• HWF Staff

HWF to Receive Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts


[Honolulu, HI] - Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking has been approved for a $20,000 Grants for Arts Projects award from the National Endowment for the Arts to support the production of Reel Wāhine of Hawaiʻi Season 4. Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking project is among 1,125 projects across America totaling more than $26.6 million that were selected during this second round of Grants for Arts Projects fiscal year 2022 funding.


“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts and cultural organizations throughout the nation with these grants, including Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking, providing opportunities for all of us to live artful lives,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “The Arts contribute to our individual well-being, the well-being of our communities, and to our local economies. The arts are also crucial to helping us make sense of our circumstances from different perspectives as we emerge from the pandemic and plan for a shared new normal informed by our examined experience.”


In Hawaiʻi, we have a strong history of wāhine behind the camera” says series co-producer Vera Zambonelli, who is also Executive Director and founder of Hawai‘i Women in Filmmaking. “Most of them had never told their stories before. And their accomplishments are great. We need to research, record, and disseminate this knowledge to counter the ways that academic and cultural histories regularly neglect women’s authorship and work in film and in the arts in general.”


“Women filmmakers just aren’t getting the same opportunities as men, in terms of hiring, pay, access to financing and access to gatekeepers.” says series co-producer Shirley Thompson. “Film is a powerful medium that shapes our very society. If we exclude women from writing those stories, or deciding which stories get told, we are excluding women’s voices from shaping our society and our future.”


Reel Wāhine of Hawai‘i is a film series that documents the real-life stories of Hawai‘i women filmmakers through a female gaze. Filmed by all-women crews, these short portraits reveal untold stories of local activists and artists who preserve Hawaiʻi history and culture through film. Produced, filmed, edited and directed by local women filmmakers, the short films profile women who helped build the local independent film industry as well as current working filmmakers at the top of their field.