Irene Chin is a writer and documentary director based in Brooklyn, New York. Her work explores “sense of place” in unusual environments, human-made and natural, and documents the communities that arise from these environments. Her debut as a producer/writer was on The Lost Arcade, about the last arcade in New York City, Chinatown Fair, and the community that called the arcade “home,” following the community as the arcade closed in 2011. The New Yorker called the film “raw and intimate.” This was her first collaboration with her partner Kurt Vincent. Irene and Kurt co-direct under the moniker 26 Aries, together they create nonfiction and fiction works.
Irene and Kurt directed Friends of Wonder (2017), a documentary about a 1920s movie palace in Jersey City run by Friends of the Loews, a group of community activists that saved the theater from demolition in the 1980s, and have kept it running as a community arts center. The film documents the FotL as they prepare for a Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett concert, weaving together the story of the theater with live performance and interviews with Kurt and Courtney.
Upcoming work from Irene and Kurt include SCHILLE, a half-hour documentary about the twentieth century painter, told through the story of the Keny family, who has championed her work for decades, culminating in a major retrospective of her work at the Columbus Museum of Art in 2019 curated by Jim Keny and his daughter Tara Keny. The film chronicles the life of Alice Schille, an artist who flourished critically and commercially during the American Watercolor Movement, which included many successful female artists, but ultimately was dismissed or excluded entirely by post-war art historians and critics, who were almost always men writing about men. The film is now in post production and will premiere early 2021.
The next feature work by Irene and Kurt is A PARK IN BROOKLYN, a documentary in production. A nature film about human nature, The Park Film is an immersive and lively portrait of Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York. Over the course of one year in the Park following the four seasons, the film will illuminate the many ways in which a city park enriches the lives of an immense and diverse community by providing free and open space with direct access to nature.
Irene and Kurt directed their first non-fiction short, HOW IT’S GOIN’ (2018), a bittersweet comedy about a recently divorced father’s unexpected journey through Golden Gate Park. The film received a Vimeo Staff Pick and has garnered over 100K views.
Her work has been written about in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, Village Voice, Variety, Vice, The Hollywood Reporter, The Guardian, NPR, The Wall Street Journal, among publications.
Irene was a guest on a panel hosted by Van Alen Institute for a discussion of Chinatown’s Visible and Invisible Borders in 2016. She is a mentor for Reel Voices, a documentary film program for high school emerging filmmakers.Irene studied writing at Denison University, where she met Kurt. Irene wrote the opening monologue for The Lost Arcade. THE ORANGE COUNTY BOYS, a short fictional piece based on a narrative script, was published in Hello Mr. Magazine.
Irene received her degree in Fine Art from the School of Visual Arts (NY, NY), where she directed her first experimental film, THE BACHELORETTE PARTY (2014), which screened at NewFilmmakers Festival at Anthology Film Archives.