As anyone who grew up reading Cricket Magazine can tell you, the world is full of distinct cultures who each have their own folk tales and legends. There are likely thousands of great stories you haven’t heard. Do yourself a favor and seek out one next month when Kapaemahu comes to the Criterion Channel.
Kapaemahu is an animated short based on the ancient Hawaiian story of the mahu, described as “extraordinary beings of dual male and female spirit who brought the healing arts from Tahiti to Hawaii.” Before they left, they imbued four large stones with their powers, which still stand on Waikiki Beach today. The short is narrated in the Hawaiian dialect that would have been used during that time period, and set from the perspective of a small Hawaiian child.
The film was written, directed and produced by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, a Native Hawaiian teacher and filmmaker. Also aiding in the production were Emmy Award-winning filmmakers Joe Wilson and Dean Hamer, and Academy Award-nominated animation director Daniel Sousa. Kapaemahu has won several awards as it’s toured film festivals, and now you can see it for yourself. Check it out December 1 on The Criterion Channel.