Renee Tajima-Peña is an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker whose work focuses on the Asian American experience, and issues of race, immigration, gender, and social justice. Her films include No Más Bebés (No More Babies), the story of Mexican immigrant mothers who fought for reproductive justice after they were sterilized while giving birth at the Los Angeles county hospital during the 1970s. My America…or Honk if You Love Buddha is a personal and irreverent road documentary in search of Asian American identity, In the film Calavera Highway, she turns the camera to her husband, Armando Peña, on his journey to carry his mother’s ashes back to South Texas and reunite with his fragmented family.
Tajima-Peña was series producer of PBS’s ground-breaking Asian Americans, the first ever docuseries on Asian American history, and co-producer/director of the classic documentary, Who Killed Vincent Chin? Her other work includes a portrait of the new generation of Asian American labor organizers, Labor Women, the “Mexico Story” of the docuseries The New Americans, and multi-media projects on the legacy of the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, the short collaboration with Giant Robot, Skate Manzanar, Building History 3.0, an interactive exploration of that history through Minecraft, and the production collective Nikkei Democracy Project.
Tajima-Peña’s films have premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, New Directors/New Films, Sundance Film Festival, and the Whitney Biennial with retrospectives at the Flaherty International Film Seminar and the Virginia Film Festival. She has been awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship, USA Broad Fellowship, Alpert Award in the Arts for Film/ Video, a Peabody, and a Dupont Columbia Award. She teaches social documentary at UCLA, where she is a professor of Asian American Studies, director of the Center for EthnoCommunications and an endowed chair in Japanese American Studies. She is the founder of the Graduate Program in Social Documentation at UCSC.