Winning Girl

Teshya Alo is 16 years old and 125 pounds. But on the judo and wrestling mats, she throws women twice her age and pounds heavier. And she beats boys. Now, she has her sights set on taking gold at both the judo and wrestling world championships–and eventually the Olympics. But it won’t be easy.

She is younger and less experienced than her opponents. She trains from Hawai‘i and the cost to travel to mainland and international tournaments drains her family’s resources. She’s a student at a private school for Native Hawaiians. And she’s going through puberty.

WINNING GIRL follows the four-year journey of this part-Polynesian female teenage judo and wrestling phenomenon from Hawai‘i and her family, and in doing so tells the dynamic story of an elite athlete on her ascent, a girl facing the challenges of growing up and an entire family dedicated to a single dream.

*  *  *  *  *

WINNING GIRL is a co-production of Making Waves Films LLC and Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC), with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

The film has also received the generous support of the Harold K. L. Castle Foundation, Atherton Family FoundationWomen’s Fund of Hawaii, Dolores Furtado Martin Foundation and Open Meadows Foundation.


The first two minutes of the film can be viewed on YouTube at:


The film had its world premiere at the Hawaii International Film Festival on Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014 at Dole Theatres in Honolulu.

Its national television broadcast premiere was Tuesday, May 12, 2015 on The World Channel’s signature documentary series America ReFramed. Its Hawai‘i television broadcast premiere was Sunday, September 20, 2015 on OC16.

The film is also available for purchase from Women Make Movies.

Scroll down to the bottom of this page and click for information on more screenings, sales and distribution.

Click for information on sales, awards,
screenings and credits.

Awards won:

Winner – Best Film – Island Culture
Waimea Ocean Film Festival, 2017

Winner – Special Jury Award for Documentary Feature
Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, 2015

Nominated – Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature
Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, 2015



Waimea Ocean Film Festival, Kona/Kohala Coast, Big Island, HI, 2017
Windward Community College, Kaneohe, HI, 2016
Extraordinary Women Film Series (New Rochelle Public Library), New Rochelle, NY, 2016
FIFO Tahiti (Pacific International Documentary Film Festival), Papeete, FRENCH POLYNESIA, 2016
Canadian Sport Film Festival, Winnipeg, CANADA, 2016 
Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival, Philadelphia, PA, 2015 
San Diego Asian Film Festival, San Diego, CA, 2015
Deep Waters: A Pacific Film Series, Pago Pago, American Samoa, 2015

PIC Exchange: Girl Power!, Honolulu, HI, 2015
Utah Pacific Island Heritage Month, Orem and St. George, UT, 2015
Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, 2015
PUEO (Partnerships in Unlimited Educational Opportunities) Program, Punahou School, Honolulu, HI, 2015
Canadian Sport Film Festival, Toronto, CANADA, 2015 (International Premiere)
Women of Wonders Film Festival, Honolulu, HI, 2015
Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, Los Angeles, CA, 2015 
CAAMFest, San Francisco, CA, 2015 (West Coast Premiere)
Nevada Women’s Film Festival, Las Vegas, NV, 2015
Women’s Film Festival, Brattleboro, VT, 2015 (U.S. Mainland Premiere)
Ko Olina Children’s Film & Music Festival, Kapolei, HI, 2015
Women’s Fund of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, 2015
Hawaii International Film Festival, Honolulu, HI, 2014 (World Premiere)

Sales information:


The film had its national U.S. broadcast premiere on the World Channel’s signature documentary series America ReFramed on Tuesday, May 12, 2015, at 8pm Eastern Time (7pm central).


It had its statewide Hawaii broadcast premiere on OC16 on Sunday, September 20, 2015 at 7pm.



The film is distributed (worldwide excluding North America) by Java Films. Go to its website for more information on international broadcast and commercial, industrial and DVD sales.




DVDs of the film may be purchased for personal*, educational, institutional, non-profit or community group use within North America directly through Women Make Movies at:


Orders Department 
Women Make Movies
115 W. 29th Street, Suite 1200
New York, NY 10001
Phone: (212) 925-0606 ext. 360 (Monday-Friday, 10am-6pm EST)
Fax: (212) 925-2052


*For personal home video use of the film, please call Women Make Movies at the phone number above instead of ordering through their website.


For sales outside of North America, see information on Java Films in the section above.



A film by Kimberlee Bassford

Featuring Teshya Alo


Shirley Thompson

Director of Photography

Henry Mochida


Ashley Burke

Executive Producer for PIC

Leanne K. Ferrer


Henry Mochida

Kimberlee Bassford

Robbie Omura


John McFadden

James De Mello

Dolly and Jib Operator

James De Mello

Steadicam Operator

Mark Morgan

U.S. Mainland Crew

David Hamilton

Tania Khalaf

Hanny Lee

Europe Crew

David Hamilton

Tania Khalaf

Philipe Trad

Panama Crew

Kimberlee Bassford

Henry Mochida

Jackie Conley McGinnis

Assistant Editors

Chesare Antonio-Reyes

Erin Lau

Production Assistants

Margret Arakaki

Sean Aronson

Stacey Johnston

Lauren Kawana

Jackie Conley McGinnis

Shannon Nash

Teava Noy

Robbie Omura

Christopher Shimabukuro

Online Editor

Stanford Chang

Re-Recording Mixer

Paul James Zahnley, CAS

Sound Effects Editor

Lisa Devon

Audio Post Production

Disher Music & Sound

San Francisco


Ivan Vidovic

HD Mastering

Heather Weaver


Matthew Boo

Elliot Fan

Marie Medina

Josh Reeves

Kati Rehbeck


Fiscal Sponsorship

Women Make Movies

Original Score by Mark Menza

Carmen Menza, Vocalist

“I’m a Superhero”

Music and lyrics by Aaron Kelley

Performed by Peggy James

“Living It Loud”

Music by Aaron Kelley

Lyrics by Aaron Kelley and Carmen Menza

Performed by Carmen Menza

“Refuse to Lose”

Music by Mark Menza and Aaron Kelley

Lyrics by Aaron Kelley

Performed by Zoe Ann Zobrist

“My Country”

Written by Merrill Garbus

Performed by tUnE-yArDs

Courtesy of Zync Music and 4AD


Cherise Alo

Leroy Alo

Teshya Alo

Charles Ariola

Brent Barnes

Leilani Camargo-Naone

Clarissa Chun

Michael J. Chun

Emma Klein

Destiny Ng

John Robinson

Ku‘u Robinson

Chris Sokugawa

Archival Courtesy Of

The Alo Family


Hawaii News Now

Honolulu Star-Advertiser


Eddie King


OC16 Sports

USA Wrestling

Wahine Sports Network

Skye Yonamine

Major Funding Provided By

Pacific Islanders in Communications

Harold K. L. Castle Foundation

American Brewing Company

Commercial Enterprises

Hawaiian Hardwood Company

Atherton Family Foundation

Kwai Dick & Evelyn Chun

Celia Bortfeld

Dolores Furtado Martin Foundation

Additional Funding Provided By

Russell Baker

John & Huong Bassford

John & Cynthia Bortfeld

Center for Asian American Media

Frances Char

Sidney Char

Wendall & Aileen Chong

Dennis Chun

Mikey & Judy Chun

Pat Clough

James De Mello

Hardware Hawai‘i

Patricia Higa

Robert & Jean Igarashi

Amy Isaacs

Cathy Kawano-Ching

Jo Ann Kagawa

Lori Kohara

Raymond & Anna Lee

Gwendolyn Mink

Janet Nagamine

Susan Ogami-Van Camp

Dick Regan

Himani Shah

Richard Simons

Melvin & Shirley Suganuma

Lori Stephenson Strickland

Eugene & Frances Takemoto

Alfred Wong

Ethel Yamaguchi

Richard Zeiss

Mahalo / Thanks

Gary Abbott

Cherise & Leroy Alo

Frank & Fuatino Alo and family

Javen Alo

Teniya Alo

Teshya Alo

Charles Ariola

Brock Bal

John & Huong Bassford

Jonathan Bassford

Michael Bassford

Naleea Bassford

Pakalani Bello

Marlene Booth

Celia Bortfeld

Matt Burkett-Erice

Laurie & David Callies

Co-Creative Studios

CrossFit Waipio

Tony deAnda


Lisette Flanary

Joel Goodman

Hawaii Animation Studios

Hawaii High School State Athletic Association

Hawaiian Airlines

Vilsoni & Jeannette Hereniko

Rob Hesia

Jonah Hoshino

Jim Hrbek

Ice Palace Hawai‘I

Inside OC16 Sports

International Judo Federation

Interscholastic League of Honolulu

J&W Nails

Elsa Pua Ka‘ai

Kamehameha Schools

Earl Kim

Ku Lokahi Wrestling Club

Richard Largo

Caleb Lucero

Robin Lung

Macys Kailua

Christopher McDonald

Kayla Miracle

Lucas Misaki

Ernest Miyamasu

Robin Mori

Lou Moyerman

Pearl City Hongwanji Judo Club

Robert Pennybacker

Jhonny Prado

Darren Reyes

John & Ku‘u Robinson

Yuriko Romer

Hector Salgado

Corinne Shigemoto

Matt Shimura

Chris Sokugawa

Vince Sokugawa

Erik Swanson

Evangeline Sylvester and family

Tactical Strength and Conditioning

Shawn Takabayashi

Marianne Teleki

USA Judo

USA Wrestling

Judith Vecchione

Sharon Webb

Joe Wilson

Billy Wood

Vera Zambonelli

Winning Girl is a co-production of Making Waves Films LLC and Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC), with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

This program was produced by Making Waves Films LLC, which is solely responsible for its content.

© 2014, Making Waves Films LLC. All Rights Reserved.