Director Iara Lee

Iara Lee

Iara Lee, a Brazilian of Korean descent, is an activist, filmmaker, and director of the Cultures of Resistance Network. In 2010, she released a feature-length documentary entitled CULTURES OF RESISTANCE, which explores how creative action contributes to conflict prevention and resolution. As an extension of her commitment to the issues explored in the film, she also founded the Cultures of Resistance Network, an organization that promotes global solidarity, supports efforts to secure peace and social justice, and brings together artists and change-makers from around the world.

Iara has also continued to produce and direct documentary films. Her current feature, LIFE IS WAITING: Referendum and Resistance in Western Sahara, looks at a nonviolent struggle for self-determination by a people for whom colonialism has never ended. In 2013, Iara made a short film entitled THE KALASHA AND THE CRESCENT, which chronicles how an indigenous movement in northern Pakistan is responding to the challenges facing their culture. In 2012, she released a documentary called THE SUFFERING GRASSES: when elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers, which examines the Syrian conflict through the humanity of the civilians who have been killed, abused, and displaced to the squalor of refugee camps.

As an activist, Iara has collaborated with numerous grassroots efforts, including the International Campaign to Ban Cluster Munitions, the New York Philharmonic's groundbreaking 2008 music-for-diplomacy concert in North Korea, the indigenous rights movement in Brazil opposing construction of the Belo Monte Dam, the effort to eliminate the use of child soldiers in Africa, and the campaign in solidarity with those working to end the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In May 2010, Iara was a passenger on the MV Mavi Marmara, a vessel in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla which was attacked in international waters by the Israeli navy, leading to the murder of nine humanitarian aid workers. Among the many people who recorded the events on that ship, her crew was the only one to successfully hide and retain most of the raid footage, which she later released to the world after a screening at the United Nations. Iara is dedicated to the support of Palestinian civilians who have been victims of war crimes committed by the Israeli military and who suffer from the Israeli government's ongoing acts of collective punishment.

At the onset of the Iraq war in 2003, Iara decided to travel and live in the MENA region (Middle East & North Africa) in order to understand the conflict better. While residing in Lebanon in 2006, she experienced firsthand the 34-day Israeli bombardment of that country. Moved by that experience, she has since dedicated herself to the pursuit of a just peace in the region, and she is an enthusiastic supporter of those initiatives which strengthen adherence to international law in enforcing human rights. In 2008 Iara lived in Iran and supported a number of cultural exchange projects between that country and the West with the goal of promoting arts & culture for global solidarity.

From 1984 to 1989 Iara was the producer of the Sao Paulo International Film Festival in Brazil. From 1989-2003 she was based in New York City, where she ran the mixed-media company Caipirinha Productions, created to explore the synergy of different artforms (such as film, music, architecture, and poetry). Under that banner, Iara directed short and feature-length documentaries including Synthetic Pleasures, Modulations, Architettura, and Beneath the Borqa.

Iara is a member of the International Council of Advisors of the National Geographic Society, a long-time supporter of Greenpeace and Amnesty International, and a trustee to the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), North Korea's first and only university whose faculty is composed of international professors. Moreover, through the Cultures Of Resistance Network foundation, she supports dozens of grassroots groups around the world.


Press photos of Iara Lee:

Iara Lee DC cherry blossom 2013 pic Click here to download the full-resolution version.

Iara Lee Cairo 2013 pic Click here to download the full-resolution version.

Iara Lee Palestine embroidery pic Click here to download the full-resolution version.