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The Girls Lead Initiative (GLI)

On January 30, 2018, we launched the first phase of the Girls Lead Initiative (GLI).
The first phase entailed the coming together of our young filmmakers who produced films during our filmmaking programs, such as the Reel Camps for Girls and Making Media That Matters. We met bi-weekly to select films and discuss their content with the goal of creating a curated program of films aimed at facilitating conversations around the issue that affect our youth. We talked-story with the filmmakers about the details of the filmmaking process, messaging, informed discussion about the issues their films address, and how to host curated screenings.

On May 31, we inaugurated the second phase by hosting our first curated screening at The ARTS at Marks Garage. Zoe, Phoenix, and Jordan presented films that talked about depression and anxiety, gave an extremely informative presentation, and engaged the audience in Q&A. 

On September 19, Zoe and Kadee presented at Hawaiʻi FEAST. FEAST refers to a community dinner, at which attendees pay to join a catered reception, and a portion of that payment is set aside as a prize. While attendees eat, mingle, and imbibe, different artists showcase their work and explain their proposed public art project. After the presentations are over, attendees vote on the creative proposal they wish to award the prize. It’s win-win-win: Attendees enjoy a meal with friends, one artist (or group of artists) is awarded funding to put towards a public art project, and all presenters gain exposure and a rare networking opportunity (
This FEAST was being held in partnership with Mental Health America of Hawaii to support mental health & community wellbeing. They send out a call to "artists of all mediums who were interested in presenting their ideas for using public art & creative advocacy as a tool to support mental health and wellbeing."

Our proposed creative advocacy project entailed the screening of the short film “Pretty Good Start” to at least three youth groups and have the filmmakers facilitate a conversation right after the screening with their peers. We believe that the screening and talk story will bring people together for youth-driven conversations in informal community settings, and it hopes to engage affected youth while also connecting them to the local experts, resources, and organizations.

“Pretty Good Start” is meant to address the general misconceptions and stereotypes of mental disorders like depression versus the actual realities of them and the effect they have on one’s personal and professional life. According to the depression and suicide education awareness program, I Need a Lighthouse, “Approximately 20 percent of teens will experience depression before they reach adulthood”. With this vast amount of teens subject to depression, it’s a wonder that there are still so many who are unaware and unaccepting of someone with a mental disorder. Director Kadee Wauke explains, “I have been very active in raising awareness on depression, being able to tell a story about it through filmmaking was a more creative way than just doing so through a speech.”

The proposal was extremely well-received, and Zoe and Kadee received several questions after the presentation and many FEAST attendees congratulated them afterward.

Then, we have been reaching out to schools, youth groups, and organization to host more screenings and facilitate informed conversation and develop plans for community actions on what matters most to our young women filmmakers! 

Ultimately, with these processes, we aim at creating spaces for conversations leading to the development plans of action on the issue(s) discussed with the girls themselves leading the community transformation on the most urgent issues they face as girls. Given the current political climate, it is imperative to cultivate spaces for girls to express the pervasive nature of systemic oppression and have them lead the change. This initiative allows our communities to be more just and inclusive of our girls and young women, and use those conversations as the springboard to develop action plans aimed to transform communities. 

Through filmmaking, we activate a personal transformation which translates into social change.
Yes, girls as agents of social change.

GLI screenings:

  • November 13, 2018 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm @ The Impact Hub 

  • November 19, 2018 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm @ The Impact Hub 

  • November 29, 2018 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm @ The ARTS at Marks Garage

GL Pretty good start.png

Invite us to screen our films and talk to your group, school or organization by sending an email to with the subject line: GLI screening.

This initiative is made possible thanks to the generous support of the

Women's Fund of Hawaiʻi and the Atherton Family Foundation.

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