Profile: Kimi Takesue

Associate Professor

Department of Arts, Culture and Media

Kimi Takesue is Assistant Professor in the Video Program and an award-winning filmmaker working in documentary, narrative and experimental genres. Thematically, many of her films explore the complex dynamics of cross-cultural encounters and representations. 

In 2005 Takesue received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Film. Other honors include a Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowship, two artist fellowships from the New York Foundation in the Arts, an Eastman Kodak Cinematography Fellowship, and grants from the Independent Television Service (ITVS), Ford Foundation, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, National Asian American Telecommunications Association, The Arts Council of England and artist fellowships at Yaddo Artist Colony and the MacDowell Colony.

Takesue’s feature-length Ugandan documentary Where Are You Taking Me? was commissioned by the Rotterdam International Film Festival and premiered at the festival, followed by screenings in dozens of venues including MoMA’s Documentary Fortnight, the Los Angles Film Festival, and festivals in Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Uganda, Poland, Portugal and India. In 2012 Where Are You Taking Me? was theatrically released by Icarus Films, 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.” 

Her 2011 narrative short That Which Once Was, commissioned by the Independent Television Service (ITVS), explores the plight of environmental refugees and premiered at the SXSW Film Festival. The film received the Futurestates Audience Award and has screened at festivals from Korea to Copenhagen.

Previous films have screened at scores of film festivals and museums internationally including the Sundance Film Festival, New Directors/ New Films, Locarno International Film Festival, London’s Institute of Contemporary Art, Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art, the Walker Art Center, and the Museum of Modern Art; and have aired on PBS, IFC, Comcast, and the Sundance Channel. Film awards include BEST DOCUMENTARY, Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema; SPIRIT OF SLAMDANCE AWARD, Slamdance Film Festival; GRAND JURY PRIZE, Brooklyn International Film Festival; GOLD MEDAL & GRAND JURY PRIZE, Brno International Film Festival, Czech Republic; JURORS’ CHOICE AWARD (1st place), Black Maria Film and Video Festival; BEST NARRATIVE SHORT, San Diego Asian Film Festival; and the GOLDEN REEL: NEW VISIONS AWARD, Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. In addition to eight independent films, Takesue has produced television programming for A&E Network and PBS including A&E’s documentary series The First 48 and After the First 48.

Raised in Hawai’i and Massachusetts, Takesue received a B.A. from Oberlin College and an M.F.A. from Temple University. Before coming to Rutgers-Newark, Takesue was Assistant Professor in the Film Program at Syracuse University. She currently teaches introductory and advanced video production courses in documentary and narrative, as well as film studies.

  • Courses Taught

    Introduction to Video Production

    Intermediate Video Production