Profile: Kimi Takesue

Associate Professor

Department of Arts, Culture and Media

Kimi Takesue is Associate 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, and The Arts Council of England. She is a six-time artist fellow at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony.

Her recent feature-length documentary 95 AND 6 TO GO (2016) was nominated for the prestigious 2017 European Doc Alliance Award. The film screened at over twenty-five international film festivals including Doclisboa (Portugal), DOC NYC, CPH:DOX (Denmark); Dok Leipzig (Germany), FID:Marseille (France), BAFICI-Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema (Argentina), Krakow International Film Festival (Poland), and the Los Angeles Asian Pacific International Film Festival where the film was awarded a Special Jury Prize for Best Feature Documentary.

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.

Takesue’s critically acclaimed Ugandan feature-length documentary WHERE ARE YOU TAKING ME? (2010) was commissioned by the International Film Festival Rotterdam and premiered at the festival, followed by screenings at the Museum of Modern Art (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 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.” 

Previous films have screened at scores of film festivals and museums internationally including the Sundance Film Festival, New Directors/ New Films, Locarno Film Festival, London’s Institute of Contemporary Art, Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art, the Walker Art Center, and the Museum of Modern Art (NYC); and have aired on PBS, IFC, Comcast, and the Sundance Channel.

Film honors include SPIRIT OF SLAMDANCE AWARD, Slamdance Film Festival; BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY, Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema; ITVS Futurestates AUDIENCE AWARD; 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.

Takesue has produced television programming for the A&E Network and PBS including The First 48. She has served as a nominator for the Rockefeller Fellowship, panelist for NYFA, international juror for BAFICI-Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema, and selection committee member for MoMA’s Documentary Fortnight.

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 at Syracuse University. Her films are distributed by Women Make Movies and Icarus Films. She currently teaches introductory and advanced video production courses in narrative and documentary, as well as film studies.

  • Courses Taught

    Introduction to Video Production

    Intermediate Video Production

    Narrative Production


  • Awards

    John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Film

    Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowship

    Kodak Cinematography Fellowship