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Kimi Takesue Showcase, Fire Over Water Asian cinema series
Kimi Takesue Showcase, Fire Over Water Asian cinema series

Kimi Takesue Showcase, Fire Over Water Asian cinema series

KimiKat Productions introduces ONLOOKERS, a movie created by Kimi Takesue.

Opens Friday, Feb. 16th

In 2024, movies will be shown in theatres in the United States.

The first showing of a film at Metrograph in New York.

The film “Onlookers” will be shown from January 26 to February 25, 2024 at Metrograph as part of the series “Fire Over Water: Films of Transcendence.” The series will showcase movies from directors such as Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Kim Ki-duk, and Kimi Takesue.

Official Selection:

Debuting at the 2023 Slamdance Film Festival, this film has won an Honorable Mention in the Breakouts Feature category.

Global Debut – Cinéma du Réel 2023

Rephrased: The 2023 edition of the Montreal International Documentary Film Festival (RIDM)
DMZ International Documentary Film Festival 2023
San Diego Asian American Film Festival 2023

The 2023 edition of the Krakow International Film Festival
Prismatic Ground 2023
Cinéma du Réel 2023

The movie “Onlookers” directed by Kimi Takesue.

USA | 2023 | 72 minutes 

Official site: www.onlookersfilm.com

The film ONLOOKERS provides a visually captivating and thought-provoking look at travel and tourism in Laos, examining the role of observers in our lives. Through picturesque scenes, ONLOOKERS delves into the contradiction of travel: why do people journey far from their homes to relax in a Laotian guesthouse and watch TV shows like “Friends” while sipping smoothies? Why do we climb mountains just to take selfies instead of appreciating the breathtaking view? We are physically there, but mentally absent. Seeing, but not truly observing. With clever humor and a keen eye for social commentary, ONLOOKERS observes the influx of Western backpackers and tour groups from East Asia in Laos, a small Southeast Asian country heavily reliant on international tourism. This film invites viewers to reflect on their own approach to tourism and contemplate existential questions such as: Why do we travel? What are we searching for?

This thought-provoking movie explores the act of observing individuals who have traveled to observe, utilizing artistic and carefully arranged scenes that highlight the charming scenery of the area while challenging the idea of what is considered “picturesque.” At the same time, it sheds light on the ongoing presence of colonial attitudes in modern-day tourism.

“Revelatory… Onlookers provides a piercing and ironic examination of seemingly benevolent cultural consumption.” – Michael Sicinski, Film Comment

This thought-provoking documentary explores the moments when two individuals or a camera lens make eye contact, resulting in a shift in balance for one of the parties. Director Takesue challenges common perspectives and addresses the issue of tourism taking over a location. Through a unique lens, Onlookers takes a deep dive into the effects of travel and its potential impact.

“By using carefully composed still shots and precise sound design, we are able to let our perceptions shift between the occasionally amusing, sometimes unsettling, and consistently permeable boundaries between the viewer and the viewed— and may even stop to think about who could be watching us as we do.” – Inney Prakash, Prismatic Ground

Viewers will have the opportunity to watch Kimi Takesue’s films, 95 and 6 to Go (2016) and Where Are You Taking Me? (2010), online from February 16, 2024. These films will be showcased on Metrograph at Home starting February 23, 2024, as part of the Kimi Takesue Showcase.

About the Filmmaker- Kimi Takesue 

Director, Producer, Cinematographer, Sound Recordist, Editor 

Kimi Takesue is a highly acclaimed filmmaker who works in a variety of genres including documentary, experimental, and narrative. Her films have been featured at over 250 film festivals and museums worldwide, including prestigious events such as Sundance, Locarno, Toronto, New Directors /New Films, SXSW, and MoMA. They have also been broadcasted on networks such as PBS, IFC, and the Sundance Channel. Takesue has been awarded with prestigious fellowships from Guggenheim and Rockefeller, as well as the “Breakthrough Award” from Chicken and Egg Pictures which recognizes women who have made significant contributions to the world of documentary filmmaking. She currently holds the position of Professor in the Department of Arts, Culture and Media at Rutgers University-Newark.

Kimi Takesue’s documentary 95 AND 6 TO GO, which follows her Japanese American grandfather in Hawai’i, was recognized for the 2017 European Doc Alliance Award and was shown at over twenty-five film festivals worldwide, including CPH:DOX, Doclisboa, DOC NYC, and Dok Leipzig. The film received the Special Jury Prize for Best Documentary Film at Indie Memphis and the Los Angeles Asian Pacific International Film Festival. Takesue’s highly acclaimed documentary WHERE ARE YOU TAKING ME? about Uganda was commissioned by the International Film Festival Rotterdam and premiered at the festival, with subsequent screenings at MoMA Documentary Fortnight and the Los Angeles Film Festival. Her films are distributed by Women Make Movies, New Day Films, and the Criterion Channel. Her website is https://www.kimitakesue.com/.

Kimi Takesue Filmography 


95 AND 6 TO GO (2016)


The past (2011)

Where will you be taking me? (2010)


E=NYC2 (2005)




BOUND (1995)

Onlookers Select Credits

Director and Producer: Kimi Takesue 

Filmed by: Kimi Takesue

Co-Producers: Richard Beenen and Sophie Luo

Consulting Producers: Sara Archambault, Karin Chien 

Sound: Kimi Takesue 

Revised by: Kimi Takesue

Colorist: Christopher DiBerardino

Overseeing the sound editing and mixing process is Tom Efinger, who also serves as the re-recording mixer.

Reworded: Audio Editor: Abigail Savage

Website: www.onlookersfilm.com

Social Media

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram @onlookersfilm 

Support & Funding From: 

Bogliasco Foundation 

Chicken and Egg Pictures 

The Yaddo Corporation



The New York State Council on the Arts supports and promotes the arts through funding, education, and advocacy.

Rutgers University – Newark 

The Production Assistance Program for Women Make Movies.