Teshya Alo is 16 years old and 125 pounds. On the judo and wrestling mats, she throws women twice her age and pounds heavier. And she beats boys. Now, she has her sights set on taking gold at both the judo and wrestling world championships. Follow Teshya on her journey as she faces successes and challenges on and off the mat and an entire family dedicated to a single dream.
- 60 Minutes
Teshya Alo is 16 years old and 125 pounds. But on the judo and wrestling mats, she throws women twice her age and pounds heavier. And she beats boys. Now, she has her sights set on taking gold at both the judo and wrestling world championships–and eventually the Olympics. But it won’t be easy.
She is younger and less experienced than her opponents. She trains from Hawai‘i and the cost to travel to mainland and international tournaments drains her family’s resources. She’s a student at a private school for Native Hawaiians. And she’s going through puberty.
Winning Girl follows the four-year journey of this part-Polynesian female teenage judo and wrestling phenomenon from Hawai‘i and her family, and in doing so tells the dynamic story of an elite athlete on her ascent, a girl facing the challenges of growing up and an entire family dedicated to a single dream.
Kimberlee Ke‘ala Bassford, Producer/Director/Writer
Kimberlee Ke‘ala Bassford was born and raised in Hawai‘i and has a passion for social issue, cultural and women’s stories. She produced, directed, wrote and co-edited Patsy Mink: Ahead of the Majority (2008), a one-hour documentary that explores the life of the late U.S. Representative Patsy Mink, the first woman of color in Congress and co-author of the landmark Title IX gender equity legislation.
The film premiered at the Hawai‘i International Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award for Favorite Documentary. It also won the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival; Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature at the DisOrient Asian American Film Festival; Spirit of Humanity Award at the San Joaquin International Film Festival; among other honors. It aired nationally on PBS in 2009 and has educational distribution through Women Make Movies.
She produced the short documentary Lotus Root: A Great Granddaughter's Journey (2010) about her Chinese great grandfather Chun Quon Yee Hop, a successful businessman and philanthropist and the founding member of her maternal family in Hawai‘i. She was also a producer on Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making us Sick? (2008), a four-hour national PBS documentary series and public engagement campaign that investigates the socioeconomic sources of America’s health disparities. She co-produced the series’ Pacific Islander story, which focused on how U.S. colonialism and militarism in the Marshall Islands affected the health of the Marshallese people living there and in Hawai‘i and Arkansas. The series won an Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Award for excellence in broadcast journalism and a Henry Hampton Award for excellence in film and digital media. She was also a producer on the three-hour national PBS documentary series The Meaning of Food (2005), which explores the social significance of food in the United States. She produced stories about the importance of taro or kalo in Native Hawaiian culture, the centrality of whaling to Makah Indians in the Pacific Northwest and the annual Mexican-American tradition of the tamalada.
She had her directorial debut with Cheerleader (2003), a short documentary that follows a squad of young, bright-eyed California cheerleaders on its quest for the national cheerleading championships. The film won the Student Academy Award in Documentary and CINE Golden Eagle and aired nationally on HBO Family. It also screened in film festivals in the U.S., Canada, Europe and New Zealand, including the Cannes Film Festival as part of the Kodak Emerging Filmmaker Showcase. The film has educational distribution through Documentary Educational Resources.
She is a graduate of Punahou School and holds a BA in psychology from Harvard University and a Masters in Journalism from the University of California Berkeley. She owns Making Waves Films LLC, a documentary production company in Honolulu.
Women and Hollywood: Why We Desperately Need More Girls On Screen for Both Our Sons and Daughters
Nominated for Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature-Length Documentary Film - Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
Hawaii International Film Festival - World Premiere, 2014
Ko ʻOlina Children's Film & Music Festival, 2015
Women's Film Festival - U.S. Mainland Premiere, 2015
CAAMFest - San Francisco Premiere, 2015
Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival - Los Angeles Premiere, 2015
Nevada Women's Film Festival, 2015
Director of Photography: Henry Mochida
Sound: John McFadden
International/Mainland Camera: David Hamilton, Tania Khalaf
Editor: Shirley Thompson
Music Composer: Mark Menza
Animator: Ashley Burke
Assistant Editors: Chesare Antonio-Reyes, Erin Lau