Jump to content

Midi Onodera

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Midi Onodera
Born (1961-10-26) October 26, 1961 (age 62)
Known forFilmmaker and video artist

Midi Onodera is a Japanese-Canadian filmmaker. Onodera's works feature a collage of formats, from 16mm to Hi8 video and digital video to 'low end' digital toy formats, and address individual, collective, national and transnational identities.[1]

Early life[edit]

Midi Onodera grew up in an all-white mainly Jewish neighbourhood. Her grandmother came to Canada over 80 years ago, and speaks a rare combination of Japanese from the Meiji Period and English.[2] In her last years of college she was enrolled full time in independent study, which allowed her full access to equipment available at the school. She was inspired to start her career as a filmmaker after receiving a negative criticism from her professor in her final critique who stated that she was going against the traditions of painting by writing on the canvas and telling stories.[2]


Year School
1979–1983 Ontario College of Art and Design, A.O.C.A.D.
1989 Robert McKee Writing Workshop
1994 Canadian Film Centre, Fall Lab
1998 Ryerson University, Photoshop Program
2001 Canadian Film Centre, New Media Design Programme
2007–12 Ontario College of Art and Design, BFA program


Onodera was born in Toronto, Ontario. Her work is short and feature-length films and videos, and is exhibited internationally.[1] She created over 25 independent short films as well as a theatrical feature film and numerous short videos. Beginning in 2006, Midi created almost 500 short videos for various projects. She has published two essays on mobile cinema for Jump Cut.[3]

Feminist film scholar Judith Mayne writes that Onodera's film Ten Cents a Dance (Parallax) (1985) "is less concerned with affirmative representations of lesbian experience than with explorations of the simultaneous ambivalence and pressure of lesbianism with regard to the polarities of agency and gender."[4] Mayne notes that this film "almost caused a riot" at the Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco.[5]

Film scholar Catherine Russell has analyzed Onodera's "movie-a-day" project, which consisted of 365 short videos shot primarily on a "VcamNow" toy digital camera. Russell described the videos as being "like a surprise package or candy to unwrap, taste, and dissolve in your mouth--or in your hand as the case may be."[6] She argues that "the project articulates another spatial and temporal world, which is that of digital media--a fragmentary, networked, omnipresent world in which the subject is infinitely disperse."[6]

Performance artists Tanya Mars, called her "a thoughtful, daring filmmaker at a time when there was very little diversity in Canadian art".[7]

Midi Onodera has also been a panellist, jury member, guest speaker, and lecturer for over 50 different film organisations, institutions and Universities around the world. Some of her most notable appearances are, a Guest Speaker for a Canadian Cinema class at Meiji Gaukin University in Tokyo, Japan in 2008, a jury member for the 2002 Toronto Arts Council and a panellist for various discussions for the Winnipeg Film Group in 2015.[8]

She currently works for MAC Cosmetics as a media consultant, director and producer.[9]


  • Untitled (1979)
  • Contemplation (1979)
  • Reality-Illusion (1979)
  • A Film (1980)
  • Filter Queen (1980)
  • The Bird That Chirped On Bathurst (1981)
  • Home Movies (1981)
  • Food Trilogy (1981)
    • What's For Lunch Charley?
    • One Burger, Hold the Pickle
    • Aprés Diner
  • Endocrine (1982)
  • One If By Land, Two If By Sea (1982)
  • Idiot's Delight (1983)
  • Home Was Never Like This (1983)
  • Ville Quelle Ville (1984)
  • Ten Cents A Dance (1985)
  • Made In Japan (1985)
  • After Car Crash, Woman Kills Two (1985)
  • The Dead Zone (1985)
  • The Displaced View (1988)
  • Then/Now (1988)
  • General Idea - Artist's Profile (1989)
  • David Cronenberg - Artist's Profile (1990)
  • Heartbreak Hoteru (1990)
  • A Performance by Jack Smith (1992)
  • Skin Deep (1995)
  • the basement girl (2000)
  • Slightseer (2001)
  • Nobody Knows (2002)
  • Alphagirls (2002)
  • I have no memory of my direction (2005)
  • 365 SHORT VIDEOS (2006)
  • First Bloom, shortlisted at Filminute 2007 (2007)
  • A Movie a Week (2009)
  • The Coyotes Must See the Moon... (2017)
  • Down the Drain (2017)
  • NUTS (2017)[10]


Year Award Festival Film
2018 Governor General's Award in Visual Media and Arts Canada Council for the Arts
2015 Lifetime Achievement Award Toronto Urban Film Festival
2008 Honorable Mention Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival A Movie A Day
2006 Honorable Mention Ann Arbor Film Festival I Have No Memory of My Direction
Honorable Mention Mobifest If These Walls Could Talk
2001 Best Lesbian Short Film Girlfriends magazine's Sapphos 2001 Movie Awards The Basement Girl
1995 Best Feature Film: Audience Award Hamburg International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival Skin Deep
Best Short Film: Special Judges' Award Hamburg International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival Ten Cents a Dance (Parallax)
1989 Best Documentary (nominated) Gemini Awards The Displaced View
Special Citation Gemini Awards The Displaced View
1988 Honorable Mention, Golden Gate Award San Francisco International Film Festival The Displaced View

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Current Projects". Midi Onodera. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  2. ^ a b Feminism in the cinema. Pietropaolo, Laura., Testaferri, Ada. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 1995. ISBN 0585000743. OCLC 42328418.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  3. ^ "Midi Onodera". cfccreates.com. Retrieved 2017-09-02.
  4. ^ Mayne, Judith (1995). "A Parallex View of Lesbian Authorship". In Pietropaolo, Laura; Testaferri, Ada (eds.). Feminisms in the Cinema. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. p. 199.
  5. ^ Mayne, Judith (2003). "Interview with Midi Onodera". Quarterly Review of Film and Video. 20: 53–62. doi:10.1080/10509208.2003.10555040. S2CID 191479607 – via T and F Online.
  6. ^ a b Russell, Catherine (2007–2008). "Mini-Cinema: A Digital Diary for iPod". Cineaction. 73/74: 2–7 – via ProQuest.
  7. ^ "Midi Onodera wins Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts". NAJC. 2018-02-26. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  8. ^ "Midi Onodera – Moving Image Artist". Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  9. ^ "Midi Onodera". cfccreates.com. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  10. ^ "Artist | Vtape". www.vtape.org. Retrieved 2019-03-26.

External links[edit]