Payal Sethi
Payal Sethi / @payal_sethi
Payal Sethi

Payal Sethi


Director, Screenwriter, Cafehopper.


Bachelor of Arts (Film Major) - Vassar College, Sight & Sound - NYU Tisch


  • Screenwriting
  • Script Editing
  • Creative Producing
  • Film Production


  • Crime
  • Drama
  • Thriller
  • World cinema

Languages / spoken

  • English
  • French
  • Hindi

Languages / written

  • English

scriptDock Community

  • Pitcher
  • Active
  • Updated Profile

Payal Sethi’s second short film, 'Leeches' won the National Film Award in India & the International Grand Prix at Brussels Short Film Festival. It was screened at over 70 film festivals worldwide, including Tampere, Palm Springs & distributed on Amazon Prime & MUBI. She’s an alumna of Berlinale Talents, Produire au Sud, Cine Qua Non & Talent & Short Film Market, and w


Payal Sethi is an Indian-born filmmaker based in Germany, with a penchant for examining marginalized lives and confounding female protagonists. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Vassar College & the Tisch School of the Arts. Her work spans fiction  documentary, and has screened at prestigious film festivals, and streamed on Amazon Prime and MUBI.

Payal’s second short, "Leeches," won the National Film Award in India & the International Grand Prix at the Brussels Short Festival, among others. Screened at over 70 festivals worldwide, including Tampere, Sapporo, and Palm Spring Shortfest, "Leeches" captivated audiences with its portrayal of human resilience amidst societal challenges.

Payal has participated in renowned industry programs such as Berlinale Talents, Produire au Sud, Cine Qua Non lab, and iDM’s Talent & Short Film Market. She has been honoured with the Kompagnon Fellowship from Perspektive Deutsches Kino & Berlinale Talents for her feature screenplay “Kurinji,” in addition to the Asia Society/Time Warner New Voices Fellowship for a wildlife-thriller screenplay, "Panther." She is currently in post-production on her third short film.

These days she calls the city of Stuttgart home, where she lives with her husband and six-year old son and continues her dedication to amplifying underrepresented voices by crafting thought-provoking stories.


Writer, Director & Producer | Short Drama | India, Germany | Post-production


Writer & Director | Short Drama | Germany

Financing & Early pre-production | Production Year: 2025

Awards: Talent and Short Film Market (Italy) – ‘Best Pitch Award’


Writer & Director| 100’ - Feature Drama | India
Late Development, Seeking Financing | Production Year: 2025
Awards & Selections: Kompagnon Fellowship (Berlinale Talents & Perspektive Deutsches Kino); Berlinale Talents Script Station; Cine Qua Non Script Lab; Produire au Sud – KoPro PAS

Death in Mumbai

Writer | Narrative Series | India
In Development | Production Year: 2025

Acquired by Amazon Prime (India)

Ritu Goes Online

Creative Producer | Short Documentary | India, Germany | Released 2020
Festivals & Awards: Indie Festival, Belo Horizonte; The Women's Film Festival - Demakijaż, Poland; South Asian International Film–Best Short; Tagore International Film Festival - Outstanding Achievement in Documentary; Arthouse Asia Film Festival; The Women's Voices Now Film Festival– Best Short


Writer, Director & Producer | Short Drama | India | Released 2016
Festivals: Winner, Grand Prix Internationale, Brussels Short Film Festival; Audience Award, Seoul International Women’s Film Festival; National Film Awards of India; Best Film (Dhow Countries), Zanzibar International Film Festival; German Star of India, Indian Film Festival of Stuttgart; Edward Snowden Award, Festival International Signes de Nuit; Best Narrative Short, Women’s Voices Now; First Prize, Hancheng International Short Film Festival, Silk Road Competition; Tampere Film Festival; Palm Springs International ShortFest; Durban IFF; Sapporo Intl. Shortfest; Hawaii IFF; Intnl. Documentary & Short Film Festival of Kerala; Dharamshala IFF

Grant St. Shaving Co.

Writer, Director & Producer | Short Drama | USA/India | Released 2010
Festivals: Best Short, The Smalls; Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia; Vancouver South Asian IFF; Silver Palm Award, Mexico IFF; Best Short – Florence River to River Film Festival; San Francisco Intl. Asian American Film Festival; Asian American IFF; San Francisco Intl. Women's Film Festival; Florence River to River Film Festival; South Asian IFF