The Animated Adventures of Judo Girl

A documentary, website and movement to empower girls
Kimberlee Bassford
Honolulu, Hawaii
United States
4 Team Members

After 43 years, Women Make Movies continues to achieve international recognition with Academy®, Emmy® and Peabody nominations and awards, as well as at Cannes and Sundance. Women Make Movies, a non-profit feminist media organization, is the world's largest distributor of films by and about women and our Production Assistance Program helps women get their films on the screen, including this year’s Academy® winner Citizenfour. Contributions for this project are tax-deductible via Women Make Movies and to the extent permitted by law.

All donations are tax-deductible through our fiscal sponsor Women Make Movies.  Please see the section below "What will I receive in return?" for more information.

Also if you would like to contribute off-line via check, you're welcome to do so!  Just make your check out to Women Make Movies and write "The Animated Adventures of Judo Girl" on the memo line.  Then mail it to: Making Waves Films LLC, P.O. Box 161236,  Honolulu, HI  96816.


UPDATE -- MAY 6, 2012

From all of us at Team Judo Girl, thank you for your support of our IndieGoGo campaign. While we didn’t hit our goal of $20,000, we came incredibly close, raising $7,540 in online contributions and $11,385 in off-line contributions for a total of $18,925 (from 61 different contributors!). That’s 95% of our goal, and so we’re deeming the campaign a huge success! As Teshya Alo, our Judo Girl, has shown us…it pays to aim high and dream big. Even if you don’t hit your ultimate goal, you still fly higher than if you don’t try at all :)

We’ll be back in touch soon about getting you all those wonderful perks, and we’ll be sure to keep you posted on the project’s progress. With the funds we raised, we’ll be starting on that interactive website right away, with the aim of launching it by the end of the summer, in conjunction with the opening of the Summer Olympic games. So stay tuned!

And for anyone happening upon this page after our campaign, it's never too late to join our movement.   You can follow us on Facebook.  And we're always accepting contributions to the film project itself, which will remain in production for at least another year as we follow Teshya's quest to win the 2013 Judo World Championships.  You can donate online with a credit card directly at the Women Make Movies website here:

Or you can send a check or money order off-line by making it out to Women Make Movies and writing "The Animated Adventures of Judo Girl" on the memo line.  Then send it to: Making Waves Films LLC, P.O. Box 161236, Honolulu, HI  96816.

It has been an amazing journey thus far, and we are so humbled by all the support we’ve received. Thank you so much!


UPDATE -- May 5, 2012

It's the final 12 hours of our campaign, and we are so close to our goal! We just need $1,405 more to hit our goal of $20,000. 

So please join our campaign and movement to empower girls. All contributions are tax-deductible through our fiscal sponsor Women Make Movies, and we're offering some fun perks.

Our campaign ends today at 11:59 Pacific Time (that's 8:59pm Hawaii time), so don't delay!


UPDATE -- May 4, 2012

We're in the final 48 hours of our IndieGoGo campaign and are so close to reaching our goal! Over the past two months, we've raised $6,710 in online contributions and $11,385 in off-line contributions for a total of $18,095. That means we just need $1,905 more to hit our goal of $20,000.

So please join our campaign and movement to empower girls. And thank you so much to all of our 50+ contributors. We are so appreciative of your support!


UPDATE -- May 2, 2012
Right on the heels of her bronze medal-winning performance at the USA Judo Senior Nationals, Teshya Alo is already training for her next competition: the 2012 Body Bar Women's National Championships in wrestling in Lakeland, FL, next weekend. If she wins, she'll automatically represent the USA at the Cadet World Championships in Azerbaijan in August. So, Teshya might become a wrestling world champion before she becomes a judo world champion!

So come along this journey with us and stay abreast of all the exciting things happening with our project. We're in the final 3 days of our campaign and have received $16,795 in online and off-line contributions from a total of 50 contributors. Help us raise the last $3,205 and reach our goal of $20,000. Mahalo!


UPDATE -- April 30, 2012

We're in the final 5 days of our IndieGoGo campaign and have received $16,300 in online and off-line contributions, just over 80% of our goal of $20,000. Thank you so much to all of our contributors! We're honored to have you be part of Team Judo Girl and welcome you on this journey with us as we track Teshya Alo's quest for championship gold and take her story to girls around the world.

We've come so far, but we need just a little more of your help to reach the finish line. Thanks!

UPDATE -- APRIL 22, 2012

Teshya Alo, our Judo Girl, won BRONZE today at the USA Judo Senior Nationals in the 52kg division, winning 3 out of 4 of her matches and beating the #1 ranked judoka. We’re so thrilled for her! It’s another medal, but more importantly, another great learning experience as she moves toward her goal of getting to the world championships next year.

Help us track her journey by giving to our IndieGoGo campaign now. We have just 13 days left and are about 3/4 of the way to our goal of $20,000 (this figure includes more than $10,000 received in off-line contributions, which by the way we’re happy to accept…instructions on giving off-line are in the italicized paragraph above). Mahalo!



When we first met Teshya Alo, the 11-year old ran up to us, flexed her arm and said with a grin, "Do you want to feel my muscles?"  We immediately knew this girl was going places.  So did she.  She already had 11 national judo titles and 11 national wrestling titles under her belt.  And she had a dream -- to be a world champion and Olympic gold medalist in both sports. 

For the past three years, we've been filming her story for a documentary.  The film follows her as she works toward the 2013 Judo World Championships.  But while it's a story about her athletic journey, it's also about her growing up and the challenges she faces along the way.  And we've created an animated character "Judo Girl" who represents her dreams and emotions.
But we don't want to wait until the documentary is completed to get the message out to the world.  For while this story is about one girl's quest, it's really about chasing your dreams no matter the obstacles.  So we're creating an interactive website to empower other girls and help them realize their dreams.  And here's where we need your help.



Most documentaries have a companion website with details about the film, video clips, behind-the-scenes photos, production team bios, list of screenings and awards, sales information and links to resources.  That's terrific, but we want our website to go beyond the norm and embrace the possibilities of new media. 

We envision a website and mobile site aimed at girls ages 10-18 (although we hope it will be interesting for everyone!) that feature our Judo Girl character and that:


- Track Teshya's athletic journey in real time with a blog, a fitness "diary" and an animated map and timeline that trace her competitions

- Offer an entertaining multimedia experience with videos and animated cartoons of Judo Girl

- Intersect with girls' social networking interests by providing downloadable clip art and animated gifs of Judo Girl that girls can paste into Facebook and tweet

- Inspire girls via a dream bulletin board where they can post their own dreams, track their progress toward their goals and support one another 

- Educate with interactive timelines of the history of girls and women in sports, fun polls and quizzes relating to health and adolescence and a "word of the month" that highlights Native Hawaiian cultural values such as aloha and 'ohana (family) and Asian cultural values from martial arts like self-discipline


We plan to launch the sites by the end of July in conjunction with the London 2012 Olympic Games.  That way, fans can start following Teshya's four-year journey toward the next Summer Olympics in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.  

And admit many of us have watched the Olympics and wished that we were the ones vying for gold?  Well, most of us will never be Olympians.  But this may be the next best thing.  For those who contribute to our IndieGoGo campaign, you'll have a front row seat to this exciting journey.  We'll keep you abreast through email and invite you to submit your own ideas for the websites, which will no doubt evolve over time.  And you'll get to watch Teshya climb the ranks and witness the training, disappointments and triumphs that lead up to that single Olympic moment.

This is how I roll



We're raising funds for the websites, but they and the documentary are part of our larger movement to empower girls.   So here's some background on the film.

TeshyaSynopsis:  Teshya Alo is 14 years old and a hundred pounds. But on the judo and wrestling mats, she throws down women twice her age and pounds heavier. And she beats boys. Now, she has her sights set on the 2013 Judo World Championships and eventually the Olympics. But it won't be easy. Her raw talent provokes jealousy. Her training strains her family's resources. She's a student at a select private school for Native Hawaiians.  And she's going through puberty.

THE ANIMATED ADVENTURES OF JUDO GIRL is the story of this teen phenom whose soaring athletic ambitions and winsome personality make her an impressive--and at times threatening--force. The one-hour documentary mixes HD verité footage of real life Teshya with animated sequences of Judo Girl, a Flash animation character representing Teshya's dreams and emotions.  Part athletic journey and part coming of age tale, the film introduces the world to an elite athlete striving for gold and a mixed-race Polynesian girl just discovering the joys and challenges of life.


CLICK HERE to watch our fundraising trailer or go to the gallery tab above.





All money raised during this campaign (minus the IndieGoGo and 3rd party processing fees) will be used to design, develop, launch and maintain the interactive website and mobile site.  We've already begun talking to web designers and programmers and discovered that it will cost about $20,000 for the sites, including creating all the animation, and that it will take about 3 months to flesh out, just in time for a launch during the London 2012 Olympic Games.  

If we surpass our goal, funds will go toward the documentary itself (which we are also raising money for, please click here or email us at if you'd like to contribute to that part of our project).  



Your contribution to the project is not only extremely appreciated by all of us, it is also tax-deductible!   Why?  Because donations are tax-deductible through our non-profit fiscal sponsor, Women Make Movies.   Please note though that your contribution is tax-deductible minus the value of the "perk" you receive.  So, if you give $100 and receive the DVD (which has a value of $5), then the tax-deductible amount of your contribution is $95.  To help you plan, the non-deductible amount of each contribution is listed next to the perks.


You can also choose to forego one or all of the perks associated with your contribution and instead receive the full tax deduction.  And if you'd like to "gift" your perks to someone (like a teen daughter or niece!), that's possible too.  Just let us know.  

Finally, besides the tax deduction and cool perks you receive, your contribution gets you the experience of following Teshya's journey -- and ours.  As one of our backers, you'll be part of our community and get regular email updates that'll keep you posted on the development of the sites, the making of our documentary as well as Teshya's progress toward her dream.  






This project is only possible with your help.  The more people who participate, the more chance we have of not only getting Teshya's inspiring story out to the world but also reaching and empowering more girls.  It's ambitious...but we really want to create a Judo Girl movement!  

So help us find the 'crowd' in crowdfunding by doing one, two or all of the following:

- Email your friends about the project and include a link to this campaign

- Post and re-post about us on your Facebook page 

- Tweet about us

- Blog about us

-  "Like" us on Facebook

- Follow us on Twitter

- Know someone in the press or folks with lots of contacts?  Tell them about us.

You can also email to get more information and become involved.

Finally, from all of us on Team Judo Girl, thanks for visiting our campaign.  We appreciate your interest and hope you'll come along with us as it's bound to be a most animated adventure!   



Find This Campaign On
raised in 2 months
38% funded
No time left
Verified Nonprofit
$20,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on May 5, 2012
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Select a Perk
  • $20USD
    White belt

    Our aloha, your name listed on the website and a Judo Girl sticker (The amount over $1 is tax-deductible.)

    17 claimed
  • $50USD
    Yellow belt

    The above, plus a Judo Girl postcard signed by the director and Teshya Alo (The amount over $2 is tax-deductible.)

    2 claimed
  • $100USD
    Orange belt

    All of the above, plus a DVD of the film (The amount over $10 is tax-deductible.)

    9 claimed
  • $250USD
    Green belt

    All of the above (but the director and Teshya Alo will sign your DVD!), plus a Judo Girl poster (The amount over $15 is tax-deductible.)

    2 claimed
  • $500USD
    Blue belt

    All of the above (but the director and Teshya Alo will sign your poster too!), plus a Judo Girl t-shirt (The amount over $25 is tax-deductible.)

    2 claimed
  • $1,000USD
    Purple belt

    All of the above, plus a personal phone call or Skype session with the director and 2 tickets to a screening of the film near you (travel not included) (The amount over $50 is tax-deductible.)

    0 claimed
  • $2,500USD
    Brown belt

    All of the above, plus a private online link with exclusive sneak peek footage and an invitation to one of our film shoots or edit sessions followed by lunch or dinner with the director (travel not included) (The amount over $100 is tax-deductible.)

    0 claimed
  • $5,000USD
    Black belt

    All of the above, plus a 20-minute private judo or wrestling lesson with Teshya Alo (travel not included) that we'll film for you and we'll create an animated character based on a photo of you that we'll feature on the website (The amount over $200 is tax-deductible.)

    0 claimed
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