Shirley Thompson is a veteran documentary editor, writer and producer based in Honolulu. She is best known for the PBS documentaries she has produced: Breadfruit and Open Spaces (2013), Eating Alaska (2009); as well as edited: Kū Kanaka (2016), Winning Girl (2014), Pidgin: The Voice of Hawai‘i (2008), and It’s Elementary (1996). Most recently she produced and edited Finding KUKAN, a feature documentary about a lost 1930’s Oscar-winning film and the unsung Chinese American woman from Hawai‘i who produced it. Since 1989, she has run her own company Shirley Thompson Editorial, through which she works with filmmakers from New York City to Austin to San Francisco and Honolulu. As a Latina and a child of immigrants born in New Orleans, Louisiana, she has a life-long commitment to create work that builds bridges across cultures and communities. 

Shirley is a member of the New Day Films collective since 1993.

Films by Shirley Thompson

Eating Alaska

A humorous and serious exploration into what we put into our mouths, set on the Alaskan Frontier.


Young Aspirations/ Young Artists

Before Hurricane Katrina catapulted New Orleans into the media spotlight, one of the most successful arts programs for teenagers in the country thrived in a downtown neighborhood. Young Aspirations/Young Artists (YA/YA, Inc.) regrouped after the levees failed and continues to offer life-changing opportunities and lessons in entrepreneurship to artistically-talented young New Orleanians. This film is the story of how YA/YA, Inc. was founded and shows how, given the right tools and a fertile environment, motivated young people can do extraordinary things.