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Kumu Hina

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Docudrama

Kumu Hina is the story of Hina Wong- Kalu, a transgender native Hawaiian teacher and cultural icon who brings to life Hawaii's long-held embrace of mahu — those who embody both male and female spirit, and were traditionally respected as caretakers, healers, and keepers of ancient traditions.

The film traces Hina's evolution from a timid high school boy to her position as a married woman and cultural director of a school that specializes in Hawaiian language, history and culture, located in one of Honolulu's grittier neighborhoods. As she contemplates who should lead the school's all-male hula troupe in their final performance, a surprising candidate presents herself: Ho'onani, a sixth grader who is proud to be seen as a mixture of boy and girl. As Kumu Hina helps Ho'onani negotiate the mixed reactions of her classmates and her family, the power of culture to instill a sense of pride and acceptance becomes clear.

The film also delves into Hina's pursuit of a dream of her own: a fulfilling romantic relationship. Her tumultuous marriage to a headstrong Tongan man offers insight into the universal challenge of loving somebody outside the norm and a deeper understanding of the true meaning of aloha – love, honor, and respect for all.