Director of Photography




Vatsala is an Indian cinematographer and educator based in LA and San Francisco Bay Area. She has several feature films, shorts, television & web credits in both fiction and documentary. Vatsala loves working with light, color and movement - the simplest and finest ingredients of cinematography.

In 2019, 3 of her films premiered at Tribeca film festival - Chromosome 19, A Tale of Two Kitchens and Snaggletooth. Her film “The Train Leaves at Four” was on NFDC Film Bazaar "Viewing Room" list in 2015 and premiered in the “India Story” section at MAMI film festival. Recently she has shot for Netflix, Tribeca Studios, Aubin Pictures, 23andme, 212Berlin working with Emmy nominated and Guggenheim awarded directors on feature films. A PSA she shot in response to the Kavanaugh hearing was featured on ABC News Network. Her work spans topics such as genealogy, reform in prison policies and public education, art for justice and migration of indigenous communities.

She has lectured as adjunct faculty of Cinematography at the School of Cinema, SFSU and served as photography mentor for Bay Area youth at First Exposures. She graduated with an M.F.A. in cinematography from FTII, India and a B.A. in english literature from Calcutta University.

  • Valid passport, available for work travel.

Selected Screenings

  • AFI Docs Film Festival, Washington D.C. 2019

  • Tribeca Film Festival (world premier & NY premier), NY 2019.

  • Ojai Film Festival, CA 2018

  • Mill Valley Film Festival, CA 2018

  • Cinequest, CA 2018

  • Female Filmmakers Fuse Film Festival, CA 2018.

  • Albany Film Festival, CA, 2017. 

  • I Hella Love Shorts Film Festival, Oakland, 2016. 

  • Scary Cow Film Festival, San Francisco, 2015, '16, '17. 

  • NCPA Reality Check & Indian Documentary Producer's Association co-presentation at NCPA, Mumbai, 2017.  

  • National Competetion, 14th Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF), Mumbai 2016.

  • NFDC India Film Bazaar's Recommended "Viewing Room" 2015 List. 

  • India Story, 17th MAMI Mumbai International Film Festival, Mumbai, 2015. 

  • 21st Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF), Kolkata, 2015. 

  • CLAPSTICK Film Festival, SRFTI Kolkata, 2014.

  • 6th Jaipur International Film Festival (JIFF) Jaipur, 2014.

  • National Student Film Awards, Pune, 2013. 

  • 44th International Film Festival of India, Goa, 2013

  • International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerela, 2013.

  • 11th Kalpanirjhar Short Film Festival, Kolkata, 2013.

  • 34th Clermont- Ferrand International Short Film Festival, France, 2012

  • Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, 2012

  • Bollywood and Beyond, Germany, 2012

  • Nepal Cine Symposium, Nepal, 2012

  • Indian Film Festival, Houston, USA, 2012

Art & Photography Exhibitions

  • Pin-up Group Show, photographs Dickerman Prints, San Francisco, 2014.

  • Participating artist, Khoj Artist Residency, 2014.

  • Group show, Sadakchchap Street Photography Intervention, Pune, 2013. 

  • Group show, photographs at Open Show Pune II, 2013. 

  • Group show, video art at Clarion Collection, New Delhi, 2008. 

  • Group show, photographs at Musée de l'Élysée, France, 2007. 

  • Group Show, "Black and Red", paintings at St Xavier's Annual Art Exhibition, Kolkata, 2005. 

  • Group Show, paintings at Birla Academy of Art & Culture, Kolkata, 2005. 

Awards/ Honors

  • ASC Masterclass Vision Scholarship 2019 runner up.

  • Co- judge, Noe Valley Girl's Film Festival, San Francisco, 2016. 

  • Awarded the Outstanding Cinematography Award for "Guillaume; or, The Chauffeur" at Scary Cow Film Festival, San Francisco, 2016. 

  • Curator + Producer/ Photography Exhibit and Lecture Series "Open Show" in Pune, 2012. 


The eye is the jewel of the body

~Henry David Thoreau