Roddy Bogawa Biography
Roddy Bogawa is an American filmmaker and artist of Japanese descent, known for his experimental and documentary films that explore themes of identity, music, art, and history. He was born in Los Angeles in 1962 and grew up in the punk rock scene, where he found a way to express his difference and creativity. He studied art and sculpture at the University of California, San Diego, where he graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in 1989. He then attended the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program in New York, where he developed his avant-garde style and techniques.
Bogawa’s films often combine personal and cultural narratives, using various formats and genres such as 16mm, video, animation, fiction, and non-fiction. Some of his notable works include Some Divine Wind (1991), a poetic meditation on memory and loss; I Was Born, But… (2004), a documentary about Asian American filmmakers; and Junk (1999), a sci-fi comedy about a Japanese American scientist who invents a time machine. Bogawa’s films have been screened at festivals and venues such as Sundance, Rotterdam, Berlin, MoMA, Tate Modern, and the Smithsonian.
Involvement with the Pink Floyd Family
Bogawa’s most biographical film to date is Taken by Storm: The Art of Storm Thorgerson and Hipgnosis (2012), an intimate and comprehensive portrait of the legendary album cover designer Storm Thorgerson, who created iconic images for bands such as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, and Muse. Bogawa met Thorgerson in 2007 and spent five years filming him and his collaborators, as well as interviewing musicians, artists, and critics who were influenced by his work. The film is a tribute to the depth and experience of music itself, as well as to the friendship that developed between the filmmaker and the subject.
Bogawa’s latest project is Have You Got It Yet? The Story of Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd (2023), a documentary that traces the life and career of Syd Barrett, the co-founder and original leader of Pink Floyd, who left the band in 1968 due to mental health issues and became a reclusive legend. The film features rare archival footage and interviews with Barrett’s family, friends, bandmates, and admirers, such as Noel Fielding, David Gilmour, Tom Stoppard, Pete Townshend, and MGMT. The film also explores the myths and mysteries that surround Barrett’s story, as well as the impact of his music on generations of fans and artists. The film is named after an unreleased song that Barrett brought to his final practice with Pink Floyd.
Roddy Bogawa Filmography
Here is a brief filmography of Roddy Bogawa, an American filmmaker of Japanese descent who is known for his experimental and narrative films.
- Some Divine Wind (1991): This is Bogawa’s first feature film, which explores his identity as a Japanese American and his relationship with his father, who was interned during World War II. The film mixes documentary footage, personal memories, and fictional scenes to create a poetic and fragmented narrative
- If Andy Warhol’s Super-8 Camera Could Talk (1994): This is a short film that imagines what the camera of the famous pop artist would say if it could speak. The film uses archival footage of Warhol and his associates, as well as original scenes that parody his style and themes. The film is a tribute and a critique of Warhol’s influence on art and culture
- Junk (1999): This is a science fiction film that depicts a dystopian future where a mysterious virus has infected the human population, causing them to mutate into grotesque creatures. The film follows a group of rebels who try to find a cure for the virus, while avoiding the authorities who want to exterminate them. The film uses low-budget effects and a dark humor to comment on the issues of biotechnology, consumerism, and identity
- I Was Born, But… (2004): This is an autobiographical film that chronicles Bogawa’s life from his childhood in Los Angeles to his adulthood in New York. The film uses home movies, photographs, interviews, and reenactments to portray Bogawa’s struggles with racism, assimilation, and self-expression. The film also pays homage to the Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu, whose 1932 film of the same name inspired Bogawa
- Taken by Storm: The Art of Storm Thorgerson and Hipgnosis (2013): This is a documentary film that profiles the legendary graphic designer Storm Thorgerson, who created iconic album covers for bands such as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, and Muse. The film features interviews with Thorgerson, his collaborators, and his clients, as well as examples of his work and his creative process. The film is a celebration of Thorgerson’s artistic vision and influence on music and culture1
- Have You Got It Yet? (2023): This is a documentary film that explores the life and legacy of Syd Barrett, the co-founder and original leader of Pink Floyd, who left the band in 1968 due to mental health issues and lived in seclusion until his death in 2006. The film uses rare footage, interviews, and music to debunk some of the myths and rumors surrounding Barrett’s personality and career. The film also examines Barrett’s impact on music and art, as well as his fans’ fascination with him.