This section showcases non-fiction and experimental works produced by Sandeep Ray from 1994-2020 (see IMDB). Some of these films are available at the libraries of several universities – or through DER in Massachusetts. Others can be requested directly. 

The Sound of Old Rooms

2011, 72 minutes, India.

As a college student he had time to drink with friends and discuss his writings; now with work commitments, he struggles to continue his dream.

The crumbling home where he was raised and still lives with his nagging but affectionate mother, wife and young son is extremely cramped; he sleeps, as he has since a child, surrounded by books. Sarthak leads us through Kolkata’s bars, apartments and alleyways as he tries to understand life and find meaning in his work.

Distributed by: Documentary Educational Resources

  • Grand Prize, Taiwan International Documentary Film Festival, 2012
  • Selected for ‘100 Years of Indian Cinema’, Bradford International Film Festival, 2013
  • Pusan International Film Festival, 2011
  • Dubai International Film Festival, 2011
  • Sydney Film Festival, 2012
  • International Documentary Film Festival, Jihlava, Czech Republic, 2012
  • In Competition, Asia Pacific Screen Awards, 2012
  • Jean Rouch International Film Festival, Paris, 2012
  • DOX:CPH Copenhagen International Film Festival, 2012
  • Iran Cinema-Verite Film Festival, Tehran, 2013
  • Osians Cinefan Film Festival, New Delhi, 2012 

Reviews

Sandeep Ray’s Sound of Old Rooms Resonates in the Heart
Meenakshi Shedde, DNA India, 12/16/2011

Sandeep Ray and Storytelling Economy
SBS Documentary Australia, 12/2011

The Case for Global Film
Roy Stafford, In the Picture, 18/04/2018

Documentary Traces Poets Life Over 20 Years
New Indian Express, 25/09/2014

Doc. Shot Over 20 Years!
The Hindu, 09/22/2014

‘Old Rooms’ is Nostalgia for the Present
News 18

American Anthropologist
Harjant S. Gill, Vol. 118, 3, 2016

Premiere at Busan, 2011

Safe (in production)

Greece/Norway

Filmed in Istanbul, Greece, and Norway, ‘Safe’ follows the journey of Abeer, a Syrian aid worker and mother to four daughters.

Abeer was forced to separate her family in order to secure a new future for them and must come to terms with this painful decision.

Galau

2015, 15 minutes, Indonesia

A middle-aged tourist wanders around a stunning island in the Pacific Ocean. Something is troubling him.

 

  • Concorto Film Festival, Italy, August 2015
  • Festival International Signes de Nuit, Paris, Nov. 2015

Thin Arms

2013, 9 minutes, India

A woman in her eighties undergoes debilitating medical treatment.

This short, intimate film lingers on her isolation, hospital visits, growing fatigue and an obsession with the mango tree outside her window.

  • Best Director, AsiaAfrica Shorts, Dubai International Film Festival Dec 2013
  • Concorto Film Festival, Italy, August 2014
  • 13th International Short and Independent Film Festival, Dhaka, Dec. 2014
  • Festival International Signes de Nuit, Paris, Dec. 2014

Short interview, Dubai, 2013

Aceh Community Rangers

2013, 25 minutes, Indonesia

"For decades, the vast jungle interior that blankets the northern Indonesian province of Aceh provided a haven for thousands of rebel foot soldiers fighting a war of independence." –New York Times

"Five years after an earthquake and tsunami laid waste to much of Aceh Province, killing 170,000 people, the provincial government has begun to institute a strategy of economic development. It aims to incorporate sustainable development, integrate former combatants into society and create jobs that fulfill the goal of the former separatist movement: ensuring that revenue from natural resources benefits local people.

The Aceh Green program, although still in its early stages, has already yielded some results.

Hundreds of former rebels, who know the Ulu Masen jungle perhaps better than anyone, are being trained and recast as forest rangers by Fauna and Flora International, one of the oldest international environmental groups in Aceh. The new rangers trek through the woods, armed with compasses and climbing rope, on the lookout for illegal loggers and poachers."

A Road Through Fatulotou

2010, 20 minutes, Indonesia

This area next to the border with East Timor is inhabited by locals going back several generations as well as a sizeable population of newcomers, or ‘Warga Baru.’

‘Warga Baru’ are those people who crossed the border with East Timor after the referendum in 1999 and settled in Indonesia. Initially classified as IDPs they were the focus of several government and NGO programs aimed to better the conditions of a destitute people who fled to a new country often carrying nothing with them. The salient observation in this film is that 10 years after the referendum in East Timor the two communities have integrated rather well, yet pressure on the resources of a hard, dry area has led to sporadic violence often unrelated to the geographic origins of the perpetrators.

In the Aftermath of Peace: Hope and Struggle in Aceh

2010, 35 minutes, Indonesia

Five years since the Helsinki Agreement brought peace to Aceh, the province has undergone enormous social and political changes.

Filmmaker Sandeep Ray talked to the Acehnese about their frustrations and aspirations over a period of 10 months, culminating in a 40-minute film that was first screened in Jakarta in May 2010. In the Aftermath of Peace: Hope and Struggle in Aceh (Indonesian w/English subtitles), features candid comments from former GAM separatists, widows of combatants, village leaders, government officials, NGO workers and political analysts (Rizal Sukma, Sidney Jones, Lilianne Fan). The film probes some of the important questions pertaining to this nascent post-conflict region: Has compensation been fair and adequate? What has been the impact of development and reconstruction assistance? Is there a possibility of Aceh relapsing into conflict? Weaving in interviews, news clips, and contemporary footage, the documentary explores the complicated and sensitive issues of compensation, reintegration and peace-building.

REVIEWS

Aceh’s Uneasy Peace in Focus
Jakarta Globe, 05/25/2010

A Trial in East Kalimantan

2000, 50 minutes, Indonesia

This film, shot in Indonesia in 1999 gives us a rare insider’s look at the beginnings of democracy during a period of political unrest and economic turmoil throughout the country.

On the island of Kalimantan, a Dayak village organizes a sit-in to protest the destruction of their agricultural land and the desecration of sacred funeral sites by a multinational palm oil company. During the sit-in, eleven community leaders are arrested on charges of vandalism. We follow the fates of Petrus Dukung and Benyamin Tawwakng, the two young Dayak leaders, as they face a corrupt political and judicial system. The involvement of human rights lawyers, student groups, and other activists bring the Dayak struggle to the attention of the media. We witness the power of organized demonstrations as activists question their government and voice doubts about the court’s commitment to justice.

Distributed by: Documentary Educational Resources

LEAVING BAKUL BAGAN 

1994, 40 minutes, India

Three generations of the extended Roychowdury family have resided for decades at 160 Bakul Bagan Road, Calcutta. Every now and then one of its members has to leave the landscape of their childhood - a large sprawling house built around a courtyard and all the affection that dozens of relatives surround them with, to relocate for a job or to start a family elsewhere.

In Leaving Bakul Bagan, Saborna, a 19 year-old girl, prepares to leave for higher studies in the United States. The film is an intimate portrayal of her interactions with her family during her last few days at home. It is full of casual conversational humor and vignettes from typical familial interactions.

Incidental to the time and woven into the film are the effects of race riots throughout India in the aftermath of the destruction of a Mosque by Hindu fanatics. This incident precipitates an already brewing political debate about the ethics of leaving for America, especially on the eve of such a tragic political disaster.
Distributed by: Documentary Educational Resources

SELECTED SCREENINGS & AWARDS
Best of Category, New England Film and Video Festival, 1994
Special Invitation, 40th Flaherty Film Seminar, 1994
RAI, University of Kent Festival of Ethnographic Films, 1994
Whitney Museum Tour, New York, Bombay, New Delhi, 1994

 

Designed TO DREAM (OBAMA IN JAKARTA)

2010, 3 minutes, Indonesia

‘Sandeep not only re-affirms my faith in documentary but also in the fact that god is in the details.’

Nishtha Jain, Academy Member, Director, Gulabi Gang

‘Dear Mr. Ray, the Greenway project has enjoyed such early success thanks to the efforts of countless dedicated and talented individuals. I am especially grateful for your contribution.’

Edward M. Kennedy, United States Senate, 12/7/2005

“There is never a moment when we feel that we are voyeurs or that the scenes are being manipulated for the camera.”

Roy Stafford, In The Picture