Jalena Keane-Lee is a social justice filmmaker and the spring 2018 Sally Burns Shenkman Woman Filmmaker Fellow. Her work has addressed issues such as indigenous land rights, destigmatizing menstruation, the importance of campus activism, and the meaning of consent. Jalena co-founded Breaktide Productions, a production company run by women of color dedicated to democratizing filmmaking by making content that elevates underrepresented voices on camera and behind the scenes. Her first documentary short, The Construct: Female Laborers and the Fight for Equality follows Burmese female laborers as they physically develop a country that is rapidly changing. Her recent film Standing Above the Clouds, follows Native Hawaiian mother-daughter activists as they stand to protect their sacred mountain Mauna Kea from the building of the world’s largest telescope. Standing Above the Clouds is available to view online as part of the Cosmic Cine Film Festival until April 22nd. Starting April 22, it will also be included in the HIFF@HOME series.

What’s inspiring you during quarantine?
The HIFF at Home series, Chani Nicholas the astrologer, and videos of Aunty Pua Case organizing while following social distancing guidelines are all keeping me inspired during this time. I’ve been using this time to go through all of our feature footage for Standing Above the Clouds. All of our footage from daily life on the Mauna is that much more meaningful now. I was looking through my footage of Hāwane Rios doing her makeup in her tent the other day and was reminded of how the Kiaʻi were able to keep up some sort of routine while living on the mauna, so I can definitely do it at home.

Watch Standing Above the Clouds online here.

Keep your eyes out for more HoMA Artist Spotlights as we track how artists in our community are navigating and re-imagining our ever-changing world.

Taylour Chang
Curator, Film and Performance
April 13, 2020