Making Waves Films LLC is a documentary production company based in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, established in 2005 by independent filmmaker Kimberlee Bassford.
Our mission is to produce social issue, cultural, historical and environmental documentary films that advance social justice, strengthen our connections to one another and deepen understanding of the world.
Rooted in the tradition of journalism, we aim to investigate, inform and inspire, examining subjects from diverse perspectives and placing them within their social, cultural and historical contexts.
We look for the unexpected in the mundane and the universal in the personal. Through film, we hope to give voice to underrepresented communities, especially girls, women and those from around the Pacific, and to challenge viewers to reexamine their own beliefs and behavior so that they can make better decisions and be more responsible global citizens.
Director | Producer | Writer
Kimberlee Bassford is an award-winning independent documentary filmmaker whose work advances issues of equality by championing stories of girls and women, cultural identity and mental health. Starting with her Student Academy Award gold medal documentary Cheerleader in 2003, in which she examined the All-American pastime through the surprising journey of a cheerleader squad of 8- to 11-year old girls, to her 2008 PBS documentary Patsy Mink: Ahead of the Majority, which explored the life and times of the first woman of color to serve in the U.S. Congress, her films reveal the ongoing need for gender equity while also celebrating the diversity, strength and resilience of girls and women. Her subsequent film, Winning Girl, which aired on The World Channel in 2014, continued this tradition with the story of a determined teenage girl navigating the two male-dominated sports of judo and wrestling.
Kimberlee was also a producer on two national PBS documentary series: Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick? (2008) and The Meaning of Food (2005) and has freelanced as a director, producer, researcher and consultant on productions throughout the U.S. She has garnered numerous honors for her work, including film festival audience awards and grand jury prizes, Firelight Media's Spark Fund Award, a duPont-Columbia Award, Student Academy Award and CINE Golden Eagles and has been a featured speaker, panelist and/or juror for ITVS, Center for Asian American Media, Pacific Islanders in Communications, Hawai‘i International Film Festival, Guam International Film Festival and the ‘Ohina Short Film Showcase. She has also been selected to participate in several industry programs, including the Sundance Institute/Women In Film's Women's Financing & Strategy Intensive, Film Independent/CNN Original Series' Docuseries Intensive, International Documentary Association's DocuClub and the prestigious CPB/PBS Producers Academy, among others.
In 2021, Hawai‘i Women in Filmmaking recognized the significance of her work in a short documentary about her for its docuseries Reel Wahine of Hawai‘i. Among her other media appearances, she has been featured on Insights on PBS Hawai‘i, OC16's Hawai‘is Reel Stories series, in the feature documentary Rise of the Wahine: Champions of Title IX and on the podcasts "Muthaship with Stephanie Lum" and "American Beauty". She also speaks frequently at schools, workshops and community events including those for the American Association of University Women, Honolulu Civil Beat's Civil Café, Hawai‘i Women in Filmmaking, SAG/AFTRA Hawai‘i and the dedication ceremony of the Patsy T. Mink sculpture. In 2011, she won the President's Award from Hawai‘i Women Lawyers for her outstanding service to the community.
Kimberlee is a graduate of Punahou School and holds a BA in psychology from Harvard University and a Master of Journalism from the University of California Berkeley. She is a member of the Asian American Documentary Network, Brown Girls Doc Mafia, Documentary Producers Alliance and Film Fatales.
Learn more about Kimberlee's work and creative process in the following stories:
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to book Kimberlee for speaking engagements.