It was a great honor for Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking to receive the Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC) “25 in 25” recognition and join in the celebrations at a special dinner hosted at the Bishop Museum on The Great Lawn September 8, 2016. An evening of celebration of media and food.
HWF and fellow honorees such as the organizations PBS Hawaiʻi, the Hawaii International Film Festival, ʻŌiwi TV, Pacific Heartbeat and the National Minority Consortia, and individuals Merata Mita, Heather Haunani Giugni and Karin Williams, were treated a night under the stars.
Thanks to a generous donation made by Heather Giugni, HWF had a festive table of 10 young women filmmakers, former participants of our programs. Caitlin Alvior, Kaua Zabala, Sky Jeter, Phoenix Uesugi, Liti Tausa, Ginger Morris, Mae Sebastian, Kayla Manz, and Makena and Maile Duffy. Other guests referred to the table as 'the Juvenile Table' because they were the youngest attendees!
“It was really cool. I’d never been to anything like that before,” Kayla said. “It was great to seeing everyone and all their hard work be rewarded.”
It was also a reunion of sorts for 17-year-old Kayla and some of the girls. Several of them had not seen each other since the last program they attended. They enjoyed the dancers, the food and the coming together of all the talented filmmakers who work toward the same goal. But mostly, they enjoyed the surprise of their HWF founder and executive director Vera Zambonelli receive the award. When they were invited to attend, they were not told about the recognition.
“When I heard Vera’s name, I cheered,” Kayla said. “I had no idea she was getting an award. I was so happy for her.”
This is the first award HWF has received.
“It felt really special that people appreciate and value our work” said Vera.
“It was so exciting watching Vera and HWF being honored for all the work that she and the organization has done,” Caitlin said.
“It’s great to see all the hard working, talented people in film. Vera being one of those very exceptional people, I am really proud and happy for. Since this was my first time going to this event, it was quite something and I'm thankful to be with HWF,” said Kaua.
When I received the award,” Vera said, “ I was grateful that I could share it with the girls that were there. It is dedicated to them.”