“I can't say enough about this project – for Hawai'i, for women, for everyone,” Callies said. “This story is powerful, timely and inspiring. It's wonderful that it's finally being told before it slips from memory.”
Rise of the Wahine is the mostly untold story of a group of women from Hawai’i who battled and overcame women’s inequality issues in the 1970s – a time of great social change for women. The film chronicles events leading up to and after the passing of Title IX and is centered on the formation of the first female volleyball team at the University of Hawai’i in Honolulu, where Callies grew up.
A strong advocate for refugees worldwide, Callies works with the International Rescue Committee to help empower impoverished women and mothers so they and their daughters can have opportunities beyond their circumstances.
Dean Kaneshiro, director of Rise of the Wahine, said, “I’m incredibly honored to have Sarah’s endorsement for this documentary. As her advocacy work suggests, she has a big heart for the next generation of women. Similarly, Rise of the Wahine celebrates a group of underdogs who were significant in unlocking opportunities for female athletes across the nation. We don’t realize how different things were only 40 years ago.”
Speaking of Kaneshiro, Callies said, “Dean and I have known each other since high school (he cast me in my first movie!), and he's a superior storyteller. Believe me, this documentary will be something we can all be proud to have participated in.”
Kaneshiro has experience on both sides of the camera. As an actor, he has appeared in film (The Ultimate Gift) and television (most recently Hawaii 5-0 and Last Resort), and as a director, he has more than 10 years of history producing television shows, commercials and promotional content for non-profits.
“I caught the bug for filmmaking in middle school,” Kaneshiro said. “I cast Sarah as the lead actress in my monster movie in the summer of ’94. Even then, everyone knew she was an incredible performer, and we’ve all been over the moon for her success as an actress.”
Rise of the Wahine is currently raising funds, with an online Indiegogo campaign, to complete filming and post-production. Produced by EarthSuit Media, Tiffany Taylor and Ryan Tsuji, and directed by Kaneshiro, anticipated release is summer of 2014.
Tiffany Taylor, Producer