Imagine a world where a little boy can grow up to be the woman of his dreams, and a young girl can rise to become a leader among men. Welcome to Kumu Hina‘s Hawai’i. At a time when gender non-conforming people are marginalized and mistreated the world over, Kumu Hina presents an intimate portrait of a proud and confident mahu (transgender) teacher who is passing on ancient Hawaiian culture and traditions to her students as she searches for love and a fulfilling romantic relationship in her own life. Over the course of a momentous year, Hina Wong-Kalu inspires a young girl to claim her place as leader of a boys’ hula troupe, leads a rousing year-end performance at their inner city public charter school, and takes a chance when she marries an unpredictable young man from Tonga who finds it difficult to adjust to life in modern Honolulu. Physically large, and covered in striking tattoos, Hinaleimoana is easily identifiable to most as a transgender Polynesian woman. But rather than being cast as an outsider, she is an important and respected person throughout Hawai‘i. As her arduous journey unfolds, her Hawaiian roots and values give her the strength and wisdom to persevere, offering a powerful documentary glimpse of the struggle to maintain Pacific Islander culture and values within the Westernized society of modern day Hawai’i, and an understanding of the true meaning of aloha—unconditional love and respect for all.
Fiji/U.S.A. 2013 – Digital Projection – 74 Minutes
Directors, Screenplay, Producers: Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson
Cast: Haemaccelo Kalu, Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Ho’onani Kamai
Print Courtesy: Dean Hamer