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Saumyananda Sahi

Director of Photography

Director Anne Aghion recruited cinematographer Saumyananda ‘Somo’ Sahi at the 2013 DocEdgeKolkata. At this forum for Asian documentary, Aghion was a mentor and Saumyananda ‘Somo’ Sahi a mentee, there to workshop his first documentary SMALL THINGS, BIG THINGS, having just shot his first feature HAVE YOU SEEN THE ARANA? and just recently graduated from the world-renowned Film and Television Institute of India.

Over the years of production on TURBULENCE, Saumyananda ‘Somo’ Sahi not only shot all of the film’s contemporary footage on locations in France, the United States and northeastern India, he also became a much-in-demand, multiple award-winning cinematographer, working in non-fiction and narrative alike.

Over the last decade, he has lensed eight narrative features, thirteen non-fiction features and a seven-episode mini-series. In 2022, he was selected for the BAFTA Breakthrough India program, and the publication Film Companion named him one of India’s “Disruptors,” explaining that “His career of a little over a decade is one breakout moment after another.”

Saumyananda ‘Somo’ Sahi was one of three DPs on the 2022 documentary ALL THAT BREATHES, which won some 16 major awards, including the Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize; the Cannes Film Festival’s top documentary award, the Golden Eye; the American Society of Cinematographers’ Best Documentary prize; Cinema Eye Honors for Outstanding Filmmaking and Outstanding Cinematography; and the DOC NYC Cinematography Award. The film also received dozens of nominations, including from BAFTA and the Academy Awards.

Saumyananda ‘Somo’ Sahi worked with acclaimed director Prashant Nair on the award-winning mini-series, TRIAL BY FIRE, released globally by Netflix in January 2023 to wide critical acclaim. It scored 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, made it onto IMDB’s Top 100 list after its debut, and just won a Filmfare Award for Best Series in Critics Category.

Director Anamika Haksar’s TAKING THE HORSE TO EAT JALEBIS, which mixes gritty verité with dreamscapes and magical realism was called a “masterpiece of contemporary Indian cinema” by Kinoscope and “thrilling” by The Hollywood Reporter. The film brought Saumyananda ‘Somo’ Sahi the 2023 Indian Critics’ Choice Award for Best Cinematography, and played at numerous festivals including the New Frontier section of the Sundance Film Festival.

Additionally, Saumyananda ‘Somo’ Sahi’s work has screened at major film festivals such as Berlin, Rotterdam, Locarno, Busan, Toronto, Hot Docs (Canada), IDFA (Holland), Mumbai, Filmfare, and the joint Tribeca-YouTube pandemic event, the We Are One global film fest.Saumyananda ‘Somo’ Sahi has directed two documentaries, is at work on a new seven-episode series, three of which he is directing, and is presently completing his own first narrative feature. As a teacher, he has conducted workshops at the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute of India, BITS Pilani (Goa) and NYU Abu Dhabi.

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