EASTMAN KODAK AWARD - Sundance Film Festival | BEST DOCUMENTARY - Athens International Film FestivalAsian American Identity • Asian American History • U.S. History • Immigration • Activism • Road Movie • Personal Narrative
Date of Completion: 1998 | Run Time: 90 minutes | Language: English | Captions: Yes | Includes: Transcript | Director & Producer: Renee Tajima-Peña
Intoxicating and irreverent, the Sundance Film Festival award-winner, MY AMERICA...OR HONK IF YOU LOVE BUDDHA, is a rollicking ride across the changing terrain of American culture that recaptures the spirit of Jack Kerouac's On the Road, Asian American style.
In MY AMERICA, the filmmaker recalls her childhood--back in the days when her vacationing family would cross five states lines without ever catching a glimpse of another Asian face. Returning to the road more than 20 years later, she finds that new immigration has suddenly put Asian Americans on the map, making them the country’s fastest growing racial group. Tajima-Peña sets out to search for the new American identity that will arise from an increasingly diverse population on the cusp of the new millennium.
University of California Santa Cruz | B. Ruby Rich, Professor of Social Documentation Program and Film + Digital Media Department
“The real road that Tajima-Peña is traversing is the delicate one separating public and private, group identity and individual personality, and she ain’t no tourist. If Asian Americans have too often been cast as spectators in the drama of black/white America, My America...Or Honk If You Love Buddha restores their centrality.”
The Boston Globe
"My America...Or Honk If You Love Buddha is a funny, tough-minded expose of some truths about American racism that seem undeniable in the hands of this gifted, agile filmmaker."
Dallas Morning News
"A marvelous American tale…it’s required viewing for anyone who savors our differences – or hasn’t yet learned to do so."
1997 Eastman Kodak Award | Sundance Film Festival
Best Overall Documentary | Athens International Film Festival
Amiens International Film Festival
Helsinki International Film Festival
Jakarta International Film Festival
Leipzig International Film Festival
Locarno Film Festival
Seattle International Film Festival
Singapore International Film Festival
Taipei Film Festival
Aurora Asian American Film Festival
Chicago Asian American Film Festival
Los Angeles Asian Pacific American Film Festival
New York Asian American International Film Festival
Seattle Asian American Film Festival
Women of Color Film Festival
REQUEST A GOOD TALK WITH RENEE TAJIMA-PEÑA
Director of NO MÁS BEBÉS, MY AMERICA...OR HONK IF YOU LOVE BUDDHA & CALAVERA HIGHWAY
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.