Works in the Production Pipeline
Women of the Sea (working title)
For thousands of years the inhabitants of the largest ocean in the world, the vast Moana Nui (Pacific Ocean) have been skilled seafarers, navigating without compass, sextant or GPS. They navigated observing the positioning of stars and constellations, noting changes in sea water taste and consistency, ocean currents, clouds, winds and weather, and following the paths of birds. In the 20th century, their sailing traditions and the vital indigenous knowledges embedded in these cultural practices were almost lost in many parts of Moana Nui, until revitalized by the concerted efforts of master practitioners determined to pass on their knowledge, and organizations like the Polynesian Voyaging Society committed to the perpetuation of this most foundational of Pacific Island heritage.
Pwo Navigator and Kupuna (elder) Nainoa Thompson, once himself a recipient of navigational tutelage, is keenly aware of how important it is to pass this responsibility on to the next generation. He knows time is running out – who will carry on this tradition?
Women of the Sea (working title), a one hour documentary, will focus on two women wayfinders – navigator Kaʻiulani Murphy and captain Pomai Bertelmann – and how they sailed Hokuleʻa, the storied double-hulled canoe, and its crew members from Tahiti to Hawaiʻi, remaking history and revitalizing a future where indigenous knowledges and world views must again play a central role in our understanding of and ability to live in harmony with our planet home.
How does meaningful change happen? When do we get to tell our own stories? And what is the role of media makers in activating change? Documenting Activism, a 30 minute half-hour documentary featuring rare archival footage, tells the story of the important role of activists in Hawai’i – those who take up the camera, the pen or the bull horn. Not only do they document protests and social upheaval but in doing so work to transform the very narratives that erased native voices.
Documenting Activism, begins in the mid 1970s with a revered American broadcast journalist who writes a false narrative of Hawaiʻiʻs native people. It is the time of awakening for the kanaka maoli. Land , water and native rights are on the minds of the activists. From stopping the bombing of the Hawai’i island of Kahoʻolawe by the US military to the regeneration of Native Hawaiian language and cultural practices, while advocating for political self-determination and sovereignty over the stolen Hawaiian lands that now make up the State of Hawai’i, these activists made a difference.