Network Media

Kumu Hina

Funded by: ITVS, Pacific Islanders in Communications, Hawaii Peoples Fund, Frameline Completion Fund

This documentary tells a story at the crossroads of two very distinct struggles – the fight for transgender acceptance, and the efforts of the Hawaiian people to retain their traditional culture in the face of Westernization.

The film follows Hina Wong-Kalu, who is a māhū, or transgender woman. As a teacher, she remains very close to the traditions of Pacific Islander culture in directing her school’s all-male hula troupe. One of Hina’s students also openly identifies as māhū, and Hina uses her own personal experiences to encourage the student to become a leader of the hula squad and to find security in her gender identity. In her own life, Hina experiences the ups-and-downs of a relationship with a Tongan man – happy to have finally found love at times, but at odds with his headstrong personality at others. Visit the film’s website to learn more about Hina’s story and find screenings near you.