Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu

Cultural leader | Director | Producer | Narrator

Kumu Hina is a Native Hawaiian teacher, cultural practitioner and filmmaker who uses digital media to protect and perpetuate indigenous languages and traditions. She began her film work as a protagonist and educational advisor for the award winning films Kumu Hina and A Place in the Middle, and received a National Education Association Human Rights Award, Native Hawaiian Educator of the year and White House Champion of Change for the groundbreaking impact campaigns associated with those films. Continuing her journey to the other side of the lens, Kumu Hina produced the award-winning short Lady Eva and PBS feature documentary Leitis in Waiting about her transgender sisters in the Kingdom of Tonga.  Kapaemahu is her first film in Olelo Niihau, in which she is fluent.  Hina is also a transgender health advocate, burial council chair, candidate for the Board of Trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and composer of “Ku Haaheo E Kuu Hawaii,” the internationally known anthem for the protection of Mauna Kea.


Dean Hamer

Researcher | Director | Producer | Editor

Dean Hamer is a New York Times Book of the Year author, National Institutes of Health scientist, and Emmy and GLAAD Media award-winning filmmaker whose work has played an important role in current understandings of human sexuality and gender.    He formed Kanaka Pakipika with partner Joe Wilson and prior film subject Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu to produce an insightful series of films that have opened the eyes of the worlds to the lessons to be learned from Polynesia’s unique approach to diversity and inclusion.  He is currently working on a book and museum exhibition based on Kapaemahu. Hamer is also 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 | Producer | Impact strategist

Joe Wilson is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker dedicated to telling stories that emanate from the voices of those on the outside.   His feature and short films combine live action with animation to explore pressing social issues through innovative storytelling.  Wilson’s work has screened and won awards at festivals around the world including Berlin, Toronto and Tribeca, been viewed by millions of viewers on PBS, Netflix, ARTE and other international broadcasts, and has been supported by Sundance, Ford and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Kapaemahu is his fifth film in collaboration with Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu. Previously, Wilson served as Director of the Human Rights at the Public Welfare Foundation and a Producer of Pacifica Radio’s Democracy Now.


Kaumakiwa Kanakaole

Chant | Mele

Chant composer and performer Kaumakaiwa Kanaka‘ole is the great grandchild of Edith Kanaka‘ole, who was one of the seminal figures of the Hawaiian Renaissance which helped bring Hawaiian culture back into the central life of the Islands. Since birth, Kaumakaiwa has dedicated her life to her illustrious family’s practice and passion – hula and Hawaiian culture. A charismatic dancer and singer, with an impressive vocal range from tenor chant to Hawaiian falsetto singing, she is a five-time Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award-winner with 3 solo CDs to her name. Her vocal performances are an outgrowth of the Hawaiian art of chant and songwriting, with roots in rhythms and metaphors of hula. A modern transgender Hawaiian (mahu wahine), Kaumakaiwa is a vibrant keeper of culture and an authentic innovator who engages indigenous thought to address today’s issues through music, chant, and sharing of spirit.

DeSoto Brown

Historian | Archivist | Bishop Museum Collections Manager

Curious, inquisitive, a seeker of information and a reader of anything and everything, DeSoto Brown might have become a professor or a detective. Lucky for the historical wealth of Hawai‘i, he became the archivist and collections manager for the Bishop Museum.  His great-great grandfather, John Papa Ii , was a 19th-century writer and Hawaiian historian who served as adviser to Hawaii kings Kamehameha III, IV and V.  Brown’s parents were also history buffs who sparked his curiosity in the past.  He has a wide range of interests, and has co-curated numerous exhibitions including the recent “Kaula Piko: The Source of Strings” and “Mai Kinohi Mai: Surfing in Hawaii.”

Daniel Sousa

Animator | Artistic Director

Daniel Sousa is an Academy Award-nominated animation director who uses the themes embedded in myths and legends to examine archetypes of human nature.  Born on Cape Verde, he approaches filmmaking from a painter’s perspective, focusing on the fragility of fleeting moments, memories and perceptions.  His short films include Feral, which was supported by a Creative Capital Foundation grant and premiered at Sundance, and Fable, which won awards at festivals around the world.  He recently completed animating several native legends for the four-part PBS special Native America, which weaves history and science with living indigenous traditions.  Sousa has taught at the Rhode Island School of Design, Harvard University, The Museum School, The Art Institute of Boston and the Animation Workshop in Denmark.