Kimi Takesue is Brooklyn based filmmaker working in documentary, experimental and narrative genres. Her feature documentary 95 and 6 To Go, a creative portrait of her Japanese-American grandfather in Hawai’i, was nominated for the prestigious 2017 European Doc Alliance Award and screened at over twenty-five international film festivals, including CPH:DOX, DOC NYC, and Dok Leipzig. The film won the Special Jury Prize for Best Documentary at Indie Memphis and the Los Angeles Asian Pacific International Film Festival.
Takesue’s critically acclaimed Ugandan feature-length documentary Where Are You Taking Me? was commissioned by the International Film Festival Rotterdam and premiered at the festival, followed by screenings at the MoMA, NYC, the Los Angeles Film Festival, and festivals in Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Uganda, Poland, Portugal and India, among others. “Where Are You Taking Me?” was a Critics’ Pick by Time Out-New York and LA Weekly and was described by the New York Times as, “Fascinating…an unusual, visually rich visit to the nation.”
Commissioned by ITVS, as part of the FutureStates Series, Takesue’s short fiction film, That Which Once Was explores the plight of environmental refugees. The film premiered at the SXSW Film Festival and was awarded the ITVS FutureStates Audience Award and Best Short at the Barcelona International Environmental Film Festival.
Takesue is a ten-time artist fellow at Yaddo, Bogliasco, Wexner Center for the Arts, Marblehouse, and the MacDowell Colony. Her films have screened widely internationally and aired on PBS, IFC, Comcast, and the Sundance Channel, receiving positive reviews from The New York Times, Variety, Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, Village Voice, Bomb Magazine, Christian Science Monitor and The Nation, among others. She is Professor in the Dept. of Arts, Culture, and Media at Rutgers University-Newark.
Films by Kimi Takesue
In 2032 an eight-year-old boy, displaced by global warming, fends for himself as an environmental refugee in a hostile northern metropolis. Haunted by memories of flooding that left him homeless and orphaned the boy forms an unexpected friendship with an Inuk ice carver who helps him confront his past.
A solitary man struggles to cultivate beauty in a desolate, post-apocalyptic world. Heartbroken, he drifts in and out of a haunting dream state, envisioning the promise of regeneration. Rosewater tells a story of hope sustained through perseverance, ritual, and, ultimately, revelation. Featuring striking black-and-white 16mm cinematography and evocative sound design, Rosewater is a master class in short-form visual and auditory storytelling.
What is it that people seek when they travel abroad? Looking for Adventure is a striking observational documentary that explores the pleasures, strains, and choreography of group tourism in Peru. Shot in magnificent tableaux, the film tracks the tension between the universal desire for new experiences and the commodification of Andean culture for foreign consumption.
Where Are You Taking Me? is an immersive sensory journey through Uganda that travels through the vibrant streets of Kampala to the rural quiet of Hope North, a refuge and school for survivors of civil war. This lyrical film offers multi-faceted portraits of Ugandans and their country, while interrogating the perspective of a cultural outsider, the touristic gaze, and the challenges that arise in cross-cultural representation.
A resilient Japanese-American senior in Hawai’i unexpectedly collaborates with his granddaughter on her stalled romantic screenplay, inspiring him to reflect on his life of love, loss, and perseverance. Humorous and poignant, the film prompts discussions on aging, identity, creativity, and inter-generational relationships.