Monthly Gatherings

Wāhine in Film Talk-Story

Using a screening and discussion format, our gathering series invites women filmmakers and women involved in the film industry to discuss their work, exchange experience, share their expertise and personal reflections about the making of films and the workings of the industry.

Renea Veneri Stewart

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Recently nominated for a second Daytime EMMY in Cinematography, Renea knows the ins and outs of production and works tirelessly to achieve the best possible product. Passionate about preserving Hawai‘i’s beauty and culture, Stewart documents life through moving images and still photography, using the highest quality photographic tools. She’s skilled in live television broadcast, documentaries, commercials, and short films. An EMMY Award-winning producer, gifted project designer, talented published photographer, Producer and director of photography for Family Ingredients, Stewart is always telling rich stories through the lens.


When:October 17, 2018 6:00 - 7:00 pm

Where: Board meeting room @ the Impact Hub 1050 Queen Street 

Free and Open to the Public (Donations welcomed)​

Fe Bailey

June 27, 2018

Join us for a conversation with Fe Bailey on THE POWER OF SYMBOLS. Fe is a filmmaker and artist with a passion for excellence. Fe has worked with top film productions in Venezuela and abroad. She embraces experience and professionalism and has led Venezuelan and international crews for national and Latin American campaigns. Currently, Fe collaborates with the best local Hawaiian and mainland production companies, advertising agencies and direct clients to produce and direct their projects. When she is not running a set or directing an event, you can find her working on her art and giving back to her community. A Sunday Morning, a short film she has recently directed will be also screened as part of the gathering.


When: June 27, 2018 6:00 - 7:00 pm
Where: Board meeting room @ the Impact Hub 1050 Queen Street 
Free and Open to the Public

Laurie Sumiye

May 9, 2018

Laurie Sumiye is a Hawai‘i-born artist, animator and documentary filmmaker who investigates environmental tensions between humans and nature. Her background in interactive media and visual design informs her drawings, animations, videos, and installations. She has exhibited her artwork in New York, Los Angeles, Hawai‘i and internationally, in the UK, South Africa and Brazil and screened her award-winning films at DOC NYC, BAM cinemaFest and PS1MoMA. She has an MFA in Integrated Media Arts from Hunter College, BA & BS in Art and Communications from Bradley University, and studied art at Lorenzo De Medici in Florence and Pratt Institute in New York. She spent 16 years working as an art director and designer in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. She returned to Hawaiʻi to work on her first long-form documentary for PBS, A PARADISE LOST. Laurie currently works and lives in Mililani, Hawaiʻi, and she teaches animation and filmmaking to girls at Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking.

When: May 9, 2018 From 6:00 - 7:00 pm 

Where: board meeting room @ the Impact Hub 1050 Queen Street, Honolulu, HI 96814

Free and Open to the Public



Ann Marie Kirk

April 25, 2018

Trust Yourself  •  Trust the Story


Ann Marie Kirk is an award-winning filmmaker from Maunalua, Oʻahu.  Her recent films include: Kai Piha: Kaʻahele Ma Waikiki about the history of traditional Hawaiian surfing in Waikiki with Hawaiian Historian John Clark and The Hawaiian Room about the legendary Hawaiian dancers and entertainers who performed at the famed Hawaiian Room in the Lexington Hotel from the 1930’s to the 1960’s. 


Ann Marie is also the creator of a cultural website sharing the moʻoleleo of Maunalua, Oʻahu.

When: April 25, 2018 From 6:00 - 7:00 pm 

Where: Board meeting room @ the Impact Hub 1050 Queen Street, Honolulu, HI 96814

Free and Open to the Public

Israella Samonte

February 21, 2018

Making your profession an inspiration for your stories

Israella is the interim Executive Director, for the Hawaii Filmmakers Collective, a non-profit organization for independent filmmakers. As a filmmaker who completed her training in New York Film Academy in Los Angeles and an Occupational Therapist by profession, Israella has been passionate about merging both her artistic skill and hands-on experience in helping people with disabilities. She does this creatively by bringing social awareness and understanding on the lives of people with physical and psychological disabilities through her films.  One of her films, "Anino" a short film about Autism, got selected for the NYFV Festival, shown at the Laemmle Theater in Beverly Hills, and was released as an educational material used for parent workshops to further understand Autism, sponsored by the Westside and Los Angeles Regional Center. Israella's recent finished project in Hawaii include, "SameT'ing", starring Hawaii's very own Dennis Chun, is currently being entered into film festivals and has already won two Awards of Recognition. "SameTing" is a short film inspired by a true story of an elderly man who suffered a double amputation on his legs. Israella hopes that this short film will catalyze a dialogue and understanding on the issues facing the aging population.  

When: February 21, 2018 From 6:00 - 7:00 pm 

Where: board meeting room @ the Impact Hub 1050 Queen Street, Honolulu, HI 96814

Free and Open to the Public

Shirley Thompson

January 24, 2018

Teasers, sample reels and trailers: How to craft the right video short to pitch your project.

Shirley Thompson is a documentary editor with a heart of gold, best known for the PBS documentaries she has edited, including FINDING KUKAN (2016), KŪ KANAKA (2016), and WINNING GIRL (2014). She also edits documentary fundraising sample reels, trailers and teasers, and she spent 8 seasons writing and editing promos and trailers for Independent Lens, an anthology documentary series on PBS. As a Latina and a daughter of immigrants, she is committed to filmmaking that builds bridges across cultures and communities.

When: January 24, 2018 From 6:00 - 7:00 pm 

Where: board meeting room @ the Impact Hub 1050 Queen Street, Honolulu, HI 96814

Free and Open to the Public

Katherine Pfost

December 5, 2017 

The Future is Female: The Legal Implications of Gender Equality in the Film Industry


This informational presentation examines the troubling lack of gender equality in today's film industry. By studying the legal framework that supported the fight for gender equality in other industries and analyzing the inherent bias and overt sexism that has contributed to the lack of opportunity for female filmmakers, Katherine hopes to outline a path to a brighter future for female filmmakers. This will be a fun opportunity to lean about your workplace rights as a filmmaker and a woman and will provide information and tools you can use to better navigate our industry. Q & A to follow. 

About Katherine Pfost: Katherine is an entertainment attorney and filmmaker currently splitting her time between Los Angeles and Nashville. After graduating from the University of San Diego she attended Belmont College of Law where she focused on Entertainment Law specifically, film and television. While in law school she focused on researching meaningful legal solutions to gender discrimination behind the scenes by empowering female filmmakers, which lead to her current legal research. She previously worked with the programming team at the Nashville Film Festival. When not trying to combat rampant sexism in Hollywood, you can find her pretending to be a stand up paddle board racer or drowning in coffee working on a screenplay. 

When: December 5, 2017 Where: OUR NEW LOCATION: the lounge @ the ImpactHub 1050 Queen Street, Honolulu, HI 96814 | Free and Open to the Public

Beckie Stocchetti

October 3, 2017

Getting your film seen in a DIY landscape

Join us for a conversation with Beckie Stocchetti on how to get your film seen in a DYI landscape. Learn more with us about exhibition, distribution and community building through film.

About Beckie: Beckie Stocchetti is the Executive Director of the Hawaii International Film Festival. She returns to Hawaii from Chicago, where she held the position of Director of Independent and Local Film Initiatives at the Chicago Film Office, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE). At the Chicago Film Office, Beckie works to support and elevate Chicago’s independent film and media makers and the many outstanding organizations that serve them. Her job focused on cultivating opportunities to  increase sustainability for the local film industry, and to highlight Chicago on a national scale and  as a hub for independent creatives. Beckie has worked to support the independent film community in Chicago and nationally for over a decade. Prior to joining DCASE, she was the Director of Engagement and Programs at the award-winning documentary production company Kartemquin Films. At KTQ Beckie consulted with producers to provide critical advice and support around distribution, audience engagement and social impact strategy throughout the production process, and managed all professional development programs for emerging and mid-career filmmakers. Also in Chicago, Beckie worked as the Program Director at Chicago Filmmakers, a 501-c-3 filmmaker service organization, where she programmed weekly screenings and classes for filmmakers and developed the Digital Media Production Fund, doubling annual fund support to digital media makers. From 2009 – 2011 Beckie served as the Assistant Film Curator and Business Manager of the Doris Duke Theater at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. She has worked with the Hawaii International Film Festival in various capacities including Development consultant, Director of Education, and Projection Manager since 2009. Beckie has also programmed independent film for museums, theaters, schools, independent distribution, park districts, underground cinemas, and international film festivals. She regularly serves as a guest speaker, panelist, and juror for film festivals and film grants across the United States and internationally. Beckie previously served on the boards of Full Spectrum Features, Chicago International Film Festival, ArtWorks Projects, and Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival. She is a Chicago Community Trust Young Leaders Fund associate, and a member of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, IFC Chicago, and the Alliance (previously NAMAC). Beckie was a founder and co-curator of ‘Run of Life,’ a monthly experimental documentary series at the Nightingale Cinema in Chicago.  Beckie has a degree with honors from the University of Chicago in Cinema and Media Studies with an emphasis on international cinema, contemporary political documentaries, and spectator theory.

When: October 3, 2017 | 6:30-8:00 pm  3167 Waiʻalae Avenue, Honolulu | Free and open to the public

Taylour Chang

September 14, 2017

Equity in Cinemas, what it is and what it looks like

Interested in the notion of equity and how it intersect with cinema? Join us for a conversation with Taylour Chang on how she understand what equity means in cinema and how it looks like.

Director of the Doris Duke Theatre, Taylour curates and oversees the Honolulu Museum of Art's film and music program. Previously, she served as the Doris Duke Theatre Manager. She received her B.A. from Yale University in Film Studies and Theatre Studies with concentrations on World Cinema and Sound Design. As President of the Yale Film Society, she organized film screenings, lectures, and symposia with the Whitney Humanities Center. Taylour has also written and directed documentaries and short films.

When: September 14, 2017 | 6:30-8:00 pm  3167 Waiʻalae Avenue, Honolulu | Free and open to the public

Jana Park Moore

April 18, 2017

Family & Ancestral Stories as Inspiration for Film

See photos

Join us for a conversation with Jana Park Moore on "Family & Ancestral Stories as Inspiration for Film" for our April HWF Monthly Gathering. Jana shares her adventures of finding film-making inspiration in her mixed-race family and their surprisingly colorful stories.

About Jana Park Moore: Jana is a director, producer, actress, and writer whose films have screened across the U.S., from Florida to Alaska. She was the first female Director to win the Championships Round in the ten year history of Honolulu's Showdown in Chinatown short film competition and her winning film, “Arthur,” went on to screen as an Official Selection at the Big Island Film Festival. Her short film “The Baby Lu`au” was nominated for Best Narrative Short at the Long Beach Indie Film Festival 2016 and was chosen as an Official Selection at multiple festivals across the country, including the Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival, the Ohina Short Film Showcase, and the Guam International Film Festival.

When: April 18, 2017 | 6:30-8:00 pm  3167 Waiʻalae Avenue, Honolulu | Free and open to the public

Marlene Booth

March 28, 2017

Get a Life:  40+ years as a woman in film


See photos

In the early 1970s, when I stumbled upon the film Joyce at 34 about a woman balancing film with being a mother, I felt like Iʻd found home. In 40+ years, Iʻve seen women filmmakers stake our claim, learn the tools of the trade, and find the will to speak in our own voices about ours and othersʻ lives.  Whatʻs our next step?


About Marlene: Marlene Booth teaches film in the Academy for Creative Media at the University of Hawai’i and is an award-winning filmmaker, who has worked in film since 1975, for public television station WGBH-TV in Boston and as an independent filmmaker.  She has produced and directed several major documentary films screened on PBS and cable television, at national and international film festivals, and in classrooms nationwide.  Her major films include: YIDL IN THE MIDDLE: GROWING UP JEWISH IN IOWA; WHEN I WAS 14:  A SURVIVOR REMEMBERS;  THE DOUBLE BURDEN:  THREE GENERATIONS OF WORKING MOTHERS; THE FORWARD:  FROM IMMIGRANTS TO AMERICANS;  and THEY HAD A DREAM: BROWN V BOARD OF EDUCATION TWENTY-FIVE YEARS LATER. PIDGIN: THE VOICE OF HAWAI’I won the audience award at the Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) in 2009. Booth’s latest film, KŪ KANAKA/STAND TALL about the life and legacy of Hawaiian scholar and activist Kanalu Young, will have its California premiere in March at the 2017 Center for Asian American Media Film Festival. 

March 28, 2017 | 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm  3167 Waiʻalae Avenue, Honolulu  | Free and open to the public

Jeannette Paulson Hereniko

February 21, 2017

"REFLECTIONS AND VISIONS: An informal conversation with Jeannette Paulson Hereniko "

Jeannette will share "REFLECTIONS" regarding her long career in the film industry as a film festival director, programmer, promoter, distributor, producer and performer. This includes revelations on how films are elected for film festivals and film distribution as well as a few clues for finding film financing and getting crowds to film screenings. She will also admit to a few failures and unrealized dreams. This leads to the VISIONS part of her talk. Jeannette will share her hopes and desires regarding her own career and the future of Hawaii's film industry.

February 21, 2017 | 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm  3167 Waiʻalae Avenue, Honolulu  | Free and open to the public

Robin Lung

January 17, 2017

Five Filmmaking Lessons from My Mentors: What I Learned While Making FINDING KUKAN


Robin Lung’s new feature documentary FINDING KUKAN, which received a Halekulani Golden Orchid Award at this year’s Hawaii International Film Festival, was eight years in the making. Robin shares some key filmmaking tips she learned along the way.


About Robin: Producer/Director Robin Lung is a 4th generation Chinese American who was raised in Hawai‘i. She has a 16-year history of bringing untold minority and women’s stories to film. A graduate of Stanford University and Hunter College in NYC, Lung made her directorial debut with Washington Place: Hawai‘i’s First Home, a 30-minute documentary for PBS Hawai‘i about Hawai‘i’s historic governor’s mansion and home of Queen Liliʻuokalani (aired December 2008). She was the associate producer for the national PBS documentary Patsy Mink: Ahead of the Majority (aired October 2008), Hawaiʻi unit producer for acclaimed film Vivan Las Antipodas!, unit producer for NOVA’s Killer Typhoon, and producer/director of the feature documentary Finding KUKAN, which screened at HIFF 2016 and DOC NYC 2016 and is currently screening at festivals around the world. In 2015 she was selected as one of four documentary fellows for the NALIP ARC female filmmaker residency.

January 17, 2017 | 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm  3167 Waiʻalae Avenue, Honolulu  | Free and open to the public

Leah Kihara

April 26, 2016

The Changing Digital Landscape: Educating Future Filmmakers

With the changing digital landscape, video production and media making tools are now highly accessible to just about anyone. Yet, the Women's Media Center (2016) just released an analysis that in the past 10 years, women account for just 2% of the Oscar Nominees for Directing. Obviously Hollywood is not opening doors for women directors, but different opportunities are emerging for the next generation of filmmakers. As a high school digital media instructor at Kamehameha High School, Leah Kihara hopes to leverage the traditions of filmmaking and storytelling with the new tools and technology to provide her students with the confidence and experience to guide them to share their voices in a variety of venues. With MTV referring to this latest generation as Founders, these students look to social media as their main outlet for entertainment, enrichment and enlightenment. Along with a few of her students, Leah will share some of her insight in bridging the generations as well as some of the lessons she's learned from the Snapchat generation!


More on Leah: Award winning Native Hawaiian filmmaker, Leah U¹ilani Kihara discovered her passion for telling the stories of Hawai'i through visual media while still in high school at Kamehameha Schools. Her passion led her to University of Southern California¹s School of Cinema. The lure of Hollywood could not keep her in Los Angeles and after traveling the world and living abroad, she returned to Hawai'i. She pursued a career in independent filmmaking. Her diverse portfolio of work includes documentaries about Hokule'a, public service announcements, community work and short films. She received the Hawai'i Filmmaker award from HIFF in 2002 for her short film "i scream, floats & Sundays." In 2009, she changed her focus to education when she returned to her alma mater to take the helm of their Digital Media program. Since then, her students inspire her and keep her creativity flowing with the latest and the greatest trends!

April 26, 2016 | 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm  3167 Waiʻalae Avenue, Honolulu  | Free and open to the public

Mericia Palma Elmore

March 29, 2016

Legal Issues


Are you an actor, model, or performer? OR, are you working with actors, models, performers? Join us for a conversation with attorney Mericia Palma Elmore on the legal issues that actors, models and people who work with performers and personalities may face when creating content.

Mericia has over 25 years of experience in the entertainment industry, working in most all areas of the field, from performer to producer. After starring in her first commercial at 9 years old, she has worked in theatre, film, television and print. In addition to her work helping artists and content creators in Hawaii, she served three seasons as the Hawaii Production Coordinator, in partnership with her husband, acclaimed local filmmaker Gerard Elmore, for programs airing on the Discovery Channel's SharkWeek. Mericia has brokered deals for local artists with major players in the entertainment industry, including the use of a famous 80’s new wave song for the Hawaii International Film Festival 2008 trailer, and brokering the domestic distribution of the feature film All For Melissa. When not working or taking care of her awesome family (3 kids, 2 dogs. 1 three-legged bunny and a husband), Mericia can be found swimming in the ocean, reading science fiction novels or watching entirely too much TV. For more information about Mericia please visit

March 29, 2015 | From 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm 3167 Waiʻalae Avenue, Honolulu  | Free and open to the public

Jeannette Paulson Hereniko

February 23, 2016

Untraditional ways of producing films

For our monthly gathering, join us for a conversation with Jeannette Paulson Hereniko on rather untraditional ways of producing films! With more than 35 years of film industry experience, Jeannette Paulson Hereniko is probably best known as the founding director of the Hawaii International Film Festival, a position she held from 1981 to 1996. She is also the founding director of the Palm Springs International Film Festival, which she started in 1990 with Sonny Bono, who at the time was Mayor of Palm Springs. She’s been a jury member for International Film Festivals such as Berlin, Singapore, Hanoi, Mumbai, and Manila, and is a founding board member of NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asia Pacific Cinema). She's produced several documentaries, short films, theatre productions and a narrative feature film, THE LAND HAS EYES that had it's world premiere in Sundance, won many international awards and played in commercial theaters in USA, Australia and the Pacific. Currently she is a film producer, owner of and a film curator for Alexander Street, based in Washington D.C, a film distribution company to educational institutions around the world.


February 23, 2016 | From  6:30 - 8:00 pm | 3167 Waiʻalae Avenue, 96816 |  Free and open to the public! 

Connie Florez, Cindy Iodice, and Shirley Thompson

January 26, 2016

Notes from the Field: Guerrilla Filmmaking in India

In the summer of 2015, Connie Florez, Cindy Iodice, and Shirley Thompson travelled to the state of Himachel Pradesh, in the Kullu Valley at the base of the Great Himalayan National Park of Northern India- a newly appointed UNESCO World Heritage site, and home to some of the most spectacular scenery on Earth. They led a series of filmmaking classes for women and girls who live in the area to provide them with the tools to share their stories and train each other in the art and hard work of documentary filmmaking, while concurrently documenting their journey.

Join the conversation as they share their notes from the field!

Free and open to the public! 
January 26, 2016  | From 6:00 to 8:00 pm |  3167 Waiʻalae Avenue, 96816 | Free and open to the public

Donne Dawson

September 15, 2015

Hawai‘i Film Office: A View from Inside with Donne Dawson


Donne Dawson is Hawai‘i's State Film Commissioner. She has spent more than 12 years building Hawaii's film industry, which during her tenure has generated nearly $4 billion for the state's economy. The Hawai‘i Film Office is responsible for facilitating all film and television production throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Dawson’s office administers the consolidated statewide permitting system and the Act 88/89 refundable production tax credit, Hawaii’s first comprehensive film, television and digital media tax credit. The office also manages the 7.5-acre Hawai‘i Film Studio at Diamond Head, the only state owned and operated studio in the country, where the hit TV show Hawaii 5-0 is headquartered. During the time that Dawson has managed the state’s film office, she has worked as an advocate for the industry nationally and internationally; within state government and throughout our community. She was instrumental in securing, implementing and managing the state’s first tax credit program dedicated to film during the industry’s most globally competitive climate and the state’s most economically challenging period. Dawson has also secured nearly $13 million in capital improvement funds for the Hawai‘i Film Studio. She is currently overseeing the latest phase of these much-needed improvements as Hawaii Five-0 is currently in production for its 6th successful season in the Islands. Prior to directing the Hawai‘i Film Office, Dawson worked as a journalist, producer and communications professional dedicated primarily to the promotion of film, the environment, native Hawaiian issues, and community building. Dawson is native Hawaiian, born and raised in Nu‘uanu Valley. She is on the board for Pacific Islanders in Communications, the Sex Abuse Treatment Center of Kapi‘olani Medical Center, the Hawaiian Native Corporation, and is an active member of the Protect Kaho‘olawe ‘Ohana. 


September 15, 2015 | From  6:30 to 8:00 pm | The ARTS at Marks Garage | Free and open to the public

Gemma Cubero

April 28, 2015

Getting Reel: An intimate conversation with documentary filmmaker Gemma Cubero about her filmmaking journey.


Gemma will share how she discovered her passion in the Mexican desert, her film about female Matadors, and her latest doc in the works about a Pacific atoll. She will shed light on the joys and challenges of filmmaking, how spirituality feeds her creative life, and how to turn challenges into opportunities to carve a sustainable career. A must for anyone interested in making or watching docs with this exclusive behind the scenes. For more information about Gemma's work visit


April 28, 2016 | From 6:00 to 8:00 pm | The ARTS at Marks Garage | Free and open to the public

Erin Lau

January 20, 2015

Native Hawaiian Filmmaker, Erin Lau, began pursuing her successful career in cinema at an early age by participating in workshops, film competitions and the Kamehameha High School’s film program. She now attends the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, directing numerous award-winning shorts. Erin’s work has been recognized in film festivals across the globe, including Guam, Rarotonga, Shanghai and Hawaii. Selected out of 2000+ scripts, her most recent film, Little Girl’s War Cry, received the Ambassador for Peace Film Award in the Film Raro Film Makers Paradise Challenge. At the end of 2013, the film also took Hawaii International Film Festival’s Eurocinema Best Student Film Award. The film focused on domestic violence against women and children in the Cook Islands. Erin has also assisted in the creation of short video segments for both Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie and the Smithsonian institutions’ websites. Inspired by the ambition of numerous other native artists and her family, Erin has gained an unwavering sense of determination to recount the rich stories of her culture, people, and home.


January 20, 2015 | From 6:00 to 8:00pm | The ARTS at Marks Garage | Free and open to the public

Cindy Iodice

November 2014

Cindy Iodice is a photographer, cinematographer, producer, writer, director and founder of Island Girl Pictures LLC. Her Cinematography proficiency incorporates a time-lapse video, Na Manu Kai (2012), three music videos: Little Ukulele Love Song and I Love This City from the album Songs from the Far West, Daniel Bess, and Pro Bowl Hawai’i 2013 Music Video Commercial. Cindy’s writer, director producer credits are a result of her narrative short film, Scooter Girl (2013), and The Bridge (2014). She also worked as the Director of Photography on local Narrative Feature Film Mango Dreams, and is currently shooting Documentary Short Film The Plant Doctor and Documentary Film The Glade’s Project. Cindy is also writing, directing and producing a Documentary Short Film, Somewhere in the Middle.


November 2014 | From 6:00 to 8:00 | The ARTS at Marks Garage | Free and open to the public

Pacific Islanders in Communications

October 2014

Meet with Leanne, Cheryl, Maluhia, Amber, and Jade - the team at Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC)!!! The mission of PIC is to support, advance, and develop Pacific Island media content and talent that results in a deeper understanding of Pacific Island history, culture, and contemporary challenges.


October 24, 2014 | From 6:00 to 8:00 | The ARTS at Marks Garage | Free and open to the public

Meleanna Meyer

September 23, 2014

Meleanna Aluli Meyer comes from a well respected, civic minded family in the Hawaiian community. Meleanna is a practicing artist, educator and filmmaker, and has taught in a diverse range of educational settings both public and private, at the University level, in the charter schools, as an artist in residence and contractually as a consultant, as an arts/culture workshop leader and curriculum specialist. Community and social justice issues define much of the work she does. As a documentary filmmaker she has two remarkable films to her credit. PUAMANA ’91(about her beloved Aunty Irmgard Farden Aluli, a well known musician and composer) which opened the Hawaiʻi International Film Festival in ʻ91; It was chosen to travel & show on both the East and West Coasts with screenings at the Kennedy Center in D.C., and numerous other venues; and HO’OKU’IKAHI-To Unify as one, ’98, is about the important revival of cultural protocols at Kamehameha the 1stʻs Heiau of State, Puʻu Kohola, Kawaihae, on Hawaiʻi island. Both pieces are about building pride, understanding and support of Hawaiian families and culture from an insider’s perspective, with a voice of rare clarity. Having received numerous awards for her visual arts and film, KUʻU ʻĀINA ALOHA- My Beloved Country, is her third documentary in production. A visual poem whose truthful telling of Hawaiian History promises to be revelatory, movingly candid and engaging. Told through 1st person narrative KUʻU ʻĀINA ALOHA aims to offer audiences deep insights that have not been revealed before, about how Hawaiians from the past and those today are working to reconcile the loss and horrors of both the illegal overthrow and annexation of Hawaiʻi. Love for the land is our platform. When not making films, she continues teaching in community as her commitment to the arts, keiki & their families are a driving force in her life. The depth and range of her work in the visual arts marks her as a vital voice in the arts community. She considers the work that she does in various communities around the state part of her mission to bring the arts to empower the people. Meyer’s work can also be found in important collections in Hawaiʻi - in the City & County Collection of Honolulu, the Honolulu Academy of Arts, the East–West Center as well as the Hawaii State Art Museum, with works in private collections both here and abroad. She is also a published author and illustrator. 

September 23, 2014 | From 6:00 to 8:00 | Free and open to the public

Abbie Algar and Taylour Chang

May 20,  2014


As Film Curator at the Honolulu Museum of Art, Abbie manages the year-round film program for the museum’s Doris Duke Theatre, in addition to running several annual film festivals that spotlight everything from Bollywood to Surf filmmaking to contemporary Filipino cinema. Abbie studied Fine Art, History of Art & Italian at the University of Reading and University of Bologna and has worked at the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, The Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, and the National Portrait Gallery in London. Prior to coming to Honolulu, Abbie spent four years at Great North Artists Management in Toronto assisting screenwriters, playwrights and novelists with their work for film and television. Taylour is currently the Doris Duke Theatre Manager at the Honolulu Museum of Art. She has written and directed documentaries and short films that have screened at the Hawai’i International Film Festival and other festivals around the world. Her early film projects investigated issues ranging from German internment in Hawai’i to the challenges facing Hawaii’s juvenile justice system. She received her B.A. from Yale University in Film Studies and Theatre Studies with concentrations on World Cinema and Sound Design. For four years, she organized film screenings, lectures, and symposiums with the Yale Film Society and Whitney Humanities Center and served as Sound Designer for over fifty stage productions in New Haven, Connecticut.

May 20, 2014 | From 6:00 to 8:00 pm | Free and open to the public

Anna Page

April 2014

Anna joined the HIFF staff in 2011 as the Grants & Education Coordinator. In 2012, Anna became the new Director of Program Development. In this role, Page acted as the Festival’s grant writer and education coordinator, as well as a member of the programming team, and new program development leader. In 2014, Anna transitioned to Associate Director of Programming at the Festival, a leading member of the programming team. Page holds a Master’s Degree in Film Studies from the University of St Andrews in Scotland, and has also worked with the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival as Programming Coordinator. She is primarily interested in Asian cinema and wrote her Master’s Thesis on contemporary Japanese film. Anna also holds a BA in Visual Media Communication from American University in Washington DC. 

April 2014 | From 6:00 to 8:00 pm | Free and open to the public

Ciara Lacy

February 2014

Ciara is a partner in Flower Five Films, developing a slate of documentary films that use both strong characters and investigative journalism to challenge the creative and political status quo. Her work includes producing documentary content for film and television, managing and supervising independent features, coordinating product placement for features and television as well as producing the marketing and distribution for documentary and scripted films. AND, she is also 2014 MacArthur grantee with Out of State, about the experiences of native Hawaiian inmates sent to a private penitentiary in Arizona!!! Her website tagline: No armchair politics please. If you believe in something, do something about it!!! 

February 2014 | From 6:00 to 8:00 pm | Free and open to the public

Georja Skinner

January 2014

Georja Skinner is a star maker. Throughout her career she has helped local artists and promising talent find their way to fame in the entertainment field. Now she is performing on a larger stage in state government with a mission to put Hawaii on the map in the global market as Chief Officer of the Creative Industries Division, at the State of Hawaii.

Heather Spencer

November 2013

Heather and filmmaking found each other a little later in life, but it was love at first sight. She had been part owner and operator of a small business in an unrelated field for years when a string of unusual circumstances put a video camera in her hands. Within a years’ time, she had completed her first documentary and was accepted in an international film festival in New York. She knew from that point, that she had indeed found her true vocational passion. Two years later, she and her partner had sold the other business, and shortly thereafter, the small production company, Mission Positive Films, was born. Since then she has been able to devote her time to making documentary films that are designed to inspire, motivate and educate. Her goal is to use this visual art form to bring important stories to light in a way that entertains and engages the audience.

Christen Hepuakoa Marquez

October 2013

In collaboration with HIFF, we will be hosting Christen Hepuakoa Marquez, who agreed to be with us and share her story! Christen, who got started in filmmaking at the age of 17 with a group called "Reel Grrls" in Seattle, will now only show some of her work, but is interested in having you being part of it!!! Yes, she wants to do a short camera interview exercise with all of you that would incorporate the theme from her film: What's your name? If you want to know more about her, click here, and more about her project E HAKU INOA: TO WEAVE A NAME, here!

Margherita Balbo Parrent

May 2013

"We really want to create a cultural bridge between Italy and Hawaii by bringing the best of authentic Italian film, fashion and cuisine" says Margherita Balbo Parrent, founding director of Cinema Italiano in Hawai‘i ( our conversation with Margherita and learn not only what sparked the idea for a Honolulu based Italian film festival, but also all that entails to run a successful film festival, from film distribution to research, negotiations, and film deliveries!

Fe Bailey

December 2012

Fe, born and raised in Venezuela, has embraced filmmaking professionally since a teenager. She pursued a degree in Liberal Arts, majoring in Film, and a master at the Escuela de Cine y Televisión in Caracas specializing in Directing. Fe has worked in awards winning Muchacho Solitario and Amor en Concreto. Moved to Hawai‘i in 2011, where she started working with 1013 Integrated and Kinetic Productions/Films. She has been involved in the production of The Untold Story: Japanese American Internment in Hawai’i, and currently directing an experimental project called Aloha Journals. You can learn more about Fe Bailey at

Laura Margulies

November 2012

Join us for our conversation with Laura Margulies! Laura hand animates using oil paints, watercolors and gouache to create lush moving paintings in motion. Her personal films have been screened worldwide in film festivals and her commissioned work has aired nationwide on television. Pacific Islanders in Communication, the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Reel Dance Moving Image Collection in Australia have acquired her film “Rolling Down Like Pele”. She has received awards from Cinedance Film Festival, Broadcast Design, Asifa East, Ann Arbor, and Creativity Magazine. Laura has also won grants from USA Artists Projects,New York University, the New York Foundation for the Arts, Dance Films Association, The PEW Charitable Funds as well as a Fellowship at UCLA.Besides creating her own films, Laura has worked as a designer and colorist at MTV Animation on the cult classics “The Head”, “Beavis and Butthead” and “Daria”. For over twenty years Laura has worked as a freelance animator, illustrator and artist. Laura has taught animation at Pratt, New York Film Academy, School of Visual Arts and was a full time faculty at New York University where she taught for thirteen years before returning to Hawaii in 2008. She recently exhibited an animated film and paintings in the “Artists of Hawaii” 2011 show at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. She continues to animate her newest film “Local Kine Academy Leader”.

Linda Dorn

March 2012

An Animator and Visual Artist, Linda created the Animation program at University of Hawaii. She developed the curriculum for Creative Academies which teaches animation to grades 2-12 in Hawaii. Her teaching career began at the California Institute of the Arts where she taught Advanced Animation and Life Drawing. She also taught at CSSSA an international summer school for the arts, and CAP, a outreach program for inner city kids throughout Los Angeles.Some of her professional credits include: Visual Development for Disney Feature and Hyperion Pictures, Character Layout on the first two seasons of Futurama, and Sequence Design, storyboarding and animation for July Film’s “My Little World”.She received her MFA in Film Directing and BFA in Character Animation from Calarts where she had the opportunity to mentee with the great Visual Development Artist E. Michael Mitchell. Before Calarts, Linda studied acting at the American Conservatory Theatre and has appeared in over twenty stage productions.

Pacific Islanders in Communications

January 2012

Hawai‘i Women in Filmmaking monthly gathering will be hosting Leanne Ferrer, Program Manager; Micky Huihui, Community Engagement Coordinator; and Amber McClure, Content Coordinator, at Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC).The mission of Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC) is to support, advance, and develop Pacific Island media content and talent that results in a deeper understanding of Pacific Island history, culture, and contemporary challenges. In keeping with the mission, PIC helps Pacific Islander stories reach national audiences through funding support for productions, training and education, broadcast services, and community outreach.In the past 15 years, PIC has awarded more than $2 million toward television productions; assisted more than 14 Pacific Islander producers in broadcasting their shows on national public television and provided training to more than 120 emerging media makers. To know more about PIC, click here.Join us to learn more from Leanne, Micky, and Amber about PIC, their programs and funding opportunities!

Hanna Polaski

September 2011

In 2004 Hanna completed her documentary film, The Children of Leningradsky. The Children of Leningradsky was nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Short Documentary subject in 2005.Hanna's additional works include, "My Warsaw - Look From The East" for ARTE TV and Channel 2 on Polish TV, where she worked as assistant to the director.Currently, Hanna is producing a film about Leon Chec, an artist and soldier in WWII and a follow up film to The Children of Leningradsky about the children living in Moscow's garbage dumps. In 2002 Hanna began her studies in the Cinematography division of The Cinematography School of Moscow. In 2004 Hanna completed work on her first independent short film on the life of legendary filmmaker Albert Maysles entitled, Al. Al first opened at the Documentary Film Festival in Krakow, Poland, where Albert Maysles received his Life-Time Achievement Award.

Lisette Flanary

August 2011

Lisette Flanary, as an independent filmmaker and a hula dancer, creates documentary films that celebrate a modern renaissance of the hula dance and Hawaiian culture. She is the writer, producer and director of Lehua Films and her first documentary, “AMERICAN ALOHA: Hula Beyond Hawai’i” received a CINE Golden Eagle Award when it aired on the critically acclaimed P.O.V. series on PBS in 2003.Her award-winning film, “Na Kamalei: The Men of Hula”, featuring legendary Hawaiian master hula teacher and entertainer, Robert Cazimero, screened in numerous film festivals and Lisette received the Hawai’i Filmmaker Award at the Hawai’i International Film Festival in 2006 and the Emerging Director Award at the New York Asian American International Film Festival in 2007.  The film also received Best Documentary and Audience Awards at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, and the San Diego Asian Film Festival.  “Na Kamalei:  The Men of Hula” was broadcast nationally on the 2007-2008 Independent Lens series on PBS in May 2008 and it was the winner of the Audience Award for the series. She recently directed the documentary feature, “ONE VOICE”, which follows the young song directors at the Kamehameha Schools Song Contest.  It was nominated for an Emerging Director Award at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific American Film Festival in 2010 and won Audience Awards for Best Documentary at the Hawai’i International Film Festival, the San Diego Asian Film Festival, and the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival in 2011.  “ONE VOICE” will be theatrically released in Hawai’i in August 2011 and broadcast nationally on PBS in 2012.Lisette is currently directing and producing a documentary entitled “Tokyo Hula” which explores the explosive popularity of hula in Japan.  It will be the final film in a trilogy of documentaries on the hula dance.  Research and development for the project was completed with funding support from the ITVS Diversity Development Fund, Pacific Islanders in Communications, and the Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant.  Lisette is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in Film and Television Production and received her MFA in Creative Writing at the New School University.  Having lived in New York City for over twenty years, Lisette is joining the faculty as an Assistant Professor at the Academy for Creative Media.

Elizabeth Pepin Silva & Shirley Thompson

June 2011

Elizabeth Pepin Silva is a filmmaker, photographer, writer, and surfer born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, and recently relocated to Oahu. For more than fourteen years she has been making films independently and for PBS and has won five Emmy Awards and several film festival awards for her television and documentary film work. Her numerous projects include “Slow the Flow,”“Coastal Clash,” and “One Winter Story.” Until moving to Hawaii, Elizabeth was a staff producer at KQED, the public television station in San Francisco, where most recently she was Series Producer of “Truly CA,” a documentary series featuring films about the Golden State. She was the station’s music licensing maven and archival research specialist, and she also oversaw the station’s New Proposals and the LINCS programs – helping guide and advise outside producers wishing to work with PBS and KQED. Elizabeth’s photographs have been shown in galleries and museums and featured in publications around the world. She has been the principal photographer for three women’s surf books and has written a book on the history of San Francisco’s Fillmore Jazz district, Harlem of the West, published by Chronicle Books in 2006. When not working on various projects, Elizabeth and her husband are obsessive surfers who were late for their own wedding because the waves were too good to get out. Elizabeth holds a Bachelors of Arts in Journalism from San Francisco State University.


Shirley Thompson is a seasoned PBS documentary film producer, writer and editor, best known for the PBS documentaries she has edited, including Pidgin: the Voice of Hawai‘i (2008), It’s Still Elementary (2007), Special Circumstances (2006), By Invitation Only (2002), Surfing for Life (2000), & It’s Elementary (1996).   She also writes, produces and edits promos and trailers which air on PBS, Documentary Channel, Sundance Channel, IFC and more. The films she has produced, written and edited have won Emmys, Peabodys and dozens of Best of Festival Awards, and they have screened in film festivals worldwide.  For 21 years she has collaborated with directors from New York to Dallas to San Francisco to Honolulu through her company Shirley Thompson Editorial. Shirley is a social media enthusiast and an old school storyteller, intrigued by the melding of new media and old media.  Along with her partner Stan Chang, she recently founded Chop Chop Media, a full-service production company that creates branded documentary-style videos for websites and social media pages, and short documentaries targeted for web-based distribution.  Chop Chop Media is currently in production with Aloha ‘Aina Cacao, a short documentary about Oahu cacao farmers and chocolate makers and cacao’s potential as a boon for small, local farmers.  She tweets @shirleythompson and @chopchopmedia.  She facebooks: and  And she blogs:

Marlene Booth & Heather Giugni

May 2011

Marlene Booth is an award-winning filmmaker, who has worked in film since 1975, both as an independent filmmaker for her own production company, Raphael Films, and for public television station WGBH-TV in Boston. She has produced and directed several major documentary films screened on PBS, at national and international film festivals, and in classrooms nationwide. Her major films include: Yidl in the Middle: Growing Up Jewish in Iowa (1999), When I Was 14: A Survivor Remembers,(1995), The Double Burden: Three Generations of Working Mothers, (1992), The Forward: From Immigrants to Americans, (1989), Orange Line Symphony, (1987), Raananah: A World of Our Own, (1981), and They Had a Dream: Brown v. Board of Education Twenty-five Years Later, (1980). Among Ms. Booth’s awards is the Cine Golden Eagle, an Emmy nomination, a Bronze Apple from the National Educational Film and Video Festival, and Outstanding Independent Film at the New England Film & Video Festival.


Heather Haunani Giugni carved a career path for herself as an independent filmmaker over 25 years ago.  Supported by few and questioned by many, she left a secure broadcast news position and joined a small group of passionate activist filmmakers who understood not just the power of change in visual storytelling but the empowering of community using tools that were not accessible to the mainstream public. From those early days, Heather has produced, directed and shot many projects.  These include: Enduring Pride: E Mau Ana Ka Haʻaheo – a series dedicated to stories about the Hawaiian community, Reflections of Lanaʻi an intimate look into a small-island community, Daniel K. Inouye: An American Story, and One Voice documenting a Kamehameha School tradition. Heather is dedicated to her community.  Using the tools of her industry, she has spent her career perpetuating the Hawaiian culture through video.  She is a founding member of The Pacific Islanders in Communications, an early board member of ʻOlelo Community Media, a former member of the Hawaii Television and Film Development Board and presently sits on the board of Bishop Museum. She also produces the annual Kamehameha Schools Song Contest for television and is one of the primary producers for the Merrie Monarch Festival broadcast. She is the owner/operator of Juniroa Productions Inc.,  a multimedia company creating projects from concept to completion and a consultant to Hawaiʻi’s first state of the art film and video archive.

Edgy Lee

April 2011

Edgy Lee is a filmmaker – producer, composer and author. Her film, THE HAWAIIANS – REFLECTING SPIRIT, premiered at the opening of the Smithsonian Institution Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C.  Other award-winning films include PAPAKOLEA, A STORY OF HAWAIIAN LAND (1998, Corporation for Public Broadcasting Silver Award, Independent Program); PANIOLO O HAWAI’I- COWBOYS OF THE FAR WEST (2000 CINE Golden Eagle; Chicago International Film & Video INTERCOM, Best Documentary History and Best Writing). WAIKIKI IN THE WAKE OF DREAMS garnered a 2001 New York Film & Video Festival Best Cinematography and Best Editing, and its Hawaii premiere also established the current “Sunset on the Beach” event on Waikiki Beach.In 2004 and 2005 Edgy produced two feature documentary films on methamphetamine in unprecedented prime time commercial-free simulcasts (eleven television stations across the State of Hawaii) and her company FilmWorks Pacific continues to produce short films on various social issues. Edgy also produced a CD with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in a compilation of rare traditional Tibetan music performed by artists living in exile, with narration by the late Rev. Abraham Akaka and the late Kumu John Lake.In 2007 she founded Pacific, a Hawaiian internet portal to the world, a nexus for arts, culture, and environmental news, entertainment, and educational programming from the Pacific region, streamed free to the pubic. Her television work includes the hit weekly series, “Local Ventures” now in its 3rd season; “Aloha Waikiki” currently broadcasting throughout Waikiki, “Artists of Hawaii”,  “Local Justice”, America’s first interactive TV courtroom series, “Shaka Shakedown”, and a prime time one hour special on education entitled, “How We Learn”.  Edgy is happy to be living back in her hometown, “The only place where you get three starches in a single meal”.

Ann Marie Nalani Kirk & Anne Misawa

March 2011

Ann Marie Nalani Kirk is an award winning filmmaker from Maunalua, O’ahu.  Her work has earned accolades nationally as well as locally.  Her resume includes two Emmy nominations, nine Telly Awards, three Aurora Awards, a Cine Award and the National Educational Media Award. Kirk’s productions include work in Pacific archeology; “Stories to Tell and Pacific Clues”, Pacific culture; “Te Pito o Te Henua,” Hawaiian culture;  Happy Birthday Tutu Ruth, Ke Ao Nei, Manomano Ka Ike,  Kulaiwi, Ka Makana Ike, Children’s Education and Music; Choices, Looks Good, Eazy Tunes, Eazy Kine and Voices and Wings.In 2010 Kirk was honored by the Hawai’i State Legislature for her media work and for her community work in the areas of public rights of way to the ocean, the preservation and protection of sacred cultural and historical sites in the islands, and the protection of ocean and open wilderness areas. In 2010 Kirk was also recognized by the Star-Advertiser as one of Ten Who Made A Difference for Hawai’i in 2010 for her work as co-organizer of the ‘Oiwi Film Festival at the Doris Duke Theatre.  The ‘Oiwi Film Festival was the first film festival ever highlighting the work of Native Hawaiians filmmakers in the role of Director and/or Producer.Kirk is currently continuing her work with and is in production for a series on Hawaiian language newspapers for the DOE titled “Ke ‘Imi No’i.” In 2011 Kirk will be screening her latest film , “Homealani” about the life of her grandfather, Oliver Homealani Kupau, throughout the islands.Kirk is a graduate of Sacred Hearts Academy.  She received her BA from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Film and Mythology and her Masters from the Center for Pacific Island Studies at Manoa. She is a Director/Producer for the Hawai’i State Department of Education and owns her own production company, Blue Crater Media (


Anne Misawa grew up in Hawaii.  Having graduated from University of Southern California’s Graduate Film and Television Program, she has worked internationally in various aspects of film production.  Her primary work is as a Director and as a Cinematographer.  Directorial credits include–WAKING MELE, (Sundance Film Festival, 2000), and EDEN’S CURVE, (Emerging Film Best Feature Award, NCGLFF, 2003).  Anne teaches cinematic production at the Academy for Creative Media, University of Hawai’i where she produced & directed the feature length documentary, STATE OF ALOHA, which has garnered various awards, (Halekulani Golden Orchid Award Nominee for Best Documentary at Hawaii International Film Festival, 2009).Her work as cinematographer include many award-winning films–TREELESS MOUNTAIN, (directed by So Yong Kim, Toronto International Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival, and New Directors/ New Films, 2008), TIME OUT, (directed by Xelinda Yancy, executive produced by John Singleton, HBO Award, 2004), SALT, (directed by Bradley-Rust Gray, Caligari Award for Innovative Filmmaking at Berlin International Film Festival, 2003), and LIV, (directed by Edoardo Ponti, executive produced by Robert Altman and Michaelangelo Antonioni, Venice International Film Festival, 1998).  Her work in TREELESS MOUNTAIN was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography in 2010.

Kimberlee Bassford

February 2011

Kimberlee Bassford is an independent documentary filmmaker born and raised in Hawai‘i with a passion for social issue, cultural and women’s stories.  Her recent film, PATSY MINK:  AHEAD OF THE MAJORITY (2008), explores the life of the late U.S. Representative Patsy Mink, the first woman of color in Congress and co-author of the landmark Title IX gender equity legislation.  The film won the Audience Award at the Hawai‘i International Film Festival and aired nationally on PBS.  She was the producer on two national PBS documentary series:  UNNATURAL CAUSES:  IS INEQUALITY MAKING US SICK? (2008), which investigates America’s health disparities, and THE MEANING OF FOOD (2005), which explores the social significance of food.  She had her directorial debut with CHEERLEADER (2003), a short documentary that follows a squad of young, bright-eyed California cheerleaders on its quest for the national cheerleading championships.  The film aired on HBO Family and won the Student Academy Award in Documentary and CINE Golden Eagle.   She is a graduate of Punahou School and holds a BA in psychology from Harvard University and a Masters in Journalism from the University of California Berkeley.  She owns Making Waves Films LLC, a documentary production company in Honolulu.

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