The Healer Stones of Kapaemahu
- Dean Hamer
- Joe Wilson
- Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu
- Full-Length Film
- Subject Matter
- Culture, LGBTQ
On Honolulu's famous Waikiki Beach stand four large stones that represent a Hawaiian tradition of healing and gender diversity that is all but unknown to the millions of locals and tourists passing by. According to legend, the stones are a tribute to four mahu - people of dual male and female spirit - who brought the healing arts from Tahiti to Hawaii and used their spiritual power to cure disease. Although the stones have survived for centuries, the true story behind them has been suppressed and the role of mahu erased.
The Healer Stones of Kapaemahu will revive the full history of the stones within the context of the Pacific Islands' inclusive approach to gender diversity and make it accessible to a broad national audience through a half-hour documentary for public television. The legend itself will be portrayed through vivid animation, which will be combined with expert interviews, archival film, photos and newly discovered primary sources to shed light on how, when, and why the legend was altered and the importance of protecting and preserving sacred spaces and traditional knowledge.
Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Writer/Narrator/Producer
Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu is a Native Hawaiian teacher, culturalpractitioner and community leader with a long history of perpetuating Kanaka Maoli language, philosophy and traditions and promoting cross-cultural work throughout the Pacific Islands. She was born onO‘ahu and educated at Kamehameha Schools and the University of Hawai‘i, from which she received a B.A. in education in 1994. She was a founding member and outreach director of Kulia Na Mamo, a Native Hawaiian transgender health organization, and served 13 years as the Cultural Director at Hālau Lōkahi, a public charter school dedicated to using Native Hawaiian culture, history, and education as tools for developing and empowering the next generation of Hawaiian scholars. She is currently a community advocate for the State Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Gubernatorially-appointed Chair of the O'ahu Island Burial Council. She has also long served as an expert on cultural affairs for state and national media including CNN, Smithsonian Magazine, Pacific Islanders in Communications, Hawaii News Now, and PBS Hawaii.
Wong-Kalu was a protagonist and cultural advisor for the award winning PBS documentary Kumu Hina and story creator for A Place in the Middle, and received the Elison S. Onizuka Human Rights Memorial Award from the National Education Association and a White House Champion of Change Award for the films' groundbreaking educational campaigns. Recently she wrote and produced the AFI Docs-and Los Angeles Film Festival-premiering short film LADY EVA and sequel feature documentary LEITIS IN WAITING about the transgender experience in Tonga.
Dean Hamer, Director/Editor/Producer
Dean Hamer is an Emmy Award winning filmmaker and New York Times Book of the Year author with a long history in communicating complex and controversial ideas to diverse publics. Together with Qwaves partner Joe Wilson, he has directed and produced three feature documentaries for American public television, as well as numerous short pieces that have been used as outreach and educational tools by a range of community and educational organizations.
OUT IN THE SILENCE, the first feature film from Qwaves, premiered at the Human Rights Watch International Film festival at Lincoln Center, and with support from the Sundance Documentary Film program and Fledgling Fund has been widely distributed through PBS, multiple digital portals, and over 1000 community screenings. In 2011, Hamer and Wilson moved to O'ahu, Hawai'i to begin work on a series of films about Pacific islander voices and issues. Their feature documentary Kumu Hina, supported by Pacific Islanders in Communications, ITVS and the Ford Foundation, won the Audience Award for its national PBS broadcast on Independent Lens and the GLAAD Media Award. The accompanying kid-friendly educational film, A Place in the Middle, had its international premiere at the Berlinale and has been widely distributed through PBS Learning Media. Their second feature documentary co-produced with Pacific Islanders in Communications, LEITIS IN WAITING, was completed recently and is currently on the festival circuit.
In addition to his ﬁlm work, Hamer is the author of several best-selling nonﬁction books including The Science of Desire and The God Gene, has been a consultant for the BBC and Discovery channels, and his research has been featured in Time, Newsweek, and Science magazines and on Frontline and Oprah.
Joe Wilson, Director/Director of Photography/Producer
Joe Wilson got involved in documentary filmmaking through his social activism on human rights issues. Frustrated by the limitations of traditional organizing and advocacy, he picked up a camera with hopes of reaching broader audiences with stories that would inform and compel people to act.
Together with Qwaves co-founder Dean Hamer, his films on controversial and often ignored human rights issues have won jury and audience awards and official selection at more than 100 film festivals around the country and the world, been viewed by millions on PBS and international broadcasts, and received widespread attention for their role in promoting social change.
In 2004, Wilson returned to his small hometown of Oil City, Pennsylvania, to direct and produce the Emmy Award-winning PBS documentary OUT IN THE SILENCE. Through more than 1000 grassroots screenings across the country, this film has become part of a national movement to open dialogue, counter school bullying, and support fairness and equality for all in small towns and rural communities.
Hamer and Wilson moved to the north shore of O'ahu, Hawai'i in 2011 to produce Kumu Hina,the moving story of a transgender native Hawaiian cultural icon who is teaching her student and community the true meaning of aloha, and accompanying educational film A Place in the Middle. These are being used as tools for an extensive educational and outreach campaign, supported by PBS LearningMedia and the Ford Foundation, that has included distribution to every school and public library in Hawai and reached over 1 million children worldwide. Their recent short film LADY EVA and featuredocumentary LEITIS IN WAITING, about transgender life in the Kingdom of Tonga, are now appearing on the festival circuit.
Daniel Sousa, Animator
Daniel Sousa is an Academy Award-nominated animator who uses the themes embedded in myths and folktales to examine archetypes of human nature and the inner struggles between our intellects and our unconscious drives. His short films FERAL and FABLE both premiered at Sundance and won awards at film festivals around the world. In addition to his independent projects, Sousa has worked as a director and animator with Cartoon Network and Olive Jar Studios, and taught at the Rhode Island School of Design, Harvard University, The Museum School, The Art Institute of Boston and the Animation Workshop in Denmark. He recently completed animating several native legends for the upcoming four-part PBS special NATIVE AMERICA, which weaves history and science with living indigenous traditions.