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Vera Zambonelli is a Hawaii-based independent filmmaker, educator, and researcher.


Vera is the founder and executive director of Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking. Since 2011, Vera has been advocating for gender justice in filmmaking through an intersectional approach. 

 In 2017, Vera launched the production of REEL WĀHINE OF HAWAIʻI, a short doc film series that redresses gender inequity in the film industry by documenting the real-life stories of Hawai‘i women filmmakers.  She directed four of the 18 films, featuring producer and HIFF founder Jeannette Paulson Hereniko, animator Laura Margulies, activist filmmaker Joan Lander, and documentarian Kim Bassford. Vera and series co-producer Shirley Thompson are currently in pre-production for Season 4 thanks to a National Endowment for the Arts award. 

Vera has been teaching courses on Women and the Media, Women in Film, and Women, Ideas and Society at the University of Hawaiʻi Academy for Creative Media West Oʻahu and Women's Studies Department at UH Mānoa. Her latest initiative is the Wāhine in Film Lab currently at its second edition.

Vera serves on the Indie Media Arts West's leadership committee to connect representatives from media arts organizations in the Western region of the United States, and she is part of the Creative Resurgence Collective of Hawai’i-based creatives, artists, advocates, and arts administrators dedicated to imagining and cultivating abundant Hawai’i futures. 

Vera holds a M.A. in Japanese Studies from Ca’ Foscari, University of Venice, a M.A. in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. in Urban Planning from the University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa. 

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