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Film series by Renee Tajima-Peña wins awards

By Jennifer McNulty

A documentary film by Renee Tajima-Peña, associate professor of community studies, has been recognized by the International Documentary Association.

Renee Tajima-Peña

"The New Americans" series, which was broadcast on PBS stations last year, won a distinguished achievement award from the association in the limited series category, competing against films that included Martin Scorsese's The Blues. The seven-hour series was produced by Kartemquin Films and directed by five teams in five different countries; Tajima-Peña directed the Mexico story.

Tajima-Peña also won an Alpert Award for the Arts in the film/video category from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) and the Herb Alpert Foundation.

Established in 1994, the awards recognize five “early midcareer” artists, providing $50,000 fellowships in the fields of dance, film/video, music, theater, and visual arts. Each fellowship includes a weeklong residency at CalArts. Tajima-Peña will complete her residency in March, and her visit will include a screening of “The New Americans” in the new Disney Hall.

On the 10th anniversary of the awards, Kip Cohen, president of the Herb Alpert Foundation, marked the milestone by remarking: "In a world gone fairly mad, the words, thoughts, and works of the American artist are a vital and necessary balance to counter the climate of manipulation and untruth that pervades government and big business, and taints the once-purer world of the media. The very least we can do is to publicly honor and reward the finest of our emerging outspoken voices who are now, and who have always been, our artists."

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