Directed by Kimberlee Bassford
Official Selection, 2014 Hawaii International Film Festival
Official Selection, 2015 CAAMFest
Special Jury Award (Documentary), 2015 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
Kids can have unusual career aspirations. Some have two. Sixteen-year-old judo and wrestling queen Teysha Alo has been dreaming of Olympic gold since kindergarten and she’s been putting in the hard work on the mats for just as long. With several victories under her belt, she’s already on the national radar. To get to the final podium, she’s taken on and defeated boys, girls, and women twice her age. While others’ crazy dreams fade, the possibility of Teysha’s coming true has never looked more promising.
Although director Kimberlee Bassford’s documentary WINNING GIRL is full of triumphs and medal ceremonies, it also brings to the fore the ups and downs of growing up under the pressures of success. Following Teysha for four years, the documentary reveals the challenges specific to coming-of-age as a native Hawaiian, as a daughter of fiercely supportive parents, and as a young woman in a sport not typically associated with somebody of Teysha’s size or gender. WINNING GIRL charmingly captures both the rewards and the struggles that come with being a champion. –Madeleine Ho