Ciara Lacy

Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian)

AWARDEE:  Ciara Lacy
NATIVE HERITAGE:  Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian)
LOCATION:  Honolulu, HI
AWARD:  2021 SHIFT – Transformative Change and Indigenous Arts
SOCIAL MEDIA:  Instagram
Pacific Islanders in Communications – BIO

Ciara Lacy is driven by her commitment to social justice, representation, and the dynamic resilience of Native Hawaiian culture, centering strong characters and investigative journalism to challenge the creative and political status quo. Lacy grew up spending hours in her Grandfather’s fields picking green rose, royal ilima, pikake, pakalana, and plumeria flowers, while her mother and Aunty would sow the blossoms for sale. Lacy holds a BA in Psychology from Yale University and has given talks at academic institutions across the U.S. Having honed her craft in New York and Los Angeles, the Hawaii-based documentarian’s directorial debut, Out of State, was broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens in 2018.

Lacy’s work has screened at festivals around the world, including Sundance and Berlinale as well as on Netflix, PBS, ABC, Al Jazeera, and the Criterion Collection. She was the inaugural Sundance Institute Merata Mita Fellow as well as part of the inaugural class of NATIVe Fellows at the European Film Market. She has also received fellowships from the Time Warner Foundation, Firelight Media’s Documentary Lab, Tribeca All Access, the Princess Grace Foundation, Nia Tero, the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, and the Independent Film Project (IFP). She continues to work on documentary content for film and television while also expanding her intimate style of filmmaking into the commercial and animation spaces.

Films can restorative for the filmmaker and the audience. There is much healing potential in the power of our stories.

― Ciara Lacy (Kanaka Maoli [Native Hawaiian])


Lacy’s SHIFT project, “The Queen’s Flowers”, is a whimsical, animated short film designed to give Indigenous Hawaiian children an entertaining and empowering way to access their history. Based on a true story, the film delights in the relationship between a girl and the last monarch of the nation of Hawaii, Queen Lili`uokalani, evoking a magical and radical reclamation of history. The project will partner with Pacific Islanders in Communications in the making, distribution, and screening of the film.


Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC) is the only national public media organization committed to supporting, advancing, and developing Pacific Island media content and talent that results in a deeper understanding of Pacific Island history, culture, and contemporary challenges. Through various funding initiatives for independent full length non-fiction films, fiction/non-fiction short films, broadcast and online series, PIC engages the community in deep discussion around its productions critical content.

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