Winning Girl

2014 |  68 mins  |  English

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 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 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 phenom, 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.



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Distributed in North America by Women Make Movies

To arrange a screening or to order the film in North America, contact WMM at:

(212) 925-0606

The film can also be streamed (inside North America) for personal home viewing at:

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Distributed worldwide by Java Films

To arrange a screening or to order the film outside of North America, contact Java Films at:

+33 1 74 71 33 13

The film can also be streamed (outside of North America) at:


The film aired nationally on The World Channel's signature series America ReFramed in 2015 and 2016. It aired statewide in Hawai‘i on PBS Hawai‘i in 2016 and on OC16 in 2015. It also aired on Comcast Xfinity in February 2018.

You can read a Q&A that the Hawai‘i Reporter did with director Kimberlee Bassford at one of the film's screenings here. The Center for Asian American Media, which screened the film in its annual CAAMFest film festival, also did a Q&A here.

Below is a list of known screenings of the film. If you know of other screenings, please let us know so we can add them here.

Waimea Ocean Film Festival, Kona/Kohala Coast, HI, 2017

Documentary Edge Film Festival, Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand, 2016

Colorado Dragon Film Festival, Denver, CO, 2016
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, 2015 
San Diego Asian Film Festival, 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 Hawai‘i, Honolulu, HI, 2015
PUEO (Partnerships in Unlimited Educational Opportunities) Program, Punahou School, Honolulu, HI, 2015
Canadian Sport Film Festival, Toronto, Canada, 2015
Women of Wonders Film Festival, Honolulu, HI, 2015
Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, 2015 
CAAMFest, San Francisco, CA, 2015
Nevada Women’s Film Festival, Las Vegas, NV, 2015
Women’s Film Festival, Brattleboro, VT, 2015
Ko Olina Children’s Film & Music Festival, Kapolei, HI, 2015
Women’s Fund of Hawai‘i, Honolulu, HI, 2015
Hawai‘i International Film Festival, Honolulu, HI, 2014

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

Outreach Funding Provided By

Women's Fund of Hawai‘i

Open Meadows Foundation

Open Meadows

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).

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