Sandeep Ray is a writer, visual artist, and historian. He currently teaches Southeast Asian history at the Singapore University of Technology and Design where he also heads the Non-fiction Film Lab. Mentored by Abraham Ravett and John Marshall in the 1990s, Sandeep started as a filmmaker, cutting his teeth freelancing in Boston. He became series editor and researcher on several longue durée projects – the !Kung ethnographic film archive, the largest at the Smithsonian Institution; the educational outreach of National Geographic; and on a multi-year series for the Science Education Department at Harvard. He went on to produce a diverse body of non-fiction films in Kolkata, Aceh, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, the Timor border, Namibia, and Greece. His documentaries, distributed by Documentary Educational Resources, have been reviewed in the American Anthropologist, Visual Anthropology and have screened at several festivals including in Busan (BIFF), Taiwan (TIDF), Sydney, Paris (Jean Rouch), Tehran (IIFF), Copenhagen (DOX), and have curated at the Flaherty Seminar, the Films Division of India, and the Whitney and Getty Museums. In 2019 he published his first novel, A Flutter in the Colony from Harper Collins.
Sandeep writes about colonial film in Southeast Asia. Celluloid Colony, his 2021 monograph from NUS Press, explores non-fiction Dutch colonial film in the Netherlands East Indies (1912-1930). He is currently co-editing a special volume titled, ‘Encountering Violence: Media and Memory in Asia’ with Han Sang Kim of Ajou University. Supported by a Pedagogy Innovation Grant from SUTD, he is working on ways to better present archival film material for classroom use. Sandeep has also begun researching film material from the Japanese Occupation of Southeast Asia with the goal of writing a second academic book.