Cinema Studies Asst. Professor Masami Kawai continues to receive accolades for her latest fiction film project, VALLEY OF THE TALL GRASS. The film was recently selected for the 2023 Sundance Screenwriters Lab from more than 2000 submissions!
Participants in the Screenwriters Lab further developed their scripts with the guidance of a team of artistic and creative advisors. Read the full article in Deadline's “Sundance Fellows Set For 2023 Screenwriters Lab And Intensive.”
VALLEY OF THE TALL GRASS is written and directed by Kawai. The film tells the story of a TV/VCR set that is thrown out and survives, circulating through the lives of various working-class indigenous characters of color in an Oregon town, prompting them to find forgotten memories, love, and connection through this seemingly obsolete object.
Masami Kawai is a Los Angeles-born filmmaker who lives in Eugene, Oregon. She's of Ryukyuan descent from the island of Amami. Kawai participated in Film Independent's diversity program, Project Involve, and her work has screened at various venues, including the Rotterdam Film Festival, LACMA, and Indie Memphis. Her film TIDES won Best Narrative Short at the Northwest Film Forum and Eastern Oregon Film Festival. Her film ZONA won Best Narrative Short at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.
She is currently an Assistant Professor of Filmmaking at the University of Oregon. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Hampshire College, where she focused on Visual Arts, Radical Pedagogy, and Post-Colonial Studies. After graduation, she devoted herself to community organizing before pursuing filmmaking again. She received her Master of Fine Arts in Directing from UCLA's School of Theater, Film, and Television.