Two new LGBT documentary films are screening at the Palace Theater starting at 7 p.m. today.
“Next Goal Wins,” directed by Mike Brett and Steve Jamison and starring Jaiyah Saelua, Thomas Rongen and Nicky Salapu, gives the audience a unique insight into the Samoan “third gender,” the fa‘afafine. The film’s star, Jaiyah Saelua, a former University of Hawaii at Hilo student with ties to the community, will be on hand after tonight’s showing to talk story.
The film will show again Monday and Tuesday.
The second film, “Kumu Hina,” will screen at 7 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The film’s directors, Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson, and the star, Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, will talk story with the audience after Saturday night’s showing, with Hawaii International Film Festival Executive Director Robert Lambeth leading the discussion.
“Next Goal Wins,” set in 2001, is about the American Samoa soccer team, which has just suffered a humiliating, record-breaking 31-0 drubbing by Australia. A decade on, and having only scored twice in 17 years, the team faces the task of attempting qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Maverick Dutch coach Thomas Rongen is a man mad enough to take on the challenge. Rongen’s ailing squad contains the emotionally scarred goalkeeper who conceded 31 goals against Australia a decade earlier and is a member of Samoa’s “third gender,” the fa‘afafine, who lives 24/7 as a woman. A classic underdog tale, “Next Goal Wins” isn’t just for soccer fans, it features the world’s first transgender professional footballer. The film has delighted audiences and critics alike.
“Kumu Hina” follows the life of Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu. Imagine a world where a little boy can grow up to be the woman of his dreams, and a young girl can rise to become a leader of men. Welcome to Kumu Hina’s Hawaii.
During a momentous year in her life in modern Honolulu, Hina — a native Hawaiian mahu, or transgender, teacher — uses traditional culture to inspire a student to claim her place as leader of the school’s all-male hula troupe. But despite her success as a teacher, Hina longs for love and a committed relationship. Will her marriage to a headstrong Tongan man fulfill her dreams? More like a fiction film than a traditional documentary, “Kumu Hina” reveals a side of Hawaii rarely seen on film. An added bonus is the soundtrack, composed by Makana, who also plays the guitar in the film.
Tickets for any of the showings are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and students, and are available at the door or by credit card by calling 934-7010.