Filmmaker & Educator

Masami Kawai is a Los Angeles-born filmmaker, who divides her time between Oregon and LA. She grew up in an Asian immigrant family that valued art-making. She received her BA from Hampshire College, where she focused on Visual Arts, Radical Pedagogy, and Post-Colonial Studies. For her thesis, she made an experimental documentary about trying to convince her mom, who worked in a restaurant kitchen, to become a union organizer. After graduation, she devoted herself to community organizing before pursuing filmmaking again. In 2013, she received her MFA in Directing from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film, and Television. She currently works as a cinema instructor at the University of Oregon. Kawai participated in Film Independent’s diversity program, Project Involve. She was a selected director in the Francis Ford Coppola One-Act play series. She also received a fellowship from LA’s Visual Communications, which supports emerging Asian American filmmakers. Her work has screened at various venues, including the Rotterdam Film Festival, LA County Museum of Art, the LA Asian Pacific Film Festival, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts.