Both Kumu Hina, the full-length documentary, and a shorter kid-friendly version, A Place in the Middle, are tools created by the filmmakers for sparking conversation on the intersections between culture, gender, and identity.
By depicting a culture that embraces rather then rejects those who embody both male and female spirit, Kumu Hina shows what diversity can bring to the entire community, and the importance of understanding and preserving indigenous culture. The film is considered suitable and useful for a variety of community and academic settings, including classes on gender, women’s studies, ethnic and cultural studies, sexuality, and health.
The accompanying Discussion Guide is designed as a tool to facilitate dialogue and increase understanding of the multiple issues raised by the film.
A Place in the Middle
A Place in the Middle is the story of Hoʻonani, Kumu Hinaʻs charismatic young student who dreams of leading the boys-only hula group at their school. Told from her own point of view, with the help of colorful animation, this short kid-friendly version of Kumu Hina is a way to get students thinking and talking about the values of diversity and inclusion, the strengths they inherit from their cultural heritage, and their own power to create a school climate of respect and honor for all.
The complete 25 minute video is available online for free, and aimed at students in grades 4-12 and higher education, as well as family and community settings.
The Place in the Middle Classroom Discussion Guide includes background information about Hawaii, discussion questions, lessons, and professional development plans, and aligns with learning standards including Common Core State Standards and National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies.