Artists must question the prevalent template of their chosen medium and innovate in order to establish and update their work. This exists in both a personal and generational pattern. Award-winning photographer, cinematographer, and filmmaker Tanmay Chowdhary has always been a fan of expanding the possibilities of his work. For the documentary-narrative hybrid film Color of November, Chowdhary wanted to push himself as well as the audience to redefine what storytelling could do. In what might be described as improvisational-experiential-innovative filmmaking, Tanmay has broken the rule that dictates one must completely orchestrate every part of a story to make it captivating. Trusting his instincts and talent and implementing them in a forgiving manner, he has created what jazz musicians did in the twentieth century with Be Bop. Chowdhary has displayed in Color of November the kind of forward momentum that pushes modern filmmaking into fresh areas.
Those who are more interested in creating art, rather than simply displaying that they have exceptional skill, often place themselves in circumstances that seem unreasonable to most. For Tanmay, Color of November was a project which would test his ability to create an intriguing story in a very nontraditional manner. In contrast to the big crews and extensive equipment which normally surrounds him, this film was shot and directed by Tanmay alone; no crew, no financing. Only natural and practical lights were utilized. However, the most astonishing facet of this film is that Chowdhary did not even speak the language of the people and the environment in which he filmed and worked. He confesses, “I went into the film knowing that I wanted to capture the landscape in the way which nature presents it. The film has so much to do with the relationship humans share with their spaces and I didn’t want to modify that. I think this film was really about connecting with the environment and the characters around me. It was a documentary-narrative hybrid and being the DP helped me design the story visually on the move. The look of the film came to me before the idea of the story and I think being the DP of the film allowed me to see that instinct through. I used a mix of handheld and static pans to really play on the idea of memory and time in the place.”
The film is something quite different from what is often presented to the public as Reality storytelling. This docu-drama depicts the story of Zuzanna and Emilia, two young women who find themselves at a point which all of us can relate to; who are we in this world? While most storytelling gives clearly defined lines about each character, their motives, and their arc, Zuzanna and Emilia are not as easily defined. What this film does in such a beautiful way is to show us that we should take delight in the fact that life is not predetermined for us. The chaos, the uncertainty is to be embraced because it makes for a much more entertaining story…and life. Scenes as mundane as dancing in one’s own house, smoking a cigarette on a balcony, or even walking a dog; these all become enchanting when viewed through the camera eye of Tanmay. He manages to find a way to communicate “This is a moment worthy of stepping outside yourself and appreciating for its simple pleasure.”
Color of November is “of the moment” and simultaneously timeless. It depicts a rite of passage for those who want to truly experience life. There’s an unspoken aspirational quality to the main characters and the film itself, seemingly whispering that we should appreciate every moment and seek to define ourselves. This is an idea that translates easily into any culture and region, as evidenced by the film’s accolades from the Festival Du Nouveau Cinema, Filmfest Dresden, SASFF, and others. Color of November has obtained international distribution from distribution Omeleto, NoBudge, Bureau of Creative Works, FilmShortage, and Viddsee. Though you’ll most often see Tanmay Chowdhary collaborating on big film sets with his fellow artists, Color of November has vetted his impact as a filmmaker with unique vision and signature visuals.