Hey there! I'm Sheldon Chau

Location: New York, NY
Experience: 10 years
Title/Headline: Cinematographer
Known for: Nigerian Prince, Nafi's Father, Summer Knight, Fish Bones
Minimum time: 10 minutes

About Me

Born in Los Angeles of Cantonese descent, Sheldon discovered as a teenager that movies were more than simply entertainment via his introduction to the Criterion Collection. He was further inspired by the power of storytelling when he interviewed his father for a documentary and learned of his parents’ tale of survival where they fled Vietnam in the aftermath of the war. Committed to filmmaking, Sheldon attended NYU Tisch School of the Arts where he earned his MFA in cinematography.

Sheldon is the winner of the 2015 ARRI Volker Bahnemann Award for Cinematography and has screened at major festivals such as Cannes, Sundance, Toronto, and Venice. His last three features were 'Nigerian Prince' (shot in Nigeria, 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, NY Times' Critics Pick), 'Nafi’s Father' (shot in Senegal, winner of two top awards at 2019 Locarno Film Festival), and 'Summer Knight' (shot in Chengdu, China, Best Film in its category at 2019 Tokyo Intl Film Fest). Sheldon's upcoming credit includes a feature shot in South India featuring top Bollywood talent.

As a cinematographer, Sheldon has specialized in filming internationally, working with diverse colleagues, and capturing images from a vast array of cultures as he continues to seek stories that are evocative, personal, and emotionally resonant.

Sheldon is currently based in New York City.

This expert donates all Sidetime proceeds to Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund.
  • cinematography
  • dp
  • director of photography
  • Camera

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  • Open Ended Conversation

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  • Filming on a Tight Budget

    What options do you have if you're shooting a project with a very small budget? What happens if you don't have access to an Alexa? What if you only have one camera and one lighting assistant? What if you are running solo? This session will explore the various ways one can tackle a project with very little resources. We will strip things down to the basics to figure out the differences between necessity and luxury. Essentially, what do you absolutely need to tell a good story?

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  • Filming Internationally

    Over the past 5 years, I've shot films in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Dubai, Nigeria, Senegal, China, Mexico, and India. Every country has such a different working style, and every crew operates so uniquely. One of the joys of working internationally is learning the ability to adapt to various rules, styles, demands and challenges. What is it like to work in Africa? How about China? How did I navigate the language barrier? How do I develop the flexibility to work with available gear in any given country and situation? How did I even begin to get jobs in all these different places? How do I balance personal life while I'm away for months at a time? This session will explore the many factors that come into filming overseas.

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