Randall Okita is a Canadian visual artist and filmmaker whose work employs sculpture, technology, physically challenging performances or stunt-work, and rich cinematography. His work has been shown in both group and solo exhibition, awarded internationally, and screened at festivals around the world, including retrospective screenings of his short film catalogue in San Francisco and Toronto.
Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Okita has lived and worked in Japan, Vancouver and Toronto.
In 2016, Randall exhibited Be Here Now, a large-scale interactive installation, at the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Midnight Massive event, prior to which it was part of Things I Can’t Tell You, a three month solo exhibition of original artworks, commissioned by The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival, where Randall received the Canadian Artist Spotlight Award.
Randall’s feature film, The Lockpicker, was created through a unique partnership with a Toronto high school and an innovative production methodology developed to invite students to collaborate in the making of the film. It was made with the support of Telefilm Canada, The Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and a Technicolour Post-Production Grant awarded by TIFF Director Piers Handling as part of his TFCA Clyde Gilmour Award. The Lockpicker has received the John Dunning Discovery Award from The Canadian Academy of Cinema and Television, the Grand Jury Prize from the San Diego Asian Film Festival, and Best First Feature from the Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival.
His short film, The Weatherman and the Shadowboxer, a spellbinding blend of live action, high-speed camera work and digital animation was produced by the National Film Board of Canada and was awarded Best Canadian Short Film at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, Prix Format Court at 2014 Festival du Nouveau Cinema, and Best Experimental Film at both 2015 L.A. Shorts Fest and 2015 N.Y. Shorts Fest.
Portrait as a Random Act of Violence, a short film for which he created an original large-scale installation and kinetic sculpture, pushing the boundaries of performance, mechanical artwork and cinema, premiered at 2013 TIFF and won Best Experimental Film at 2013 L.A. Shorts Fest.
In 2011, he wrote, directed and performed in No Contract, which premiered at 2011 Festival du Nouveau Cinema, in which the physically challenging stunts included full-body burn pyrotechnics and wire-assisted jumps, combining elements of performance, sculptural cinema and documentary. Prior to that came his 2010 documentary short, The View in Passing, as well as Transmission, and Fish in Barrel in 2009, in which Okita took the cameras underwater as well as incorporating ultra slow-motion cinematography and complex stunts. In 2008, Machine with a Wishbone, which featured the work of celebrated kinetic sculptors Arthur Ganson and Alan Storey and involved the creation of mechanical sets and visual choreography. It won the Audience Award at the 2008 Brooklyn International Film Festival, Best Experimental Film at 2008 Winnipeg International Film Festival and the Golden Sheaf Award for Best Experimental Short at the 2008 Yorkton Short Film & Video Festival.
Randall is a graduate of the Directors Lab at the Canadian Film Centre, The Berlinale Talent Campus, the National Screen Institute’s Diverse Director Program, and the TIFF Director’s Lab.
He is an active mentor, guest speaker and instructor, working with a number of programs that expose youth to creative communities and collaborative problem solving. His favourite road snack is celery.