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Crossing Spaces: California to Guam

It’s the Christmas season and a Chamorro family from Guam living in Northern California is busily preparing for their annual Nobenan Niñu Jesus. Through the preparation of kélaguen and singing traditional songs, the grandchildren learn about their culture and Chamorro language—a language that they do not speak—but will happily sing alongside their grandparents. The nobena practice, often led by women, continues to preserve and perpetuate the Chamorro language and values and brings together extended families across spaces.

Director: Dr. Lola Quan Bautista

Editor: Shirley Thompson

Four Winters

Over 25,000 Jewish partisans fought back against the Nazis and their collaborators from deep within the forests of WWII’s Eastern Europe, Ukraine and Belarus. Against extraordinary odds, they escaped Nazi slaughter, transforming from young innocents to courageous resistance fighters. The last surviving partisans tell their stories of resistance in FOUR WINTERS, revealing a stunning narrative of heroism and resilience.

Director: Julia Mintz

Trailer editor: Shirley Thompson


Betty Tells Her Story

Betty Tells Her Story is the poignant tale of beauty, identity and a dress – and is considered a classic of documentary filmmaking. Made in 1972, it was the first independent film of the women’s movement to explore the issues of body image, self-worth and beauty in our culture – and to explore the ways in which clothing and appearance affect a woman’s identity.

Director: Liane Brandon

Trailer editor: Shirley Thompson


Burma Film Festival

The Burma Benefit Film Festival, with a program of 50 films by and about Myanmar (Burma), raised over $65,000 in audience donations, providing humanitarian assistance in poor areas most severely impacted by food insecurity and emergency shelter needs. 

Trailer Director: Ellen Bruno

Trailer editor: Shirley Thompson


A Jumping Night in the Garden of Eden

Re-released for a new generation: A Jumpin’ Night in the Garden of Eden was the first film to document the klezmer music revival.

Tracking two groups of brilliant young musicians, Kapelye and the Klezmer Conservatory Band, and containing rare footage of the elder immigrant musicians they learned from, it tells the story of 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants restoring their cultural legacy.

Director: Michal Goldman

Trailer editor: Shirley Thompson


Bad Attitude the Life & Art of Spain Rodriguez

Bad Attitude: The Art of Spain Rodriguez explores the controversial art and life of the legendary underground cartoonist through the lens of his wife, Emmy-nominated filmmaker Susan Stern.

 From the propaganda comics of WWII, to the underground comics breakthrough in 1960s New York and San Francisco, to the graphic novels of today, Bad Attitude is an enthralling history of comics and a rousing call to art and activism.

Director: Susan Stern

Trailer editor: Shirley Thompson


Portraits and Dreams

Portraits and Dreams revisits photographs created by Kentucky schoolchildren in the 1970s and the place where the photos were made. The film is about the students, their work as visionary photographers and the lives they have led since then, as well as the linkage of personal memory to the passage of time. 

Directors: Elizabeth Barret & Wendy Ewald, Producer: Robert Salyer

Trailer editor: Shirley Thompson


Sisters Rising

Six Native American women fight to restore personal and tribal sovereignty in the face of ongoing colonial violence against indigenous women in the United States. 

Directors: Willow O’Feral & Brad Heck

Trailer editor: Shirley Thompson


Reel Wāhine of Hawai‘i 2

REEL WĀHINE OF HAWAI‘I is a film series that redresses gender inequity in the film industry by documenting the real-life stories of Hawai‘i women filmmakers through a female gaze. Directed and filmed by all women crews, these six short portraits reveal untold stories of local activists and artists who preserve Hawai‘i history and culture through film.

The second season’s six new films feature award-winning filmmakers Lisa Kealohilai Altieri (editor, PAPA MAU, UNDER A JARVIS MOON), Marlene Booth (director, KŪ KANAKA/STAND TALL, PIDGIN THE VOICE OF HAWAI‘I ), Lisette Marie Kaualena Flanary (director, TOKYO HULA, NĀ KAMALEI MEN OF HULA, Erin Lau (writer & director, THE MOON AND THE NIGHT), Myrna Kamae (Producer, HISTORY OF THE SONS OF HAWAI‘I, LI‘A LEGACY OF A HAWAIIAN MAN), and Laura Margulies (Animator, HEPA! ROLLING DOWN LIKE PELE). The subjects recount their philosophies, challenges and triumphs in creating original films and telling unique local stories through a camera lens.

The Reel Wāhine series is an intergenerational project where the directors and camerawomen collaborated with and mentored young women graduates of Hawai‘i Women in Filmmaking’s programs. REEL WĀHINE OF HAWAI’I is produced by Hawai’i Women in Filmmaking with major funding by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Series producers: Shirley Thompson & Vera Zambonelli

Directors: Kimberlee Bassford, Taylour Chang, Robin Lung, Renea Veneri Stewart, Shirley Thompson & Vera Zambonelli

Reel Wāhine of Hawai‘i Series

From the mothers of Hawai’i independent filmmaking to cutting edge artists at the top of their game, REEL WĀHINE OF HAWAI’I is a series of portraits of Hawai’i’s top women filmmakers. The subjects represent pioneering filmmakers as they recount their roles, philosophies, challenges and triumphs in building the Hawai’i film industry and telling unique local stories through a camera lens.

Season 1 features: Connie M. Florez (Indie film producer), Ciara Leinaʻala Lacy (director, OUT OF STATE), Jeannette Paulson-Hereniko (Producer, THE LAND HAS EYES, and founding director of Hawai‘i International Film Festival), Victoria Keith (Camerawoman and news producer, THE SAND ISLAND STORY), Anne Misawa (Cinematographer, UH Mānoa ACM Professor) Heather Haunani Giugni (Producer, FAMILY INGREDIENTS, Founder of ʻUluʻulu: The Henry Ku‘ualoha Giugni Moving Image Archive of Hawai‘i

Directed by: Heather Giugni, Leah Kihara, Laurie Sumiye, Shirley Thompson and Vera Zambonelli.

Series producers: Shirley Thompson & Vera Zambonelli for Hawai‘i Women in Filmmaking