‘Aikane’ Short Animation by Dan Sousa, Dean Hamer & Joe Wilson: Queer Indigenous Feeling

The creative quartet of Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson, Dan Sousa, and Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu create films that consistently tell an indigenous experience in precise animated terms. In their previous effort, ‘Kapaemahu’, the Hawaiian indigenous past was revealed in the commercialized present (more about the film). In the new short animation, the queer-themed ‘Aikāne’ (the term meaning intimate friend of the same sex) a queer romance is developed between two men in the very distant past, full of colonial implications. The film has now become Oscar-qualified, after it won the Animated Shorts Jury Award, at the 2023 New Hampshire Film Festival.


That’s a wrap! New Hampshire’s largest film festival has announced the recipients of the New Hampshire Film Festival’s (NHFF) prestigious awards after four packed days of screenings, panels, and parties. This is the second year the NHFF is an Academy Awards qualifying festival for short films, making live action and animated shorts jury award recipients eligible to submit for Oscar consideration. NHFF Executive Director Nicole Gregg says, “We are so energized that once again, the New Hampshire Film Festival distinguished itself as an important opportunity for filmmakers who come from near and far, and for audiences, who not only get to see the films, but are encouraged to interact with directors, writers, producers, actors, and cinematographers.”

Kapaemahu Selected for Great Reads from Great Places

The Great Reads authors for kids from Western Region I discuss their books and why they write for young people. Great Reads from Great Places is a project of the Library of Congress Center for the Book. Each year, the 56 Affiliated Centers for the Book choose a book for kids and one for adults that represents their states’ or territories’ literary heritage. In this video, Kapaemahu authors Dean Hamer & Joe Wilson discuss their work.

First Impression: Kapaemahu

“When I was planning to write a “first impression” style article about an LGBTQ+ inclusive children’s book, my first instinct was to talk about what the book would have taught me when I was young. I did not expect to pick up a book that would teach me, a queer adult, about new aspects of queerness. That changed when I first opened Kapaemahu.” – Ethan Seavey


Join us in the first floor reading room of Hawaii State Library for a book discussion with this year’s Great Reads from Great Places selectees, chosen by the Hawai‘i Center for the Book to represent Hawai‘i at the 2023 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. in August. This year’s selected titles are Kapaemahu by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson and Island Wisdom by Kainoa Daines and Annie Daly. Authors Hina Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, and Kainoa Daines will be attending to discuss their titles. The featured books will be available for purchase at the event.


Aloha! In this History UnErased episode, you will hear the story of The Healer Stones of Kapaemahu, learn about their erasure in the age of American imperialism, as well as current efforts to restore the monument to the healer stones – and the story of the mahu – to their rightful place in Hawaiian history. This History UnErased podcast is funded by the New York City Council. It was developed by History UnErased and produced and edited by Dinah Mack; Kathleen Barker; and Deb Fowler. Tremendous thanks to Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson for their generous support of this podcast episode. Both Kapaemahu and Healer Stones of Kapaemahu are directed by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer & Joe Wilson, and Kanaka Pakipika.

Exclusive: ‘Kapaemahu’ Filmmakers Debut LGBTQ Romantic Adventure ‘Aikāne’

The team behind the acclaimed animated short Kapaemahu is debuting a new film inspired by Hawaiian culture, titled Aikāne — an ancient term for intimate same-sex friends that has taken on new relevance with the worldwide resurgence of anti-LGBTQ hostility. The film will premiere at the Animayo and Seattle International Film Festivals in May, followed by a series of screenings during Pride Month in June.

Hawai’i Congresswoman Jill Tokuda Shares Legend of Kapaemahu on House Floor

While celebrating O’ahu native Sasha Colby – winner of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ – on House floor, Rep. Jill Tokuda alludes to the history of Kapaeumahu: “In ancient Hawaiian days, Mahu were considered extraordinary individuals of male and female spirit who brought their healing powers to O’ahu from Tahiti,” Tokuda said. “Today, trans people are among the most revered members in the Hawaiian community.”

“Amidst ongoing attacks on our LGBTQ+ rights that particularly target trans people and drag queens, Sasha’s win is not only well deserved, it gives us all hope,” she added.