HOLLYWOOD HULA ::: Pacific Islander Film Hui

Nesian 101

Posted in Music Video, People by hollywoodhula on July 17, 2008

Nesian Mystik breaks it down

Nesian Mystik’s new single breaks down urban Aotearoa Polynesian culture for its growing global audience.

Rapper Sabre, aka Feleti Strickson-Pua, tells Spasifik Magazine that when traveling overseas they found fans didn’t know much about the band’s culture, “so it’s going back to the basics of who we are.”

Lyrics celebrate their Auckland roots in Samoan, Tongan, Aitutaki (Cook Islands) and Maori cultures, where you can “spot the Polys from a mile away” in their white-on-white sneeks, aloha shirts, socks with jandals and “that greenstone around your neck”.

Luke Sharp is the video director. “We asked him for a video that was alive, bright and vibrant … that people watching and listening could relate to,” says Sabre. “For example, palagis might not understand some of our lyrics talking about island food,” in their paean to fried corned beef, two minute noodles, one-dollar chips and a free cuppa tea.

Nesian 101 is the first single from their forthcoming album Elevator Musiq due out soon.

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Pacific Islands Film Festival

Posted in Festivals by hollywoodhula on July 11, 2008

Re-presenting the Pacific

The new Pacific Islands Film Festival debuts in Honolulu with a collection of features, docs and shorts from Aotearoa, Australia, Majuro, Tuvalu, Samoa/Los Angeles and Hawaii.

The Marshall Islands’ first dramatic feature film has its international premier at the Honolulu Design Center on 12 July 08. Morning Comes So Soon features local folks in a teen love story dealing with racism and suicide.

The festival also screens two New Zealand features: Toa Fraser’s Naming No. 2, starring Ruby Dee as a Fijian matriarch, and Samoan Wedding featuring Aotearoa’s zany Naked Samoans comedy team.

Documentaries deal with Samoan gangs in urban America, tribalism in Papua New Guinea and Bougainville, effects of global warming on Tuvalu, Hawaiian culture and Polynesian DNA origins, plus biographical films about Samoan writer Albert Wendt and Maori musician/filmmaker Moana Maniapoto’s battle over the right to use her own name.

Keynote address is by the godmother of Pacific film Merata Mita (Patu, Mauri) of University of Hawaii’s Academy of Creative Media. Celebrity night features Pacific film icon Cliff Curtis (Once Were Warriors, Whale Rider).

The festival is produced by the Pacific Basin Institute at Pomona College, California.

As Seen on Screen
Pacific Islands Film Festival brings big attention to little-known issues
Honolulu Advertiser

Morning Comes So Soon

Posted in Film by hollywoodhula on July 9, 2008

Marshall Islands Movie

Romeo & Juliet on Majuro

A love story about a Marshallese boy and a Chinese girl is the first feature film from the Marshall Islands.

Morning Comes So Soon was made by a pair of American volunteer high school teachers at Majuro’s Catholic Assumption High School, working with a local peer education group, with a grant from UNESCO.

The directors, Aaron Condon and Mike Cruz, cast local people in the film about teens grappling with racism and suicide on the small central Pacific atoll. The film stars high school seniors Ting Yu Lin and James Bing III.

The movie has been a huge hit in Majuro where thousands of Marshallese packed the local cinema with multiple showings daily during May.

The film deals with social pressures resulting from Chinese immigration to Majuro in late 1990s.

Morning Comes So Soon has its international premier at the first Pacific Islands Film Festival at Honolulu’s Design Center on 12 July 08, and is available on DVD via mail order.

Buy the DVD at Bikini Atoll Online Store

Pacific Magazine reports from Majuro:
Marshalls Film On Racism, Suicide Draws Crowds
Marshalls Movie To Play At Hawaii Film Festival

Honolulu Advertiser says:

… “Morning Comes So Soon” looms as the fledgling festival’s most important selection, said the man who chose them, Vilsoni Hereniko. It offers a perspective of the Pacific that has never been explored before on the screen.

“This is the first feature film from the Marshall Islands that uses Marshallese in the lead roles … This allows people from within the culture and the society to tell their own stories and to kind of examine themselves in a way that is, I think, very delicate … There is no film that I know of that focuses on racial issues between Pacific Islanders and Asians,” said Hereniko, a filmmaker and professor at the Center for Pacific Islands Studies.”

Apron Strings

Posted in Festivals, Film, People by hollywoodhula on July 7, 2008

Sima Urale’s first feature premiers at NZ International Film Festival

Samoan/Kiwi director Sima Urale’s long-awaited first feature, Apron Strings, premiers at New Zealand International Film Festival in Auckland 10 July 08.

Apron Strings is a parallel story of two families from two cultures, Pakeha (New Zealand/European) and East Indian, set in suburban New Zealand.

Urale is best known for her acclaimed short films O Tamaiti, Still Life and Coffee & Allah, which screened at film festivals around the world.

The film explores the relationships between mothers and their fatherless sons, through the metaphor of food.

“Apron Strings isn’t simply a story about women,” says Urale. “It’s about their sons and the next generation; the changing face of New Zealand … and the age-old conflict between traditional and modern… which also reminds us we have more in common with each other across cultures than we think.”

Apron Strings stars British-Indian actress Laila Rouass (Footballers Wives) with Scott Wills (Perfect Creature, Stickmen), Jennifer Ludlum and Nathan Whittaker.

The film is produced by Rachel Gardner of Maxim Films and was written by Dianne Taylor and Shuchi Kothari. The cinematographer is Rewa Harre.