Renee Tajima-Peña, a professor of film and digital media at UC Santa Cruz, has been appointed a professor of Asian American Studies and the Alumni and Friends of Japanese American Ancestry Endowed Chair, effective July 1. She will direct the Center for EthnoCommunications at UCLA, housed in the Asian American Studies Center with a teaching component with the Asian American Studies Department.
Tajima-Peña is an Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker whose work focuses on Asian American and immigrant communities, race, gender and social justice. Her directing credits include the documentaries, "Calavera Highway," "Skate Manzanar," "Labor Women," "My America...or Honk if You Love Buddha" and "Who Killed Vincent Chin?" Her films have premiered at the Cannes, Sundance and Toronto film festivals, and she has received the Peabody Award, Dupont-Columbia Award, Alpert Award in the Arts, USA Broad Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
At UC Santa Cruz, she has been instrumental in launching the Graduate Program in Social Documentation.
Tajima-Peña has been deeply involved in the Asian American independent film community as an activist, writer and filmmaker. She was the first paid director at Asian Cine-Vision in New York and a founding member of the Center for Asian American Media (formerly National Asian American Telecommunications Association. She was also a film critic for The Village Voice, a cultural commentator for National Public Radio, and the editor of "Bridge: Asian American Perspectives."