Skip to main content

Finding Her Beat

  • Showtime: Fri, Feb 9th @ 7:00 PM

  • Runtime: 01:28:38

  • Directed By: Dawn Mikkelson, Keri Pickett

  • Rating: GA

  • Genre: Women in Film, Music, Performance, International 

Sponsored By:

Northern Lakes Arts Association


A master of Japanese drumming and a Korean adoptee from Minnesota boldly convene an all-female troupe to perform Taiko, the Japanese drumming art that has been off-limits to women for centuries. As the early menace of Covid rumbles in the background, the group faces down hurdles to prepare for a historic performance in snowy St. Paul. Buoyed by dynamic drum performances and do-or-die spirit, FINDING HER BEAT is an energizing and uplifting story of music, cultural expression and sisterhood.

In the midst of a frozen Minnesota winter, a Japanese drum master and Korean adoptee from North Dakota join forces to assemble the world’s best Taiko drummers in a bold effort to claim a cultural spotlight that has historically been reserved only for men.

Their rhythm revolution includes rock stars from the world of Taiko: Tiffany Tamaribuchi, Kaoly Asano, Chieko Kojima, Megan Chao-Smith, and Jennifer Weir.

Through grueling rehearsals, Jennifer weaves together their disparate voices and styles. Vulnerability, pain, and joys are shared—and we quickly see the bonds of friendship form as these talented women navigate their way through differences in culture, age, language, and performing styles.

As the clock ticks toward their first performance, it becomes clear that their story has become much larger than Taiko.

Sponsored by Northern Lakes Arts Association, this screeening is followed by a Q&A with the film's Co-Director and Cinematographer, Keri Pickett.

Director Bios:

Dawn Mikkelson (Director/Producer/Editor) - Emmy Award winning producer and McKnight Filmmaking Fellow, whose work has broadcast, streamed and screened internationally. Festival screenings of her feature documentaries include: the Galway Film Fleadh, Cinequest, Mill Valley Film Festival, Heartland Film Festival, DOC NYC, Frameline Film Festival, and American Indian Film Festival. Broadcast and streaming include: APT (American Public Television), PBS, CBC (Canadian Broadcast Corporation), Yes-Docu (Israel), Duetsche Welle (Germany), iTunes, and Amazon Prime. In addition to FINDING HER BEAT, Mikkelson has completed six award-winning independent feature documentaries, RISKING LIGHT, THE RED TAIL, GREEN GREEN WATER, THIS OBEDIENCE, and TREADING WATER: A DOCUMENTARY, character-driven films highlighting power and joy in the margins, her sixth of which MINNESOTA MEAN, within the world of women’s flat track roller derby, premiered Spring 2023.

Keri Pickett (Director/Director of Photography/Editor) - Award-winning artist, producer, director, cinematographer. Pickett’s documentary films First Daughter and the Black Snake and The Fabulous Ice Age have won multiple awards and screened at festivals around the world, breaking records in attendance, and streamed on Netflix. A well known photographer , Pickett has published multiple photography books, with photographs displayed in international and national museums and have appeared in Life, Time, People, Stern, and Geo magazines, and she has been awarded fellowships from the Bush Foundation, McKnight, Jerome, and Target Foundations, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Jennifer Weir (Executive Producer/Producer/Principal Participant) has been passionately studying, performing, teaching, and composing Taiko for the past two decades. Ms. Weir is the founding Executive Director of TaikoArts Midwest, Artistic Director of Ensō Daiko (formerly Mu Daiko), and a performing member of ensemble-MA, led by Iris Shiraishi. Ms. Weir is also a theater director and dramaturg with Theater Mu, and a past recipient of grants from Live Music for Dance MN, MN State Arts Board, MN Regional Arts Board, Arts International, American Composers Forum, and a Jerome MN Travel Grant.