Irene Carolina Herrera is a photographer, documentary filmmaker and journalist based in between Tokyo and Miami. 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, Sotokoto, 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 currently writing 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) witnesses the struggle of Colombian women seeking asylum in Venezuela and Crossing Hispaniola (2010) focuses on Haitian women migrants living in the Dominican Republic and their experience during a photographic workshop. Other short documentaries include "Spirits to Enlightenment" (2012); "Some Bunny Loves Me" (2013), and a collaboration with "Japan in a Day" produced by Ridley Scott. Additionally, Irene has been an active collaborator of the Global Lives Project since 2007 where she produced and directed the Lebanon and Japan chapters. She has also served as a Flaherty Fellow and a Resident Professional at the 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, HOT DOCS, he Boston Latino International Film Festival, DOCMiami and the Yerba Buena Arts Center in San Francisco.
At Temple University Japan Campus as a full-time Assistant Professor, 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 Tokyo. 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. Her work and love for travel have taken her to over 50 countries.