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Reel Wāhine of Hawaiʻi Season 5 Cast and Crew Announced!


January 29, 2024

Hawai‘i Women in Filmmaking announces  


[Honolulu, HI] — January 29, 2024 — Hawai’i Women in Filmmaking has been awarded a prestigious National endowment for the Arts grant for their fifth season of the Reel Wāhine of Hawai’i film series. 

Season 5 of Reel Wāhine of Hawai‘i highlights the exceptional and crucial work of pioneering wāhine who played a significant role in establishing the local film industry, as well as emerging talents who are producing innovative and ground-breaking work. The season comprises six new episodes that capture the real-life experiences and creative journeys of these filmmakers.

The filmmakers featured in the film series include:

Alison Week is a filmmaker based in Waimea, Hawaiʻi. She produces narrative and non-fiction films and has worked for clients like Meta, BBC World, NBC/Universal, Business Insider, and Issue Television. Her personal film work aims to uplift stories of women and represent her island home. Recently, she co-directed the documentary feature Island Cowgirls, now airing on PBS/World Channel as part of the series Pacific Heartbeat.

Chaunnel "Pākē" Salmon is an award-winning filmmaker and entrepreneur from Hawaiʻi. She draws inspiration from Hawaiian surf legends and nature to showcase the beauty of Hawaiʻi's stories and culture to a global audience. Pākē is also a mentor to young people, teaching them about the ocean's importance and its resources. Through her works, she transforms the legacy of abandonment into one of abundance, driven by the core Hawaiian values of Aloha Aina.

Lola Quan Bautista, born and raised on the island of Guam, has been doing research on Micronesian migration, settlement in urban spaces, and ongoing connections between diasporic communities and their home island nations. Lola has directed and produced films that promote understanding and social justice. In her latest film, Crossing Spaces, she explores the role that higher education plays in transforming the lives of three women from Micronesia.

Robin Lung is a fourth-generation Chinese American filmmaker from Hawaii. She specializes in bringing untold stories of minorities and women to the big screen. Her documentary, Finding KUKAN, won the American Library Association's Notable Film Award in 2019. She recently finished her first stop-motion animated film, Anna Unbound, which premiered in October 2023 at the Chinese American Women in History Conference in Washington, D.C.

Shirley Thompson is a renowned documentary producer, editor, and director. She is best known for editing award-winning documentaries such as Baseball Behind Barbed Wire, The 'Ilima Lady, Island Cowgirls, Finding Kukan, and Pidgin: The Voice of Hawai'i. She has received major funding from the NEA and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and her work has received significant recognition, including an Emmy and a Peabody award. 

Tiare Ribeaux is a Kānaka Maoli filmmaker based in Honolulu. Her films use magical realism to critique social and ecological imbalances. Ribeaux's work explores the connection between our bodies and land and water systems, focusing on transformation. She has won numerous grants and awards for her artistic leadership, including the Sundance Native Lab Fellowship and the National Endowment for the Arts.

This season's directors are: Erin Lau, Donna Choo, Lisette Marie Flanary, Shaneika Aguilar, Shirley Thompson, and Vera Zambonelli.

"Representation matters,” says Native Hawaiian filmmaker Erin Lau. “It's important for people like us, who come from similar backgrounds, to see ourselves and our stories told on screen. That's why I believe this series is so valuable for our community,” O‘ahu native Donna Choo adds, “We have so much to say, and I want to help preserve our voices."

Documentary filmmaker Lisette Marie Flanary highlights the unique approach of the series, "I love that each profile is so individual and showcases the people behind the lens and in front of it. This series nurtures and celebrates the next generation of female filmmakers." Filmmaker and photographer Shaneika Aguilar, profiled in the previous season, also emphasized the importance of representation, saying, "As a young filmmaker, I didn't see enough women's voices being amplified in the media. I wanted to change that and participate in a project showcasing diverse perspectives. By sharing our stories, we can empower other women and inspire the next generation of filmmakers."

Series Executive Producer Vera Zambonelli underscores the community building aspect of the series, "by highlighting the achievements and stories of these incredible women, we're creating a ripple effect of love and positivity. We're showing that it's possible to thrive in this industry and inspire others to do the same. Together, we can build a better future for all. Love begets Love."

The SEASON 5 films:

  • Reel Wāhine of Hawai‘i: Alison Week directed by Shirley Thompson

  • Reel Wāhine of Hawai‘i: Chaunnel “Pākē” Salmon directed by Vera Zambonelli

  • Reel Wāhine of Hawai‘i: Lola Quan Bautista directed by Shaneika Aguilar

  • Reel Wāhine of Hawai‘i: Robin Lung directed by Donna Choo

  • Reel Wāhine of Hawai‘i: Shirley Thompson directed by Lisette Marie Flanary

  • Reel Wāhine of Hawai‘i: Tiare Ribeaux directed by Erin Lau

Series co-producers Zambonelli and Thompson seek allies and co-sponsors to complete these six new films in 2024. The season four films are slated for an in person screening for the Women of Wonders Film Fest on March 8, 2024, broadcast on PBS Hawai‘i and on the Pacific Islanders in Communications Pacific Heartbeat YouTube Channel in celebration of Women’s History Month.

For more information, press only:

Vera Zambonelli

(808) 206-0848

Shirley Thompson

(808) 457-7924


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