HONOLULU, HI, November 19, 2013—Hawaiian filmmaker Dean Kaneshiro is one of the producers for Rise of the Wahine, a historical sports documentary chronicling the birth of the first Rainbow Wahine volleyball team during a time of great change for women’s equality. Rise of the Wahine is currently in production and set to be released in 2014.
Set in the 1970’s, Rise of the Wahine is the mostly untold story of a group of women from Hawaii who battled women’s inequality issues, leading up to and after the passing of Title IX. These women included Title IX Co-Author Patsy Mink and the University of Hawaii’s first Women’s Athletic Director, Dr. Donnis Thompson.
Dean Kaneshiro, Director/Producer, was the catalyst for the project, “I grew up in Honolulu, and this incredible story took place in my own backyard—I had no idea. From this tiny island came women who played a significant role in unlocking the door of equality in female athletics and then busting it open for generations to come. They just wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”
Founder of EarthSuit Media, Dean has experience on both sides of the camera. As an actor, he has appeared in both film ("The Ultimate Gift") and television (most recently "Hawaii 5-0" and "Last Resort"). As a director, Dean has a 10-year history producing television shows, commercials, and promotional content for non-profits.
Associate Producer Ryan Tsuji is a morning anchor / reporter for KITV News in Honolulu. Born and raised in Hilo, HI, he worked with the UH Rainbow Wahine volleyball team as an assistant coach under Dave Shoji for eight seasons. He then began his broadcasting carrier as a commentator for UH volleyball matches.
“This volleyball team is one of the most beloved sports teams in Hawaiian history,” Ryan says. “I had no idea that 40 years ago the players had to make so many sacrifices to play—just because they were women.”
Rise of the Wahine is currently raising funds to complete filming and post. Produced by EarthSuit Media and Angel & Company, and directed by Dean Kaneshiro, anticipated premiere is 2014.
Tiffany Taylor, Producer