Monday, November 10, 2014 7:30pm
Los Angeles Premiere
Kumu Hina tells the inspiring story of Hina Wong-Kalu, a transgender native Hawaiian teacher and cultural icon who brings to life Hawai’i’s traditional embrace of mahu—those who embody both male and female spirit. The film traces Hina’s evolution from Collin Wong, a timid high school boy, to her present position as a married woman and cultural director of a school in one of Honolulu’s grittier neighborhoods. When Ho’onani, a charismatic 6th grade girl, asks to join the school’s all-male hula troupe, Hina gives her the opportunity to express her inner male spirit. As teacher and student prepare for a climactic end-of-year performance, they meet many obstacles, but hold fast to the idea that being true to oneself matters most.
The film also delves into Hina’s pursuit of a dream of her own; a fulfilling romantic relationship. Her marriage to a headstrong Tongan man, and the challenges they encounter, offer a glimpse of a Hawaii never before seen on film and a deeper understanding of the true meaning of aloha—love, honor and respect for all.
Directed by Emmy Award-winners Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson, and co-produced with ITVS and Pacific Islanders in Communications, Kumu Hina premiered at the Hawaii International Film Festival and won the Jury Award for Achievement in Documentary at Frameline. The film is the focus of a touring outreach and education campaign to spread the Hawaiian philosophy of aloha, cultural empowerment and gender diversity across the Pacific and around the world.