STANDING ABOVE THE CLOUDS
DIRECTOR: Jalena Keane-Lee
When the world’s largest telescope is set to be built on their sacred mountain, Mauna Kea, three Native Hawaiian families dedicate their lives to defending it. Through the lens of mothers and daughters, Standing Above the Clouds explores intergenerational healing and the social and emotional labor of retaining ancient ceremonies while putting your body on the line to protect a sacred mountain.
Standing Above the Clouds follows the largest political movement in modern Hawaiian history, and the indigenous women leaders who have successfully sustained it since 2010. At the center of the global movement are Pua Case and her two daughters Hāwane Rios and Kapulei Flores. They are joined by Mehana Kihoi and Leina’ala Sleightholm who have also changed their families’ lives by joining the movement. All three families have put their bodies on the line, faced arrest standing off with police, and testified as key petitioners suing the State of Hawaiʻi to prevent the building of the world’s largest telescope on their sacred mountain.
The actions against the telescope act as a backdrop for our story about each woman coming into her own strength and voice. As each family navigates their hardships, they provide strength and boundless aloha for one another, allowing for healing as individuals and as a collective. Mauna Kea itself is personified as the great unifier among Hawaiians. We witness decolonization in action as the women create systems of care to hold each other as they face challenging times. With the fate of the telescope still to be decided, the film shows that victory is in the perseverance of a movement and the intergenerational healing found in this sisterhood.
|START OF PRODUCTION:||June 2017|
|SHOOTING FORMAT:||HD 4k|
|SHOOTING LOCATIONS:||Big Island, Hawai’i, New York|
|PRODUCTION COMPANY:||Breaktide Productions / Multitude Films|
|PRODUCTION COUNTRY:||Hawaiian Kingdom|
|CONFIRMED PARTNERS:||Nia Tero, Fork Films, Field of Vision, Pacific Islanders in Communication, American Stories Fund Sponsored by Points North and CNN Films, The Otto and Marianne Wolman Foundation, and Youth FX|
|CURRENT PROJECT STATUS:||We are currently in post production and working towards a 2023 premiere.|