TV Broadcast Premiere on PBS's Independent Lens: May 4, 2015
“A powerful and educational film that breathes with life.”
“MEMORABLE…INSPIRING…ALLOWS AUDIENCES TO EXPERIENCE THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY OF ONE PERSON AND HER COMMUNITY”
-The Ford Foundation
“A stunning eye-opener... The world Hina lives in is something that tourists never see. Here’s your chance — and a colorful world it is.”
Genre: Documentary, LGBT, Family, Cultural Studies, Music, PBS
Imagine a world where a little boy can grow up to be the woman of his dreams, and a young girl can rise to become a leader among men. Welcome to Kumu Hina's Hawai'i.
KUMU HINA tells the inspiring story of Hina Wong-Kalu, a transgender native Hawaiian teacher, or kumu, who brings to life Hawai‘i's traditional embrace of mahu - those who embody both male and female spirit. Produced by Emmy-winning directors Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson in association with ITVS and Pacifc Islanders in Communications, 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, Kumu Hina gives her the opportunity to express her inner male spirit. As teacher and student prepare for a climactic end-of-year public performance, they meet many obstacles, but hold fast to the idea that being true to oneself matters most.
Directors: Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson
Runtime: 77 minutes