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 Croatian War of Independence. 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 combat footage for international news outlets like BBC, CNN and NBC. 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 narrative director of photography, 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 20 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, Černjuls 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 International Cinematographers Guild, Imago (European Federation of Cinematographers), HFS (Croatian Society of Cinematographers), The European Film Academy and The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
Černjuls 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 Award for cinematography in 2016.
Vanja is based in New York City.