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about Loni Ding (1931-2010)

Writings and Interviews | Career Awards | Academic Positions
Advocacy-Public Service | Filmography

Loni DingLONI DING was a veteran independent filmmaker, television producer and university instructor for over 30 years, creating programming which appeals to a broad viewing audience.

She produced more than 250 broadcast programs, including five series, for public television and international broadcast on a wide range of subjects. Along with her independent productions, Ding produced programs collaboratively for the California Historical Society, California State Department of Education, Chinese for Affirmative Action, San Francisco Opera Center, and KQED-TV. The San Francisco Examiner called her "a master of her craft."

Ding taught media analysis and hands-on production in the Asian American Studies Program in the Ethnic Studies Department of the University of California, Berkeley, and was a faculty member since 1980. She has also been a visiting faculty member at Cornell University, New School for Social Research (N.Y.), and Mills College, as well as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at University of California, Santa Cruz. Ding was originally trained as a sociologist at U.C. Berkeley, earning an M.A. and Ph.D. (abd.), and taught for 10 years in Berkeley's sociology department.

Her productions have been honored with multiple Emmy awards and have been screened at the London, Mannheim and Berlin International Film Festivals. They have also been broadcast internationally on four continents, including countries such as Japan (NHK), United Kingdom (BBC), Zimbabwe, and Korea.

Ding's achievements in media have been recognized by more than 15 career awards and fellowships including the Rockefeller Foundation Film/Video Fellowship (1994); a Guggenheim Fellowship (1982); the American Film Institute Director's Fellowship (1983); and the Asian CineVision Annual Filmmaker's Award (1988).

Ding also has a long history of advocacy and public service. Experienced in grassroots community organizing and policy analysis, Ding has been a prime mover and co-founder of several local and national media and arts organizations, as well as a policy advocate and spokesperson for more democratic, public interest art and media resources. Her pioneering efforts effectively helped launch the Neighborhood Arts Program of the San Francisco Art Commission, and she played leading roles in establishing the National Asian American Telecommunications Association (NAATA), the Independent Television Service (ITVS), and San Francisco PBS station KQED's Open Studio. She also served as Co-President of the national board of the New York-based Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF), to which she was elected eight times by her peers.


The following articles and interviews provide further background on Loni Ding's life and work, as well as the development and application of her "documemoir" filmmaking style.

About Documemoir
Two articles by Loni Ding that describe the documemoir style she has evolved in her last few films.

A Memoir of Ancestors in the Americas
An interview with Loni Ding about the making of the ANCESTORS TV series. Published in Film Arts Foundation's magazine Release Print, May 1996.

Loni Ding describes her personal background and how she became a filmmaker, and discusses some of her earlier works. The interviewer, Barbara Abrash, is Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Media, Culture and History, NYU. Published in Artist and Influence, 1992, Vol. 11, Hatch-Billops Collection, Inc.

Strategies of an Asian American Filmmaker An article written by Loni Ding for Moving the Image: Independent Asian Pacific American Media Arts, Published in 1991 by UCLA Asian American Studies Center and Visual Communications, Southern California Asian American Studies Central, Inc.



  • Rockefeller Foundation, Intercultural Film/Video Fellowship,1994
  • 20th Anniversary Honoree, Chinese for Affirmative Action, SF, 1989
  • Media Alliance, Meritorious Achievement (Film/Video), SF, 1989
  • Artist's Award, State of California Arts Council, 1988
  • National Japanese American Citizens League, Legislative Education Committee Award, 1988
  • James D. Phelan Award for Video, SF, 1988
  • Asian CineVision, Annual Filmmaker's Award, NY, 1988
  • Award of Honor, San Francisco Arts Commission, 1987
  • Asian Cultural Council, US/Japan Fellow, NY, 1986
  • Association of Asian Pacific American Artists Media Award, LA, 1985
  • Steven Tatsukawa Memorial Fund Award, LA, 1985
  • American Film Institute Director's Fellowship, LA, 1983
  • University Plaque of Honor, Syracuse University, 1983
  • John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, 1982
  • San Francisco State University, Broadcast Preceptor Award, 1981
  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting Senior Producer's Fellowship, 1980


  • University of California, Berkeley, Lecturer, Ethnic Studies Department, 1980 - 2009
  • New School of Social Research, NY, Distinguished Visitor, 1999
  • University of California, Santa Cruz, Lecturer, 1998
  • University of Colorado, Boulder, Art Department Resident Artist, 1994
  • Cornell University, Visiting Lecturer in Theater Arts Department & Asian American Studies Program, 1991
  • Arts Faculty, Appalachian Institute for the Arts and Humanities, University of Rio Grande, Rio Grande, Ohio, 1991
  • Workshop Leader, Summer Media Institute, Ohio Arts Council, University of Ohio, Athens, 1990-1993
  • University of California, Santa Cruz, Community Studies Department, 1988
  • Guest Professor, Syracuse University, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, 1980 & 1983
  • Consultant/Trainer, San Francisco Unified School District, SF, 1985-1991
  • San Francisco Art Institute, Lecturer, 20th century painting and sculpture, 1963-64
  • University of California, Berkeley, Lecturer, Sociology Department, 1958-1967


Congressional testimonies before U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Communications, 1984 and 1987 on behalf of autonomous and increased funding for independent producers and for increased minority productions in public broadcasting.

National Board, Multicultural Program Service (MPS), advisory body to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), Washington, D.C., 1991 to 1993.

Nominating Committee for Board of Directors, Independent Television Service (ITVS), 1989-1991. Independent producers' service mandated by Congress.

Board of Directors, Film Arts Foundation, Northern California, 1989-1991. Membership support and service organization for independent film and video makers.

Co-President, National Board, Association of Independent Video & Filmmakers (AIVF), New York. National membership organization of independent film and video makers.

Board, California Council for the Humanities (State Affiliate of National Endowment for the Humanities), 1986-1990. Chair, Media Committee, 1988-1990.

Co-founder, National Asian American Telecommunications Association, (NAATA), Public Broadcasting Minority Consortia, San Francisco, 1981-present. NAATA is now known as The Center for Asian Amerian Media (CAAM).

Proposal Author, Chief Organizer and Conference Director, National Conference of Asian/Pacific Producers, Berkeley, California, 1980. Sponsored by the University of California. First national gathering of Asian Pacific American media producers.

Board of Directors, Film Fund, New York, 1982-1984 (funder of social issue films).

Board of Directors, Western Public Radio, Fort Mason, San Francisco, 1982-1983. Training and production center for developing radio programs reflecting local interests, designed for broadcast on community and public radio.

Citizens Advisory Cable Committee, Municipally appointed committee with oversight responsibility for San Francisco's Viacom Cable Franchise, 1981-1982.

Co-founder, Neighborhood Arts Program, S.F. Arts Commission, 1967-1969. Neighborhood-based arts and cultural programs and facilities for exhibitions, performances and workshop training custom designed to the artists/cultural interests of specific neighborhoods.


Exploratorium Science Museum, San Francisco - Advisory Committee for public programs priorities and design.

Social History Project for Hunter College, New York - National Advisory Committee, 2-volume series, "Who Built America: Working People & the Nation's Economy, Politics, Culture and Society."

UCLA Film and Television Archive - National Advisory Committee, Newsreel Preservation Project funded by National Endowment for the Humanities; 9-member committee determining preservation priorities for 1930s Hearst Film Collection.

Margaret Mead Film Festival at the American Museum of Natural History, New York - National Advisory Committee.

National Advisory Board, Media Alternatives Project (MAP) - Rockefeller Foundation Project emphasizing analyses and development of multicultural approaches from the point of view of films by and about Asian Americans, African Americans, Native Americans, and Latino Americans; New York University Division of Libraries.


Loni Ding also served as review panelist for proposals or festival jurist for numerous organizations, including:

National Children's Educational Television, U.S. Department of Commerce - Review Panel Consultant for assessment of national children's television series .production proposals; Washington, D.C., 1993.

Independent Television Service - Review panel for ITVS grant finalists; St. Paul, Minnesota, 1993.

National Endowment for the Arts - Funding panel for Film/Video productions, Washington D.C., 1993.

National Endowment for the Humanities - Funding Panel; review of proposals for Film/Video Productions, Washington D.C., 1994.

Rockefeller Foundation National Nominator - Candidates for Intercultural Fellowships Program, 1994, and review panelist, 1995.


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