Q&A with Tanmay Chowdhary

A conversation with Tanmay Chowdhary, the Los Angeles based filmmaker behind ‘Color of November’.

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When you decided to make this short film, where did you start?

I had never been to Europe before. I knew I had to film something, I didn't know what. The spaces, the cold of the winter, the smell of the air, all of it invoked a sense of connection to my own fragmented past. Bydgoszcz, the bars don't close till customers leave.

It is 9AM in the morning and I've been talking to Zuzanna for over 5 hours. She is drunk and happy and sad. We talk about identity, globalization, her crush on this girl who had been visiting for the film festival. The night has a flow to it. She tells me, "you know how everyone keeps saying that our generation does not know how to live in the present? That we are on our phones all the time documenting everything around us. I think that my situation is the complete opposite. I live too much in the present. I forget to take pictures. Later, when I look back, I am not sure if any of those moments ever happened in the first place."

As soon as she finishes saying that, I ask her whether she would want to be in a film playing herself. She laughs and walks to the bar to get another drink.

That same night/morning, I also meet Emilia. She is a theatre actress and our conversation is super short. I tell her that I have a camera and a tripod and I would love to make a film here in Bydgoszcz. I ask her whether she would want to be in it and she says yes.

The next morning I call both of them and it turns out that they know each other from childhood. They have been close friends. I spend the next 4 days with them, exploring the city where they grew up, their identities, our collective existential dilemmas and what it meant to be living in this contemporary globalized time which gave us this sense of connection to each other, and yet left us feeling so alone and distant from both our homes and our relationships.

The end result was this hybrid narrative-doc short that explores cross border perspectives on the relationship between identity and space in the post globalization era. 

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What kind of hurdles do you face as a filmmaker working in short film?

This film was made with no money, no crew and no script. I think I spent a total of 100 dollars making this film. I filmed it on my black magic pocket cinema camera. I had a tripod and that's all. I had to rent out the sound gear from a polish film production company. That is where the 100 dollars went. On top of that, I didn't speak the language. I think these were all hurdles in some ways, but also created this framework within which new possibilities could emerge. 

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What projects are you working on next, and how can people who are interested best support or share that work?

Yes. There are two narrative features that I am in the process of developing as a co-writer and director. One is set in the villages of Sunderbans in India and it tells three parallel stories which question the idea of altruism.

Another feature is set in Los Angeles and tells the story of a queer lesbian who is trying to come to terms with the ultimate failure of the American Dream.

There is also a narrative feature set in San Fransisco that I am collaborating with fellow friend and filmmaker, Sanford Jenkins. I will be shooting the film for him. I think the best way to support would be to share my work and engage with it on an interpersonal level. 


Mike Ambs

I love to film things, tell stories, and read on the subway. I'm pretty sure blue whales are my power animal.