Irene Herrera PhD(c) is a documentary filmmaker and photojournalist based in between Tokyo, India and Miami. Among her documentary works are Kodo wa Awaseba (Gran Prix Expo Aichi Film Festival); Gaijin no Honne (2004); You Can Call Me Nikkie (2008); Women in Refugee: Stories from a Border (2009) and Crossing Hispaniola (2010). Irene has also been an active collaborator, producer and director for the Lebanon and Japan Chapters of the Global Lives Project.
In 2008 she was a fellow at the Flaherty Film Seminar and in 2009 a Resident Professional at the Knight Center for International Media. Her films and works have been shown at numerous festivals, universities, museums and art centers in the U.S. and abroad including the Asian American International Film Festival; the Amnesty International Human Rights Art Festival; the LA Femme Festival; DOCUTAH; the United Nations Association Film Festival; the Boston Latino International Film Festival; Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival; Southwest Arts Festival; DocMiami; Yerba Buena Arts Cente; HOT DOCS, Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas (Austin Forum); Miami Dade Colleage (feature filmmaker during Women’s Month) and LinkTV.
She is currently an assistant professor at Temple University Japan Campus in Tokyo where she spends 5 months a year. Her work and love for travel have taken her to over 45 countries where she has learned 5 languages.
Irene Carolina Herrera, Ph.D(c ) is a photographer, documentary filmmaker and journalist based in between Tokyo, Miami, and India. In 1995, Irene began working in the Venezuelan advertising and independent film industry. Soon after she also began collaborating with Variety (U.S.A.), Kemp (London) and Producción and Distribución (Miami) as correspondent covering the local media industry. Her articles and photographs have been featured in Venezuelan dailies such as El Universal and El Globo and Metropolis, Dune and The Japan Times in Tokyo.
Upon finishing her B.A. in Visual Journalism and Cinema Studies, she headed to Japan as a Monbukagakusho scholar to pursue a Masters Degree in Filmmaking at Nihon University where she is finishing a Ph.D. dissertation on photographic anthropology, “A Culture seen through the lens: Brazilian Nikkejin”, under the tutelage of Takafumi Suzuki. This photographic series of Japanese Brazilians was featured in a solo photo exhibition at the prestigious Nikon Salon in Tokyo to commemorate the centenary of the first arrival of migrants who crossed the oceans from the Land of the Rising Sun to South American coffee farms in 1908. Through different media, Irene continues to comment on issues of human mobility, displacement and identity.
In 2005, she received the Grand Prix at the Expo Aichi Friendship Film Festival for a documentary on Venezuela and Japan titled Kodo wo Awaseba which traces the existing and non-existing links between these two countries. Other recent documentary works include Gaijin no Honne: The story of 5 women in Tokyo (2004); You can call me Nikkie (2008), a story on a transgendered Filipino sex worker living in Tokyo; Women in Refuge: Stories from a Border (2009) which witnesses the struggle of Colombian women seeking asylum in Venezuela and Crossing Hispaniola (2010) which focuses on Haitian women migrants living in the Dominican Republic and their experience during a photographic workshop. This last project was broadcasted on Link TV.
Irene has been an active collaborator of the Global Lives Project since 2007 where she produced and directed the Lebanon and Japan chapters. She as also invited to participate in the Flaherty Seminar as a fellow and later as a Resident Professional at the University of Miami’s Knight Center for International Media.
Her films and works have been shown at numerous festivals, museums and art centers in the U.S. and abroad including the Asian American International Film Festival, the Amnesty International Human Rights Art Festival, the LA Femme Festival, DOCUTAH, the United Nations Association Film Festival, the Boston Latino International Film Festival, DOCMiami , and the Yerba Buena Arts Center in San Francisco among others. They have have also been broadcasted on Link TV and on MNET.
In 2012, she made a documentary with her students on a bar owned by a monk in Tokyo titled “Spirits to Enlightenment” which was a finalist of the Doc Challenge competition and premiered at HOT DOCS.
Irene has also worked as a producer, translator and fixer for CNN en Español, the United Nations University Media Center, the Disney Channel for Latin America, and Discovery Latin America. Additionally she has provided footage for stock agencies and clients such as InTheMo and the Center for Investigative Reporting.
At Temple University Japan Campus as an instructor, Irene teaches courses on Production and History of Documentary Filmmaking as well as Cinema and Media Studies. With the intention of combining her interest in media with non-profit and grassroots initiatives, in 2007 she completed a Diploma in NGO Management and participated in the six-week International Course on Armed Conflict and Peacebuilding at the United Nations University in Centre Tokyo. For three years she served audiovisual producer for the Jesuit Refugee Service in Venezuela and later in the Dominican Republic.
Irene is strongly committed to using media for social change and is currently working on a project titled Urban Villages, a series of documentaries on the biggest challenges faced by Asia's fastest growing cities. Since the events that occurred in Japan on March 11th, she has also devoted time to two short documentaries on the reconstruction of the elders’ lives in Obama Beach and the mothers of Fukushima who fear for the health of their children.
Her work and love for travel have taken her to over 45 countries where she has learned 5 languages.