Writer and filmmaker
Sandeep Ray is a writer, filmmaker and scholar, with a strong international reputation in complementary creative fields.
A latecomer to fiction, Sandeep’s debut novel, A Flutter in the Colony (HarperCollins India, 2019) – set in time and temper between the rubber plantations of 1950s Malaya and the anguish-filled years of pre-Partition Bengal – has won both commercial and critical success. The Times of India said that ‘the writing is a pleasure to read, it flows dreamily’, and the Mekong Review wrote that the ‘story – one of love, family, humanity, nationhood, friendship, loyalty and tragedy – is as intricate as the rich fabric of Malayan society itself.’Meanwhile, The Hindu boldly claimed that the book is ‘destined to be a classic’. Sandeep’s forthcoming monograph, Celluloid Colony (NUS Press), about Dutch propagandistic film in colonial Indonesia, is based on exhaustive research in film archives in the Netherlands.
Sandeep’s earlier interests focused on film – understanding the past through visual archives and filming the everyday overlap of fact/fiction. He cut his teeth as an editor and researcher in the United States working on several prestigious multi-year projects including the !Kung ethnographic film archive, the largest at the Smithsonian Institution; the educational outreach of National Geographic; and a multi-part series for the Harvard Science Education Department. He developed his own projects and produced a body of personal and historical works filmed in Kolkata, Aceh, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, the Timor border and Namibia. Sandeep’s 2012 feature documentary, The Sound of Old Rooms (Kokkho-poth), a 20-year collaborative coming-of-age story about a poet, won the Grand Prize at the Taiwan International Documentary Festival. In 2014 Thin Arms, a short about aging and mortality won Best Director at the Dubai International Film Festival. His films have been screened at numerous festivals and are distributed by DER, a leading resource for ethnographic film.
Sandeep has a PhD in history and currently teaches history in Singapore. Alongside his creative and academic roles, he has lectured widely and been invited to serve on film juries.
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