Taylour Chang moderates the “Lessons from Women in Entertainment” panel at the Wahine Forum with Hawai‘i Women in Filmmaking members put on by Hawaii Business Magazine. From left to right: Taylour Chang, Heather Haunani Giugni (Filmmaker and Founder of ʻUlu ʻUlu Archives), Amanda Schull (Actress), Vera Zambonelli (Founder and Executive Director of Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking)

As HoMA’s Curator of Film and Performance and Director of the Doris Duke Theatre, it should come as no surprise that the art and craft of filmmaking is one of Taylour Chang’s many skills and passions.

This past weekend, Hawai‘i Women in Filmmaking‘s (HWF) Reel Wāhine of Hawai‘i premiered at the Hawai‘i International Film Festival (HIFF). The series of short films highlight Hawai‘i’s prominent female filmmakers and the triumphs and challenges in their experiences working in a male-dominated industry while navigating their place in the media. Chang contributed to the series by directing a short film highlighting filmmaker and educator Lisette Marie Flanery among five other female filmmakers.

Through her work in the community as a theatre director and a leader in the Hawai‘i Women in Filmmaking program, Chang is acutely aware of her kuleana as an advocate and safeguard for voices that are not always heard in mainstream media.

Here is Chang’s take on the progression of media and its implications for Hawai‘i:

What’s important to remind yourself as a filmmaker in Hawai‘i?
Taylour Chang:
That it is important to never forget one’s sense of place, especially when working with new developments in technology. It’s so easy for us to strive for external recognition from outside of Hawai‘i. But it’s so essential for us, rather than seeking approval from others, to remember first and foremost the stories that we tell of Hawai‘i are for Hawai‘i.

What do you hope will happen as a result of your involvement in Hawai‘i Women in Filmmaking and the Reel Wāhine of Hawai‘i?
We want people to recognize how important women filmmakers are and have continued to be in our community, and to show that we’re all supporting each other. We also want people to encourage young girls and young women to be fearless, to pick up that camera and tell their own stories. Seeing different generations of women filmmakers being successful and navigating the world in their own unique way is inspiring for the next generation of filmmakers and storytellers so that the momentum can continue to grow.

How do you apply this to your job as a Curator of Film and Performance at HoMA?
We work to be as thoughtful and intentional in our curatorial process, by supporting and elevating the voices of female-identifying filmmakers as well as gender non-conforming filmmakers. It’s essential to recognize that the voices of those who are underrepresented in mainstream media are, in fact, the voices that are most needed in our society. As a curator who works within a larger institution, we play a very significant role in supporting these stories in our media landscape, and we have a huge responsibility to not ignore the voices from our community. We have to engage in some way and it’s important for us to ask ourselves what role we play when it comes to showcasing art or the voices of artists who are addressing a controversial issue or issues that are perhaps polarizing. We can’t be afraid of supporting those artists or facilitating space for these important conversations.