The Girls We Know

Screenshots from the finished film of the scenes I shot. All handheld, documentary style. The scene at the raspa stand was the only one not designed as a oner.

Run Time10 min
Aspect Ratio1.90∶1
CameraSony Alpha 7S
Atomos Shogun
LensesRokinon Cine
Negative FormatSlog

Written & Directed by Kahea Kiwaha
Producers: Andrea Wheeler, Kahea Kiwaha
Executive Producer: Andrea Wheeler
Director of Photography: Mariana Gonzalez
Additional Photography by: Jason R. Johnston
Additional Writing: Nicole Rodrigues, Anne-Marie Huff
Editor: Kahea Kiwaha

The Girls We Know is a passion project by writer-director Kahea Kiwaha, starring his actual sisters and local friends. The film was shot over 4 days: 3 days with its original cinematographer, Mariana Gonzalez, and 1 day with me as additional cinematographer. I was brought in to replace the original cinematographer who left the project at the end of the third day. During my single production day, I had to work extremely quickly to film the three scenes required that day, as well as re-shoot two other scenes the director wasn’t happy with with the original cinematographer. Kiwaha and producer Andrea Wheeler were thrilled with my work ethic and ability to move quickly. With very limited resources I had to match the look the previous cinematographer was going for, while also achieving the vision of the director; a sort of documentary tone.

Premiered in Los Angeles on January 25, 2019 at UCLA Latinx Film Festival, The Girls We Know is a short film about two sisters, very close but inherently different, as they trek through South Texas to get a Plan B pill for a friend. Not as easy as they thought, their relationship is challenged when an ulterior motive for the trip is discovered. Photographed August 2016.


In August 2016 I was approached by director Kahea Kiwaha and producer Andrea Wheeler to complete principal photography on The Girls We Know. Exteriors were filmed completely in ambient light with a bounce card. Interiors were lit with a very small light kit. The camera package was a Sony Alpha 7S with Rokinon Cine prime lenses, recording in Slog on an Atomos Shogun.

On March 5, 2017, I completed a day of solo second unit photography for recording of pickups, exteriors, and b-roll footage, in and around the town of San Benito, Texas. Recorded with my Panasonic DVX200 in Vlog-L.

February 9, 2018 – Article in Valley Morning Star.

January 21, 2019 – Article in Cinema Fidelity.

May 19, 2019 – The Girls We Know has a planned digital release for June 2019.

January 29, 2020 — The Girls We Know is released via Vimeo.

Behind the Scenes

By Jason R. Johnston

Jason is an award-winning cinematographer, and director of commercials, branding films, native content, music videos, documentaries, and narrative films. As a full-time freelancer, he can be hired to DP or direct almost any project you have in mind. He is based in Sparta, Tennessee, and ready to travel for any gig.