Professor Kimi Takesui

Filmmaker Kimi Takesue Headed to TED Conference and Prestigious Residencies in 2019

Award-winning documentary filmmaker Kimi Takesue, an Associate Professor in Rutgers University–Newark’s Video Production Department, has garnered plenty of critical acclaim and taken home her fair share of prestigious nominations and awards.

In 2019 Takesue is continuing her winning streak by being selected for three prestigious artist residencies that she’ll do while on competitive leave from RU-N during the 2019-2020 academic year.

Takesue will use these residencies to work on new film projects, including Tour Guide, a feature-length documentary exploring the legacy of the Cambodian genocide through the eyes of local tour guides as they lead foreigners to the Killing Fields and other “dark tourism” sites. The film observes young guides who straddle the past and present as they recount and perform the narrative of Cambodian genocide.

In July Takesue will spend five weeks in Saratoga Springs, NY, doing a Yaddo Artist Residency and Fellowship. Past Yaddo fellows include James James Baldwin, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Leonard Bernstein, Martin Puryear and Laurie Anderson.

In October and November, she’ll spend a month in Bogliasco, Italy, on a Bogliasco Foundation Artist Residency and Fellowship. The foundation awards the highly competitive spots to individuals of all ages and nationalities who have made significant contributions in the arts and humanities.

And in December, Takesue will be in Columbus, Ohio, for two weeks, completing a Wexner Center for the Arts Fellowship.

She’ll also use the fellowships to work on The Indecisive Moment, a stylized observational documentary exploring the rhythms, choreography and peculiarities of youth-backpacker tourism through Laos. Structured in formal tableaus, the film presents travelers entering—and sometimes disrupting—Laotian daily life in ways both predictable and surprising. 

“It is a huge honor and gift to receive artist residencies/fellowships from Yaddo, Bogliasco, and the Wexner Center for the Arts. Artist residencies have been some of the most rewarding experiences of my artistic career,” says Takesue.

Artist residencies have been some of the most rewarding experiences of my artistic career.

Takesue received one other honor recently: She was invited to participate in the 2019 TED conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, which takes place next week, as an accomplished filmmaker and faculty member at RU-N. The annual event brings together a global community of innovators, artists, leaders, activists, scientists and creatives from a variety of fields, many of whom are engaged in public scholarship. Attending the conference will enable Takesue to share RU-N initiatives, including Express Newark, with a global community.

Takesue is the recipient of Guggenheim and Rockefeller Fellowships. Her 10 films have screened at more than 200 festivals/museums internationally, including the Sundance Film Festival, the Locarno Film Festival, New Directors/New Films, SXSW, and the Museum of Modern Art and have aired on PBS, IFC, Comcast and SundanceTV.

In 2018 Takesue received the Breakthrough Award from Chicken and Egg Pictures, which honors female documentary filmmakers who have made a significant contribution to the field and comes with a $50K unrestricted award.

Her 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 MoMA’s Doc Fortnight and the LA Film Festival. The film 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 most recent feature documentary, 95 and 6 to Go, was nominated for the prestigious 2017 European Doc Alliance Award and screened at more than international festivals including CPH:DOX, DOK Leipzig, Doclisboa, FIDMarseille and DOC NYC.

“I’m grateful to RU-N and the Department of Arts, Culture and Media for supporting my competitive leave opportunity next year,” says Takesue. “I look forward to new adventures, professional reflection, creative experimentation and authentic Italian cuisine.”