Here is a first look exclusive clip for Finding Her Beat, the new documentary on women in Taiko drumming directed by Dawn Mikkelson (Risking Light, The Red Tail), and Keri Pickett (First Daughter and the Black Snake, The Fabulous Ice Age) world premiering at 2022 Mill Valley Film Festival .
For thousands of years women have been locked out of Taiko drumming. Not anymore. In the dead of a Minnesota winter right before the world shut down for a global pandemic, a Japanese drum master and Korean adoptee from North Dakota join forces to assemble the world’s best Taiko drummers in a bold effort to claim a cultural spotlight that has historically been reserved only for men. Finding Her Beat dives into the rhythms and struggles that lead to an electrifying historic performance that changes everything. Their rhythm revolution includes rock stars from the world of Taiko: Tiffany Tamaribuchi, Kaoly Asano, Chieko Kojima, Megan Chao-Smith, and Jennifer Weir.
Through the perspective of the five main artists, Finding Her Beat explores the individual themes of cultural and racial identity, the challenges professional marginalized gender artists face, the artist’s passion for a subculture that was designed to keep them on the outside, and the burgeoning hope that this historic event marks the beginning of a new era of taiko – for everyone. Told both verbally and nonverbally, in silence and thundering percussion, the film organically unfolds in the lived moments of these artists. By providing a character-driven format, not only is the subject matter fresh to the majority of audiences, but it creates a challenge and narrative tension for Japanese artists whose traditional culture stresses the importance of the separation between private and public lives.
The journey of Finding Her Beat reveals a collective dedication for these Taiko drummers to be recognized in their field…they are trying to right a wrong, as women have not been allowed their place on the taiko stage. This film follows the journey of five women bringing the art form into the current reality and bringing other women center stage with them. Struggling through personality clashes, illness and the clock, we see how much one person can make a difference as Jennifer takes the dream and plants it, waters it and it flourishes into one of the most inspirational concerts ever witnessed, let alone filmed.
Watch a clip for Finding Her Beat.