Kimberlee Bassford is an independent documentary filmmaker based in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, with a background in journalism. Her most recent film WINNING GIRL (2014), about a Hawaiian teenage judo and wrestling champion, premiered at the Hawai‘i International Film Festival in November 2014 and had its national broadcast premiere on the World Channel's signature series "America ReFramed" in May 2015. It is distributed by Women Make Movies in North America and by Java Films outside North America.
Prior to that, she produced, directed, wrote and co-edited PATSY MINK: AHEAD OF THE MAJORITY (2008), a one-hour documentary about the life of the late U.S. Representative Patsy Mink, the first woman of color in Congress and co-author of Title IX, the landmark legislation that mandated gender equity in education.
The film premiered at the Hawai‘i International Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award for Favorite Documentary. It also won the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival; Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature at the DisOrient Asian American Film Festival; Spirit of Humanity Award at the San Joaquin International Film Festival; among other honors. It aired nationally on PBS in 2009 and has educational distribution through Women Make Movies.
She produced the short documentary LOTUS ROOT: A GREAT GRANDDAUGHTER'S JOURNEY (2010) about her great grandfather Chun Quon Yee Hop, the founding member of her family in Hawai‘i and a successful businessman and philanthropist. She was also a producer on UNNATURAL CAUSES: IS INEQUALITY MAKING US SICK? (2008), a four-hour national PBS documentary series and public engagement campaign that investigates America’s socioeconomic and racial disparities in health, as well as on the three-hour PBS documentary series THE MEANING OF FOOD (2005), about the social significance of food.
She had her directorial debut with CHEERLEADER (2003), a short documentary that follows a squad of young, bright-eyed California cheerleaders on its quest for the national cheerleading championships. The film won the Student Academy Award in Documentary and CINE Golden Eagle and aired nationally on HBO Family. It also screened in film festivals in the U.S., Canada, Europe and New Zealand, including the Cannes Film Festival as part of the Kodak Emerging Filmmaker Showcase. The film has educational distribution through Documentary Educational Resources.
Kimberlee graduated from Punahou School and holds a BA in psychology from Harvard University and a Masters in Journalism from the University of California Berkeley. She owns Making Waves Films LLC, a documentary production company in Honolulu.