Filmmaker Spotlight: Kimberlee Bassford

The X1 Asian American destination will feature “Winning Girl,” directed and produced by Kimberlee Bassford this February. You can find her film in the 2018 Winter Olympics row within the Inspiring Sports Movies collection. We had the pleasure of asking Kimberlee about her inspirations and how her Asian-American heritage impacts her work.

Image Credit: Kimberlee Bassford

Tell us about your film featured on X1 this month!

Kimberlee Bassford: “Winning Girl” is the story of a teenage girl from Hawaii who wants to be an Olympian in two sports: wrestling and judo. The film shows what it takes for her to advance in her sports and what it means to be a champion.

How did you get into filmmaking?

KB: I wanted to tell stories that mattered and had an impact and thought documentary filmmaking was the best way for me to do that. I first tried to get experience by assisting on various projects. Eventually, I went back to school and got my master’s degree in journalism at UC Berkeley, which is where I learned all the basics.

What are some films that have inspired you?

KB: I saw “Then There Were None” by Elizabeth Kapu‘uwailani Lindsey in college, and it had a huge emotional impact on me. It showed me the raw power of putting images and sound together to tell a message. My documentary professor in graduate school Jon Else also inspired me tremendously.

Do you have a favorite Asian American film?

KB: The Joy Luck Club.”

Teshya Alo. Image Credit: Jamm Aquino


How does your Asian heritage influence your work?

KB: The majority of my film projects have been about Asian Americans or other ethnic minorities. I think I’m especially drawn to telling stories about Asian American women as we’re underrepresented in the media and I feel the stories that are told about us don’t always reflect the diversity of our experience.

What is your outlook on the state of Asian American cinema?

KB: It’s an exciting time as there’s been a lot more attention lately to diversity in cinema both in front of and behind the camera. I think Asian Americans are helping to lead the way in that movement, and I’d like to think there will be more support for Asian American cinema in the future.

What’s next for you?

KB: I like to stay busy. So besides teaching full-time and raising a family, I’m working on several documentary projects, one of which is a film about the late Chinese American writer Iris Chang.

Image Credit: Making Waves Films


Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, Kimberlee Bassford! Watch “Winning Girl” on the X1 Asian American destination or with Xfinity Stream this February.

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For more Filmmaker Spotlights or Asian American news and entertainment visit Xfinity Asian American.