“Rise of the Wahine,” a documentary that tells the story of the University of Hawaii’s first women’s volleyball team, premiered at the Hawaii International Film Festival last month.
As voted for by the thousands that attended the festival, the documentary received the Audience Award for Best Feature Documentary.
“It was a real honor. We had a fabulous turnout at the premiere,” said Tiffany Taylor, producer of the the documentary, in a phone interview. “That was exceptional. First-time filmmakers, but it was incredible to make a film based on facts and have it resonate with the audience.”
The film chronicles the events leading up to and after the passing of Title IX, and the group of women that would be the first of its kind at UH as they battled and overcame women’s inequality issues during the 1970s.
“We launched from Hawaii, which we were thrilled to do. We were excited that people had such a heart for the film,” Taylor said.
Though “Rise of the Wahine” has been two years in the making, it has yet to be completed. Taylor said she and the other filmmakers are currently working on the final cut.
According to the film’s website, what they’re working toward is obtaining clearances on images in the film, purchasing new pieces of footage, creating a Hollywood trailer and getting insurance required for distribution, among several other things.
In addition, Taylor said they are working on changes based on feedback from industry reviewers and suggestions from audience members from the film festival.
Once it’s complete, the film will be entered in national and international film festivals.
Taylor added she hopes to have a limited theatrical release by early 2015 and to launch an educational tour around the Mainland sometime afterward.
“We’ve had interest from people who want to show this film in their schools and their communities,” she said. “We’ll see how it resonates with those outside of Hawaii. And then likely, as part of the theatrical release, bring it back to Hawaii. We’re really anticipating that return in 2015.”