Filmmaker | Screenwriter | Educator
Priya Vashist is a film director, screenwriter, editor, and educator. Priya is an Assistant Professor of Film at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. Priya works in various genres and styles of filmmaking, including narrative, documentary, and experimental. Her work focuses on social justice and representation of ethnic minorities, especially queer South Asians, on screen. Priya's films and screenplays have been screened and featured at various national and international film conferences and film festivals including Academy-Award qualifying and BAFTA qualifying film festivals. Priya received her MFA in Cinema Production from San Francisco State University.
Her upcoming short film Yet So Far (2021) deals with intersectional politics and romance between queer women of Indian and Filipino diasporas. Her screenplay Out Breaking (2021) focuses on internal, social and financial struggle of a queer South Asian international student during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s currently a finalist at Oscar- qualifying Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival competing for top awards. Her screenplay The Great Dismal (2020) deals with complexities of racial power in a queer relationship. The central character of her short science-fiction film Touching Shadows (2019) is a powerful queer South Asian woman. Priya is directing a short documentary – Hunton Y: A Hope for Change (2022) that will tell the story of William A. Hunton YMCA (Hunton Y) which is the oldest independent historically African American YMCA of our country, has served more than three generations of African- American people in Norfolk, VA but is now being forced to close its doors due to the city’s discriminatory policies. Priya collaborated as the lead filmmaker/videographer and editor with Broadway actor James T. Lane on his teleplay ‘Triple Threat’ that’s based on his own experiences as a black gay actor working on Broadway. The teleplay is currently in the process of distribution. Priya is collaborating with well-known LGBTQ and AIDS activist Cleve Jones on a film that will shoot in India in 2022. The film will highlight struggles of Indian LGBTQ individuals in India and outside of India, and will aim to bring about positive change.