On the occasion of the highly anticipated PBS/WETA documentary, Asian Americans, Denise Khor offers a comprehensive career overview of Renee Tajima-Peña, executive producer of the landmark series. Tajima-Peña is best known for her work as a director on films including Who Killed Vincent Chin? (1987, with Christine Choy) and My America… or Honk if you Love Buddha (1997), but her behind-the-scenes, institutional achievements are also significant. As the co-founder of NAATA/CAAM (Center for Asian American Media) and the first paid director of Asian CineVision, Tajima-Peña developed some of the most important organizational infrastructures to support independent Asian American filmmaking. Khor's interview with the filmmaker looks back at the radical history of independent filmmaking by Asian Americans and the sorts of filmmaking practices and collaborations shaping Tajima-Peña's past and present documentary work.
History before and behind the Camera: An Interview with Renee Tajima-Peña
Denise Khor is assistant professor of American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her forthcoming book Transpacific Convergences: Race, Migration and Japanese American Film Culture before World War II explores the historical experiences of Japanese Americans at the cinema and traces an alternative network of film production and exhibition. Her work has appeared in Pacific Historical Review, Southern California Quarterly, and The Rising Tide of Color: Race, State Violence, and Radical Movements Across the Pacific (University of Washington Press, 2014), among other publications.
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Denise Khor; History before and behind the Camera: An Interview with Renee Tajima-Peña. Film Quarterly 1 September 2020; 74 (1): 21–29. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2020.74.1.21
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