Reina Higashitani is a Japanese filmmaker with a passion for promoting diversity and inclusion in the arts and entertainment. She has produced and associate produced over fifty independent films, media projects, and TV documentaries including a Tokyo Video Festival Excellence Award winning documentary “Shall We Sing?”(PBS), Francis Ford Coppola’s live cinema “Distant Vision,” Sundance Film Festival Official Selection “Kusama-Infinity,” Academy Award-nominated documentary “Redemption”(HBO) as well as “No Contract, No Cookies” (HBO) and “Wartorn 1861-2010” (HBO).
Her latest narrative short “Resettlement - Chicago Story” was selected for Nichi Bei Foundation’s 2023 Films of Remembrance. Her previous narrative short “Frog Catcher” was broadcast on KCET/PBS SoCal and screened at film festivals worldwide winning multiple awards including the Audience Award at the Amsterdam LGBTQ Film Festival and the Creative Excellence Award from the Japan Association of Audiovisual Producers (JAAP). Reina is a recipient of the National Association of Theatre Owners of California/Nevada Fellowship in Film, Hollywood Foreign Press Association Directing Fellowship, Caucus Foundation grant, Panavision New Filmmaker grant, and Jack Nicholson Distinguished Student Director Award among others.
She has served as a lecturer at the UCLA Film and Television program and also led various media workshops and mentorship programs for underrepresented youth and people with disabilities in local communities. Higashitani is committed to educating new visual storytellers with passion and an inclusive mindset.