Irene Herrera

Tokyo, Japan


Irene Carolina Herrera is a photographer, documentary filmmaker and journalist based in Japan with more than 10 years of experience working on media related projects in Venezuela, Brazil, Spain, France, Miami, India and Japan. 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, Dune and The Japan Times in Tokyo. Upon finishing her B.A. in Audiovisual 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 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 Gran 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-exiting links between these two countries. Other recent documentary works include Gaijin no Honne: The story of 5 women in Tokyo (2004); a short institutional on female self-help groups in Southern India for the MSSRF Foundation (2007); You can call me Nikkie (2008), a story on a transgender prostitute living in Tokyo; and lastly a piece on Colombian female refugees living in Venezuela (currently in post-production) with the Jesuit Refugee Service. In 2007, Irene became involved with Global Lives project initially directing and producing the Japan shoot and later collaborating on the China chapter as part of the camera crew. 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 Centre in Tokyo, Japan. Irene is strongly committed to using media for social change.