Ann Kaneko is an award-winning independent documentary filmmaker, fluent in Japanese and Spanish. She was recently selected as Best Emerging Feature Documentary Director at the New York Asian American International Film Festival for her Fulbright-supported film, Against the Grain: An Artist’s Survival Guide to Perú. Her documentaries and shorts have been funded by the Japan Foundation, Hoso Bunka Foundation and Durfee Foundation and have been televised here and abroad. Kaneko has produced media installations and videos for the Skirball Cultural Center, Japanese American National Museum, Getty Center and SEIU-UHW. She participated in the AFI Directing Workshop for Women and received an MFA in film directing from UCLA. In addition to Against the Grain, her films include Overstay and 100% Human Hair.
Overstay is an intimate exploration of migrant workers seeking a better life in Japan, a rare documentary that seamlessly combines personal narrative and social commentary. Leaving families, friends, and cultural identity behind, six young people share their unique stories: three men escape familial responsibilities in Pakistan for the opportunity to reinvent themselves; a young Peruvian flees tradition in search of her independence; an Iranian turns discrimination he encounters into passionate activism; and a Filipina woman is seduced by the promise of easy money, only to find herself demeaned as a hostess. Alive with the colors and sounds of modern-day Japan, Overstay is a compelling, vibrant film that captures the human side of a timely, universal issue. A tale of sacrifice, loneliness, and courage, Overstay deftly parallels the story of immigrants living in the U.S. while examining a little-seen side of Japan.
100% Human Hair is a 17-minute action-packed musical film set in a Crenshaw wig shop. Threatened by eviction, Mr. Kim struggles to keep the shop afloat for his motley crew of employees and customers while his yuppy daughter pressures him to retire. The story follows Mr. Kim and his streetwise granddaughter’s plan to keep the store alive. The numbers in 100% Human Hair ranges from country to opera, providing a wide genre of music choices.
Against the Grain
Finally, the film Against the Grain: An Artist’s Surival Guide to Peru, follows four inspiring artists (Claudio Jiménez Quispe, Eduardo Tokeshi, Natalia Iguíñiz, and Alfredo Marquez) in their quest to ignite change and challenge ordinary people to speak out against the tyranny that clamps down on free thinkers and forces artists to censor their selves.
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