival – 1993; Cine Golden Eagle – 1983 – The Navigators; Blue Ribbon – American Film Festival – 1983 – The Navigators; Silver Anvil – 1983 – The Navigators.

Not-so-ancient mariner in Truk

Museum Exhibits and Screenings featuring “The Navigators”Burke Museum, Seattle – “Pacific Voices” – 1997
Ontario Science Center – “A Question of Truth” – 1996
Field Museum of Chicago – “People of the Pacific” – 1992-93
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, film series, 1988
Hansen Planetarium, “exploring the Pacific Series,” – 1986
Honolulu Theatre for Youth, 1986
Nantes Festival International de film du Mer, 1985
Film/Video International at Castle Hill – 1984
Honolulu Film Festival, 1983
Margaret Mead Film Festival – 1983


July 2004 – 2007, Board of Overseers, Sea Education Association, Woods Hole, Mass.
June 2003 – June 2007, Curator, “Waka Moana” Exhibit and author of chapter on navigational methods, Auckland Museum, New Zealand.
January, 2003 – “Voyage of Hokule’a” – slide/lecture, Atlantic Challenge, Rockland, Maine.
November, 2002 – “Star Traveler” – slide/lecture, Central Maine Astronomical Society, also
September 20, 2003 at Sea Education Association, Woods Hole, Mass.
Oct 11, 2000 – “Present at the Creation” – slide/lecture at New Britain Museum of American Art.
1996 Media Panelist – The National Science Foundation.
1994 (to present) founding member of the Pare Lorentz Panel of the International Documentary Association.
1993 Principal Investigators’ Panel – The National Science Foundation.
1992 Recipient of National Science Foundation production grant.
1992 Media Panelist – The National Endowment for the Humanities.
1988 Panelist – The Annenberg Foundation. 1986 Media Panelist – The National Endowment for the Humanities.
1984-85 The Pennsylvania State University, Media Consultant, NEW DIRECTIONS IN ARCHAEOLOGY film project.
1984 – Producers Workshop Panel – Documentary Production – Film/video International at Castle Hill.
1984 Department of Anthropology, Brown University, Media Consultant for National Endowment for the humanities funded film – THE IRON TREE.
1983 recipient of Hawaii Committee for the Humanities grant for production of film study guide to accompany The Navigators.
1981 recipient of Arthur Vining Davis Foundation film production grant.
1981 – “Anthropology for Television,” presentation to the 14th Film and Video Seminar of the Northwest, Seattle, Washington.
1980 – “Anthropology and the Media: The Odyssey Series,” presentation to the Conference on Visual Anthropology, Temple University.
1977 – Anthropology and Film: presentation to the Maine Photographic Workshops.
1977 – Yanomamo: the Fierce People; presentation of anthropological film in association with Bates College Film Board and department of Sociology and Anthropology.
1977 – Documentary Video Workshop – workshop leader for workshop on film-video production, University of Maine, Portland-Gorham.
1976-1977 – Maine Maritime Heritage – created 6 part lecture series at Bath Maritime Museum.
1973 – Oscar Newman and Associates – St. Louis Privitization Project – anthropologist consultant for major urban renovation project in St. Louis, Mo.
1972 – Allen Moore and Associates – the Hartcrime Project – anthropologist consultant to major urban planning effort in Hartford, Connecticut.
1968 – National Institute of Mental Health grant for anthropological field study in Peruvian Barriada.

Sam in Maine


Martha’s Vineyard Magazine – “It Freed His Heart” – Thomas Hart Benton – July 2004.

Sailing magazine – “In Search of Old Maine” – April 2004.

Soundings magazine – “Voyage to the Marquesas,” August, 2004. .
Soundings magazine – “Polynesian Navigation,” November, 2003.
Orion magazine, “In the Wake of the Ancestors,” May-June, 2003.
Newsletter, Polynesian Voyaging Society, “Voyage to the Kupuna Islands”, Spring/Summer, 2002.
Soundings magazine, “The Sea Shall Guide Them”, April, 2002.
Enrichment Reading, chapter in English language textbook for college students in Mainland China, “From Captain Cook’s Quandary A Dream is Born,” Pearson Education North Asia, Ltd. and Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, Beijing, China, 2001.
Martha’s Vineyard magazine, “The Heart’s Map,” May – June, 2001.
Sailing magazine, “Stars to Steer Her By”, March, 2001.
Hana Hou Magazine, “Guardians of the Pond,” December, 2000.
Wooden Boat magazine, “Hawaii – The Spaceship of Our Ancestors, Hokule’a,” September/October, 2000.
Martha’s Vineyard magazine, “Island to Island”, cover, feature story, July 2000.
The Contemporary Pacific, A Journal of Island Affairs, University of Hawaii, Wayfinders – A Pacific Odyssey, Film Review, Vol. 12, Number 1, Spring, 2000.
Hana Hou magazine, “A gift of the Wind,” March, 2000.
Hana Hou magazine, “Voyages of Awakening,” and Sidebars, March 2000.
Website, The Polynesian Voyaging Society, Voyage to Rapa Nui – 1999-2000, daily reports from voyaging canoe Hokule’a, feature articles, photographs – sent via satellite from the canoe and published daily, fall 1999 – Winter 2000.
Cruising World, “A 4,000 mile Voyage into the Past,” Final Frontier Department, October 1999.
Vineyard Gazette, miscellaneous comment articles, 1999 – 2004.
Sports Car International, “The Haul of Flame,” September, 1997.
Boston Sunday Globe, Focus Section, “Using suburban amenities to reshape, revitalize cities,” June 15, 1997.
Boston Sunday Globe, Travel section, “The Power and the Glory – a writer searches for his roots amid the Big Island’s majesty,” March 2, 1997.
LOUIE magazine, “The Zen Masters of Speed,” fall, 1996.
WAIMEA GAZETTE, “The Best Cowpunchers on the Planet,” May 1996.
EUROPEAN CAR magazine, “The Agony of Victory,” May 1996.
SPORTS CAR INTERNATIONAL magazine, “The Black Art,” January, 1996.
SAIL magazine, “Voyage of Rediscovery,” October, 1995.
FAST CARS AND SCIENCE, Teacher’s Guide to accompany four video modules on science and automobile racing for high school classrooms, Project Director, May 1995.
PANORAMA magazine, “The Time Machine,” January, 1995.
PANORAMA magazine, “At play in the Force Fields of the Lord,” May, 1994.
THE NOREASTER, CHALLENGE, METRO POST, DIE WEINTRAUBE, numerous articles and book reviews concerning racing for Porsche Club of America newsletters, 1993-1994.
SEA HISTORY magazine, the National Maritime Historical Society, “The Navigators, Filming The Story of the Polynesian Conquest of the Pacific,” fall, 1983.
THE NAVIGATORS – Pathfinders of the Pacific – Teachers Guide to accompany film The Navigators – managing editor and publisher, 1983.
ODYSSEY Magazine, a teacher’s guide to accompany the Odyssey series, Consulting Editor, published by Public Broadcasting Associates, 1980.
SEA HISTORY magazine, the National Maritime Historical Society, “The First and Last Voyage of the Saint Mary,” fall, 1977 and spring 1978, 2 part article.
FILM LIBRARY QUARTERLY, “University Press for the Visual Media,” Film Library Information Council, Vol. 12, Number 1, pp. 26-28, spring 1979.
NEWSLETTER – Society for the Anthropology of Visual Communications, 1978, miscellaneous articles concerning anthropology and film.
“House Space and Ladder Climbing,” paper presented at the 74th annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association, December 3, 1975.
Ph.D. Dissertation – “The Social and Spatial Order of a Peruvian Barriada,” Harvard University, 1974.
“The privatization of Streets in St. Louis: its effect on crime and community stability,” contributing author and anthropologist consultant for this National Science Foundation Study of St. Louis residential areas, 1973.
PERUVIAN TIMES magazine, Lima, “The Festival of the Apostle in Santiago de Chuco,” September 22, 1972.
SAIL INDUSTRY magazine, November, 1969, article on the vagaries of consumer behavior in the sailboat industry.
VINEYARD GAZETTE, 1960-1964, Harthaven Correspondent, miscellaneous feature articles, printer’s devil, proofreader, general “backroom” assistant.
Miscellaneous Newspapers – The Wiscasset Paper, Gulf of Maine Times, Lincoln County Journal, Boothbay Gazette, Boothbay Register, Lincoln County Weekly.

Photographs Published

Saturday Review, Sea History, Soundings, Wooden Boat, Sailing, Sail, Martha’s Vineyard Magazine, Aloha, Hana Hou, The Boston Globe, Peruvian Times, The Vineyard Gazette, European Car, Sports Car International, Porsche Panorama, Excellence, Louie, Orion.

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