We are honored to provide a special for-your-consideration (aka FYC) screening of KAPAEMAHU, which won the HIFF40 Made in Hawai‘i Award for Best Animated Film, and is currently short listed for Academy Award consideration in the Best Animated Short category.
In the long and storied history of the Academy Awards, Hollywood and the entertainment industry have relied on Hawai‘i as an exotic locale and backdrop for many of its most popular films. Yet, no Hawaiian artist or film made by Hawai‘i creatives has ever won or even received an award nomination. HIFF is playing an important role in reversing that trend by providing a showcase for films made in, by and about Hawaiians, including this important work by the team behind KUMU HINA.
Below is the HIFF40 Made in Hawai‘i Jury Statement about KAPAEMAHU:
“A timely and beautiful piece woven together in the Hawaiian dialect of ‘Olelo Ni‘ihau, KAPAEMAHU invokes the breath of ancestors in bringing to life a long forgotten legend which serves to remind us that magic abounds in places often overlooked.”
KAPAEMAHU tells the long forgotten story of four mahu, extraordinary beings of dual male and female spirit who brought the healing arts from Tahiti to Hawaii. Beloved by the people for their gentle ways and miraculous cures, they imbued four giant boulders with their powers. Although the stones still stand on Waikiki Beach, the true story behind them has been hidden – until now. Narrated in an ancient Hawaiian dialect, and seen through the eyes of a curious child, the story of Kapaemahu brings to life this powerful legend in richly hand-drawn and 2-D animation.
The film is written, directed and produced by Native Hawaiian teacher and filmmaker Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Emmy Award-winning filmmakers Joe Wilson and Dean Hamer, and Academy Award-nominated animation director Daniel Sousa. A winner at numerous international film festivals including the Tribeca Film Festival, Animayo International Film Festival, Atlanta Film Festival, Hiroshima International Animation Festival and Outfest Film Festival, Kapaemahu is a reminder of the rich cultures and diverse identities that deserve recognition and representation through storytelling.