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‘Kumu Hina’ Film Looks at Tradition in Modern Hawaii

Alu Like Native Hawaiian Library Molokai News Release

It’s been a long-time coming, but two films that bring Hawaiian culture to life in powerful new ways are finally going to screen on Molokai.

“Kumu Hina” is a film produced by Pacific Islanders in Communications about the struggle to maintain traditional culture and values within the Westernized society of modern Hawaii.  The film’s entertaining stories are told through the perspective of Hina Wong-Kalu, a remarkable native Hawaiian mahu, or transgender, teacher who inspires a young girl to claim her place as leader of the school’s all-boy hula troupe as she searches for love and a fulfilling romantic relationship in her own life.

As Hina’s journey unfolds, her Hawaiian roots and values give her the strength and wisdom to persevere, offering viewers a glimpse of island life rarely seen on screen and a deeper understanding of the true meaning of aloha: love, honor and respect for all.

On Monday, Oct. 26, there will be a screening of “Kumu Hina” as part of the Hale Ahupua`a o Molokai Open House celebration hosted by Alu Like Native Hawaiian Library, Sustainable Molokai, Freedom Schools, AKAKU, and Ahupua`a o Molokai.  Located at 2 Pua Kukui, Ho`olehua, the open house starts at 5 p.m., and the film screening follows at 7 p.m.  Both events are free and open to the public, and all are welcome!

Following the screening, the film’s Emmy-winning directors, Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson, will join Kumu Hina and their Ahupua`a hosts to talk story with the audience.

Then, on Wednesday, Oct. 28 at 5 p.m., the Molokai Public Library will host a free screening of “A Place In The Middle,” a new, youth-focused version of “Kumu Hina” that is part of a culturally-centered bullying prevention campaign.

Sponsored by the Hawaii State Public Library System, this event is among eight screenings across the islands aimed at helping to bring communities together to build safe and inclusive schools for all students.  Kumu Hina and the directors will be on-hand after screening the short (24 min.) film to talk story and share free educational resources — including a DVD and teaching guide — with educators and other participants interested in using them in their community work.

This educational campaign is supported by Pacific Islanders in Communications, Hawaii People’s Fund, Ford Foundation, and PBS Learning Media.

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