Kimberlee Bassford

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Kimberlee Bassford
Kimberlee Bassford.png
  • BA in psychology
  • Masters of Journalism
Alma mater
  • Harvard University
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Student Academy Award
  • CINE Golden Eagle Award
  • duPont-Columbia Award

Kimberlee Bassford is an independent documentary filmmaker from Honolulu, Hawai‘i. In 2005, she founded Making Waves Films LLC, which is a documentary production company.[1] She advocates for gender equity and diversity in films and television.[2][3] Most of her work focuses onAsian American women and young girls, and her films actively seek to correct underrepresentation of those groups in the media.[4]

She has won the Student Academy Award in Documentary and a CINE Golden Eagle Award. Her films have been screened at events such as the Cannes Film Festival, the[San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, and Gate City Women's Film Festival.[1]


Bassford has produced and directed the documentaries Winning Girl (2014, World Channel), Patsy Mink: Ahead of the Majority (2008, PBS) and Cheerleader (2003, HBO Family). She was a producer on episode 6, "Collateral Damage," in the PBS documentary series Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick? (2008). She was also producer for The Meaning of Food (2005), a three-part documentary series looking at the "social and cultural significance of food among Samoans in Tacoma, Washington; Native Hawaiians in Hawai'i; and among Native American Makah in Neah Bay, Washington."[5]

She established Making Waves Films LLC, a documentary production company, in 2005.[1]

In 2019, she was a director for the Reel Wāhine of Hawaiʻi series, which profiles various accomplished women filmmakers from Hawaiʻi.[6]

Bassford is currently an instructor of journalism at Windward Community College, where she is also advisor for the school's student newspaper, Ka 'Ohana.[7]

Cheerleader (2003)

Cheerleader is a short documentary about a squad of California cheerleaders attempting to compete in the national cheerleading championships. The film won the Student Academy Award in Documentary and was screened at the Cannes Film Festival as part of the Kodak Emerging Filmmaker Showcase.[8]

Patsy Mink: Ahead of the Majority (2008)

Bassford produced, directed, wrote and co-edited Patsy Mink: Ahead of the Majority, which won the Audience Award for Favorite Documentary at the Hawai'i International Film Festival. It also won a CINE Golden Eagle and received awards at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, DisOrient Asian American Film Festival, San Joaquin International Film Festival, Honolulu International Film Festival, San Francisco Women's Film Festival, and Gate City Women's Film Festival.[9]

The film is about Patsy Takemoto Mink, who became the first woman of color in the United States Congress in 1965. Mink co-authored Title IX, legislation that prohibits sex discrimination in higher education and athletics, in 1971. The film aired nationally on PBS in 2009.[10]

Lotus Root: A Great Granddaughter's Journey (2010)

This short documentary is about Bassford's great-grandfather, Chun Quon Yee Hop, who was a successful businessman and philanthropist and the first person from her maternal family to come to Hawai‘i.[10][11]

Winning Girl (2014)

Winning Girl tells the story of Teshya Alo, a teenage girl from Hawai‘i who is striving to be an Olympian in two male-dominated sports: wrestling and judo. The film explores Alo's competitions as well as her family life and coming of age. The documentary won the Special Jury Award for Documentary Feature at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.[12] Bassford remarked that "Teshya is a shining example of a post-Title IX girl who has benefited from all the opportunities of athletics and who defines for herself what a girl can and should be."[2] Bassford's target audience for the film is young girls.[12]

Personal life

Bassford is married with two children.[2] She has spoken about the challenges of being a working mother.[10][13] She revealed that, while she was making Winning Girl, she was pregnant and gave birth to her second child. As a result, she "ultimately outsourced quite a bit of work" and struggled "to attend screenings and other events."[13]

One of her major influences is the film Then There Were None by Elizabeth Kapu‘uwailani Lindsey.[4]

External Links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "About | Making Waves Films LLC | United States". Making Waves Films. Retrieved 2020-03-03.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Guest Post: Why We Desperately Need More Girls On Screen for Both Our Sons and Daughters". Retrieved 2020-03-04.
  3. "Talent, Creativity, and Passion: A Conversation with Filmmaker Kimberlee Bassford". Pacific New Media. 2012-08-07. Retrieved 2020-03-04.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Filmmaker Spotlight: Kimberlee Bassford | Asian American Film & TV". Retrieved 2020-03-04.
  5. "The Meaning of Food". Retrieved 2020-03-03.
  6. "Reel Wāhine of Hawaiʻi". Hawaii Women in Filmmaking. Retrieved 2020-03-04.
  7. "About | Making Waves Films LLC | United States". Making Waves Films. Retrieved 2020-03-03.
  8. "Producing the Documentary with Kimberlee Bassford". Retrieved 2020-03-03.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. "Patsy Mink: Ahead of the Majority". Retrieved 2020-03-04.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Kay, Robert (2014-11-18). "Q&A with Kimberlee Ke'ala Bassford". Hawaii Reporter. Retrieved 2020-03-04.
  11. "Lotus Root". Making Waves Films. Retrieved 2020-03-04.
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Q&A With "Winning Girl" Doc's Kimberlee Bassford". CAAM. 2015-05-07. Retrieved 2020-03-04.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. 13.0 13.1 "Family First -- 3 Moms Document the Paid Family Leave Movement". MomsRising. 2015-10-23. Retrieved 2020-03-04.

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