Rea Tajiri

Associate Professor
120 Annenberg Hall, 2020 N. 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122
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REA TAJIRI is a filmmaker and visual artist who was born in Chicago, Illinois. She earned
her BFA and MFA degree from the California Institute of the Arts in post-studio art. Her
ground-breaking, award-winning film, digital video and installation work, has been supported
by numerous grants, fellowships and artistic residencies, has been exhibited widely in
museums, on television and in international film festivals. Poetic, subtly layered and
politically engaged, her work advances the exploration of forgotten histories, multi-
generational memory, landscape and the Japanese American experience. Her experimental
documentary History and Memory; for Akiko; Takashige, and feature film Strawberry
Fields have influenced a generation of filmmakers, leading to their inclusion in Asian
American, Cinema Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies curricula in the US.
Her recent multi-site installation project Wataridori-birds of Passage (2018) in Philadelphia
mapped and enlivened forgotten traces of local Japanese American history linked in a
series of locations around the city. Her feature documentary Lordville (2014) probed the
material and immaterial traces of an upstate New York town’s history. Her current
documentary-in-progress is Wisdom Gone Wild. The film chronicles her sixteen year
journey of elder care for her mother who had dementia, and illuminates their lifelong
passion for the arts and the language of the elders.
As an advocate of emerging artists and directors, Rea co-founded The Workshop, an
incubator for Asian American film directors in New York City. She has taught extensively
throughout the U.S. as a visiting professor and artist-in-residence. Currently, she is an
Associate Professor in the Film Media Arts Department at Temple University where she
teaches documentary production.

Honors: Ringleader, True/False Film Festival 2019; Juror, Blackstar Film Festival, Documentary
Shorts, 2018; Juror, AnnArbor Film Festival, 2018, POV Selection Committee, 1996; Awards: IDA
Distinguished Achievement Award, 1992; Best Experimental Video, Atlanta Film Festival, 1992; Jury

Prize: New Genres, San Francisco International Film Festival, Grand Prix, Fukuoka Asian
International Film Festival 1998,

Grants; Fellowships: Nominee, Herb Alpert Award in the Arts (2019); Pew Project Grant (2018),
Center for Asian American Media Documentary Award (2016, 2018), Pew Fellowship (2015), NYFA
Fellow (1989, 1999), Rockefeller Intercultural Media Arts Fellow (1992, 1999) , New York State
Council for the Arts (1989, 1992, 1998) , National Endowment for the Arts Visual Arts Fellow (1989,
1993), NEA Media Production Grant (1990,1993), Art Matters Inc (1989,1995), ITVS Production
Grant (1992) ITVS Diversity Development Fund (2016), VP Arts Grant (2014, 2018), Presidents Arts
and Humanities Grant (2016, 2017)

Residencies: Fogo Island Arts (2019), Banff Center for the Arts (2018), MacDowell Colony (2004),
Smack Mellon (2001). Artist-in-Residence: School of the Art Institute, Chicago, 1991; SUNY
Buffalo, 1998; Videotage, Hong Kong, 1996; Mt. Holyoke College, 1995;University of Colorado
Boulder, 1995. Visiting Faculty: Ithaca College, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, SUNY Purchase.
Selected Exhibitions: Afterlife: What Remains, Alice Gallery, Seattle, 2018; (ex)Change: History,
Place, Presence, AsianArts Initiative 2018; AnnArbor Film Festival, 2018; NY Asian American Film
Festival, 2017; LA Filmforum, 2014; CAAM Fest, Doc Competition, 2014; VC Fest Grand Jury Award
Nominee, 2014; Women and Social Justice Doc Conference, Smith College, 2012; Punta de Vista
Film Festival, Pamplona, Spain, 2011; Venice Film Festival, 1998; Rotterdam International Film
Festival 1998, 1992; Whitney Biennial, 1989, 1991, 1993;

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