Artist Spotlight: Cinematographer Samudranil 'Sam'Chatterjee
LOS ANGELES – When Samudranil “Sam” Chatterjee was growing up in India, he had a passion for watching movies that spoke to him and empathized with him. Today, the accomplished cinematographer is sharing his passion in unique and deeply humanistic films like “Outdooring,” set to premiere at South by Southwest International Film Festival on March 9 as well as playing at The Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles.
“We are very excited to bring ’Outdooring’ to South by Southwest and share this very engaging story of a gay young man having to choose between family or being free,” Chatterjee said. “The movie is particularly important in this age where there is so much intolerance and lack of understanding of those who are different.”
“Outdooring” written and directed by Maxwell Addae, tells the story of a young gay man who decides to attend his sister's newborn's naming or “Outdooring” ceremony to steal the money gathered and run away to France with his secret boyfriend.
“'Outdooring' was a performance heavy script and the director, Maxwell and myself were adamant on giving as much room as possible for performance and for the actors to move around in the space freely,” Chatterjee said. “This made lighting a challenge, as my gaffer Anton and I had to light for big spaces such as a huge hall and an even bigger car park on a budget. Visually, we were also trying to lean as much as we could into the darkness and play with reflections and shadows to create the tone of the piece. We were also dealing with a baby, which reduced our working hours with him, as well as shooting sequences with reduced nighttime in summer, so we had to move fast as a team.”
Born in Kolkata, formerly Calcutta, India, Sam always had a fascination for films and moviemaking. Even as his family moved to Brisbane, Australia as young boy, he continued his interest by taking film classes in high school and later in college where he attended Griffith Film School in Brisbane. Soon, he would find himself working on such films as Marvel’s “Thor: Ragnarok,” “The Shallows,” the shark thriller starring Blake Lively, as well as the horror-comedy “Charlie’s Farm” with Tara Reid.
Even as his career continued to rise, Chatterjee continued his attention to music and was a featured performer in several live concerts at various venues and on live television in India. He has since continued his interest in music by recording and releasing four albums most notably with HMV India.
Having moved to the U.S., Chatterjee was firmly entrenched in Hollywood where he continued his work on a number of films and also graduated from the competitive Cinematography program from the American Film Institute (AFI), where he was selected amongst the 28 Cinematographers, out of hundreds that apply from around the world.
He recently finished a feature length series titled “Quinn's Place” set to release later this year while he is also set to work on the upcoming features “Six Days to Sunday,” set to begin production in April, along with “Seahorse,” which will be shooting in June, and “Take Everything,” set for later this year.
To learn more about Sam Chatterjee, please visit him on Instagram at @samchatterjee