Born in Croatia, Vanja Černjul earned his first cinematography degree from the Academy of Dramatic Arts at the University of Zagreb in 1991. Graduation ceremonies coincided with the first political and military actions that triggered the Yugoslav Wars. Days after graduation, he pledged his skills to reporting the upheaval to the rest of the world and joined the ranks of international journalists providing footage from the frontlines for international news outlets. His coverage of the conflict in former Yugoslavia took him into hazardous and personally demanding situations that shaped his attitudes towards life, work and aesthetics.
In 1995, facing a domestic film industry in collapse and driven by the ambition to become a director of photography of narrative films, Černjul moved to New York and enrolled in the MFA program of the Tisch Graduate School of the Arts at NYU.
He has since photographed 21 feature films, numerous hit television programs and countless other projects with a wide range of collaborators. His feature work has been honored with the Stockholm International Film Festival Best Cinematography Award, the Pula Film Festival Golden Arena for Best Cinematography and the Avignon/New York Film Festival Kodak Vision Award.
Černjul has earned two Primetime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Cinematography for his work in television. In 2013, Černjul’s induction into the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), recognized his track record of creative and professional excellence. He is also an active member of the the European Film Academy and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, International Cinematographers Guild, the European Federation of Cinematographers (Imago) and the Croatian Society of Cinematographers (HFS). Vanja served as European Film Academy Excellence Awards Jury member for the 32nd European Film Awards in 2019.
Černjul’s recent work includes HBO series “The Deuce,” created by David Simon, Netflix original series “Marco Polo,” created by John Fusco, Miramax feature film “The Perfection”, directed by Richard Shepard and Warner Bros. feature film “Crazy Rich Asians”, directed by Jon M. Chu.
His work on “Marco Polo” was granted the ASC Outstanding Achievement Award by the American Society of Cinematographers in 2016.
Vanja is based in New York City.