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Roddy Bogawa

New York filmmaker Roddy Bogawa’s film and video work spanning nearly twenty-five years is known for its investigation of history and culture via lyrical and innovative narrative structures. First gaining attention as one of the “Asian American Bad Boys” along with Gregg Araki and Jon Moritsugu, his work along with theirs and several other film school educated directors signaled a shift in practice from the social activist and documentary films which had marked the first wave of Asian American cinema to a more expansive exploration of identity and culture.

Bogawa has made four feature films, I WAS BORN, BUT… (2004), JUNK (1999), and SOME DIVINE WIND (1991) and the most recent film, TAKEN BY STORM – THE ART OF STORM THORGERSON AND HIPGNOSIS (2013) and numerous short films and videos including IF ANDY WARHOL’S SUPER-8 CAMERA COULD TALK (1993), A SMALL ROOM IN THE BIG HOUSE (1988), THE IMAGINED, THE LONGED-FOR, THE CONQUERED, AND THE SUBLIME (1996), and I’M SIMPLY OVERWHELMED, I JUST DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY – THANK YOU ALL VERY MUCH. GOOD NIGHT (2002) and MEMYSELFANDI (2010).

He studied art and played in punk bands before turning to filmmaking receiving his MFA degree from the University of California at San Diego studying with director Jean-Pierre Gorin, cinematographer Babette Mangolte, and critic Manny Farber. His awards and grants include Creative Capital Foundation, the American Center Foundation, the Jerome Foundation Independent Filmmaker grant, a NYFA fellowship, and New York State Council on the Arts. In 2013, he was the subject of a mid-career retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York that screened fourteen of his films and videos over a week titled IF FILMS COULD SMELL.



If Films Could Smell

Kaya Press Forthcoming 2020

Forthcoming in 2020!

If Films Could Smell is an assemblage of interviews and writings by Roddy Bogawa from his nearly 30 years as a filmmaker and artist, and a time capsule of the independent film scene and art world of the 1990s as told through artifacts, diary entries, letters, emails, photographs, script notes and assorted bric-a-brac from Bogawa’s archives. As with many of Bogawa’s films, it’s a collage that doesn’t try to hide its seams, a jumble of ideas both realized and unrealized, an exploded diagram and a manifesto. The title conveys his interests in personal and cultural memory, and how these intersect with one’s identity. Bogawa’s work has been variously described as “experimental,” “Asian American” and “independent cinema.” This volume lays out these labels and dissects them, sometimes humorously. Straddling genres, If Films Could Smell is a document of possibility and provocation.


Roddy Bogawa news

Anarchy in Asian America Rocked USC!

On Friday, March 24th, we at Kaya Press hosted our annual Visions and Voices event, this year with a theme of Anarchy in Asian America: Sex, Punk and Transgressive Cinema! The evening started off with a spectacular panel featuring the likes of directors Gregg Araki, Roddy Bogawa, and Jon Moritsugu, as well as producer Marcus […]