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20th Anniversary Screening of ‘My America (…or Honk If You Love Buddha)’ at UCLA

As a kid, filmmaker Renee Tajima-Peña traveled across the country with her family. (Photo by Calvin Tajima)

The UCLA Asian American Studies Center, Asian American Studies Department and Center for EthnoCommunications present a screening and film discussion of “My America (…or Honk If You Love Buddha)” on Tuesday, Jan. 16, from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at Franz Hall (2258A) on the UCLA campus.

“My America” is an Asian American road odyssey set amidst a subculture of old-school rappers, debutantes and freedom fighters. An award-winner at the Sundance Film Festival, the rollicking search for Asian American identity was directed by UCLA professor Renee Tajima-Peña with an original score by composer and pianist Jon Jang. Interviewees included actor Victor Wong and activist Yuri Kochiyama.

Twenty years after the film’s launch, Jang and Tajima-Peña will reunite for a post-screening conversation, with ethnomusicologist Professor Kim Nguyen Tran, to discuss the hybrid cultural influences of the film and its music.

Jang is the resident artist in the School of Ethnomusicology, Alpert School of Music. He is a jazz pianist, composer and bandleader, is active in the Asian American jazz movement, and specializes in music that combines elements of jazz, classical and Asian genres.

Tran received her Ph.D. in ethnomusicology at UCLA in 2017. She is interested in the intersection between performing arts and politics. She teaches in the UCLA departments of Asian American Studies and Asian Languages and Cultures and in the Glendale Community College Music Department.

Tajima-Peña is an Academy Award and Emmy nominee whose credits include the documentaries “Who Killed Vincent Chin?” and “No Más Bebés.”

For more information on the screening, contact Janet Chen, assistant director of the Center for EthnoCommunications, at For more information on Jang’s residency, visit or call (310) 825-5947.

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