Kumu Hina

Local Film Earns Nomination For ‘Gay Oscar’ -- Honolulu Civil Beat

Featured last year on PBS and in some of the world’s best film festivals, Kumu Hina is now up for best documentary at the GLAAD Media Awards.

by Todd Simmons - January 29, 2016:

Kumu Hina, an acclaimed documentary about a Honolulu transgender teacher, her halau, a particularly remarkable student and mahu identity, has been nominated for a prestigious GLAAD Media Award, often referred to as the Oscar for LGBT film and television.

It’s the latest in a series of high-profile recognitions for the 2014 feature, which is nominated in the Best Documentary category for the annual awards presented by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. It was featured in 2015 as part of PBS’s award-winning Independent Lens series and in some of the world’s most prestigious film festivals, including Berlin, Toronto, Beijing and Budapest.

Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson of Honolulu, whose previous films Out in the Silence and Otros Amores have earned prominence and acclaim including an Emmy Award and feature treatment on PBS, are the first Hawaii filmmakers to have a project nominated for a GLAAD Media Award.

Kumu Hina, right, instructs members of her halau or hula school. Kumu Hina is both a teacher and a mahu, or transgender woman.

Kumu Hina, right, instructs members of her halau or hula school. Kumu Hina is both a teacher and a mahu, or transgender woman.

In the documentary category, Kumu Hina is up against four other nominees, including a biopic on 1950s-60s sex symbol Tab Hunter and two men who in 1975 became one of the first same-sex couples in the world to legally marry. Wilson said it’s particularly noteworthy that Kumu Hina was nominated in a breakout year for transgender issues around the world.

“In a year when a record number of nominees included transgender people or characters, Kumu Hina introduced the world to the Hawaiian philosophy of honoring and respecting mahu, those who embody both male and female spirit,” Wilson said. “The GLAAD nod is symbolic of the growing recognition of all that Hawaii and Hawaiian culture have to offer beyond the tourist brochures.”

In fact, 75 of the 147 nominees this year include transgender characters or issues, according to GLAAD, which released the nominations earlier this week.

Other top film and television titles up for recognition at GLAAD’s 27th annual awards ceremony scheduled for April 2 in Beverly Hills and May 14 in New York include The Danish Girl, Carol, Orange Is The New Black, Transparent, Modern Family, How To Get Away With Murder and Empire.

Back to Listing

Leave a comment