Angelique Axelrode

Kānaka Maoli

GRANTEE: Angelique Kalani Axelrode  
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA (unceded Tongva/Gabrieleno land)
AWARD: 2023 LIFT– Early Career Support for Native Artists 

Angelique Kalani Axelrode was selected as one of four Native Hawaiian women representing a rising generation of creatives breathing new life into narrative cinema in Hawaiʻi for the Asian Film Archives program in Singapore (ʻEhā: Na Wāhine Kanaka in Hawaiʻi Cinema), and her short films have been screened internationally at Academy Award qualifying festivals.

With a background in dance and training as an ʻōlapa (hula dancer), she harnesses the body’s intelligence by using movement in her films to convey what words cannot. Axelrode’s work is heavily influenced by their identity as a multiracial, Indigenous queer person. On a lifelong journey to understand her multifaceted reality and embrace vulnerability, she uses filmmaking as a tool to self-explore and connect with community.

I’m really interested in playing with how we engage with films, as both filmmakers and audience members. I’m also interested in queering and indigenizing storytelling, both in its content and form. I’m in the process of creating a framework for young artists and filmmakers on how to make the creation process for making art/films more healing for the people and places involved.”

– Angelique Kalani Axelrode (Kānaka Maoli 


Axelrode’s LIFT Project, Kai Hali‘a, is a semi-autobiographical, live cinematic experience that reconfigures the traditional and phallic concept of memory by exploring memory from a sensual, feminine, Kānaka Maoli, diasporic perspective.  Seeing memory as an intricate ʻupena of both intangible and tangible threads of reality, intertwined with visceral feelings that intimately connect us with our kūpuna and the ʻāina, the act of remembering becomes our way back to our core. Kai Hali‘a will incorporate interactive technology with digital and film footage, direct film animation, embodied movement and choreography, and generative animations spawned by movement. It will be performed in O’ahu and at film festivals across the country.  An immersive and interactive experience, Axelrode will invite community members to directly participate in the opening of each performance.