Veteran New Zealand filmmaker Annie Goldson’s documentary about a fatal hate crime in Fiji won the Grand Prix at the 6th Pacific Documentary Film Festival (FIFO, Festival International du Film Océanien) in Tahiti.
An Island Calling (Murder in the Pacific) is a “post-colonial” story about the brutal double murder of a gay male couple, one of who was a human rights worker, in Fiji in mid-2001. The film explores the social, historical and political currents underlying the killing in post-coup Fiji.
Buy the DVD at Occasional Productions.
An Island Calling gets top award
Directors James Sereno and Alex Munoz work with incarcerated youth at Hawai’i Youth Correctional Facility to create original films (faces are blurred to protect the kids’ indentities).
Photo: Liza Simon for Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
Chamorro filmmaker Alex Munoz brings his pioneering program, Films by Youth Inside (FYI), to Hawai’i. Twelve teens made two movies in two weeks. The films will screen in Honolulu in early March.
Incarcerated youth get new focus on life through ﬁlm
Ka Wai Ola, Office of Hawaiian Affairs
Troubled teens make movies
Guam’s first indigenous feature film is billed as a fully independent, do-it-yourself movie that stretches the limits of no-budget production.
Chamorro brothers Don and Kel Muña wrote, shot, chopped and acted in Shiro’s Head: The Legend, based on their original short story.
Director Don Muña plays Vince Flores, an outcast with a dark past attempting to reconcile his father’s death and a history of family secrets.
Made on a “no strings” budget with volunteer cast and crew, the production relied almost entirely on donations and goodwill during the three-month shoot.
The soundtrack features Guam artists Rebel Lion, D.U.B, Brandi Jae, Island Trybe, Virtuoso and Matala and others.
The film premiered on Guam and is currently on the festival circuit with screenings at Hawai’i International and Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival.
Indie is remarkable feat filmed on Guam
Honolulu Star Bulletin
Mink was the first woman of color to serve in the US House of Representatives and co-authored Title IX, the landmark legislation that opened up higher education and athletics to American women.
Dubbed “Patsy Pink” for her unabashed liberal democratic views during the Vietnam War, she served in Congress for 24 years championing the rights of women, workers, immigrants and the poor.
Ahead of the Majority: The Life and Times of Patsy Mink traces the little-known story of the trailblazing dynamo who changed American politics forever.
World Premiere – Sun 12 Oct 7:00pm
Encore Screening – Sat 18 Oct 3:00pm
Regal Theatres Dole Cannery 18
Other Pacific films at HIFF:
Vincent Ward’s Rain of the Children
Marshall Islands’ first feature Morning Comes So Soon
Anne Keala Kelly’s Noho Hewa: The Wrongful Occupation of Hawai’i
Sima Urale’s short Coffee and Allah
Rick Bacigalupi’s doc on Jason Scott Lee’s sustainable Big Island farm Living Pono
Big waves, quick boards, high stakes and culture clash stoke tensions in a new feature film documenting an explosive era in Hawaiian surfing history.
Bustin Down the Door chronicles the birth of pro surfing in the 1970s, which spawned a billion-dollar surf industry and millionaire champions. It’s the second surf doc of 2008 set on Oahu’s North Shore, a timely prequel to Dana Brown’s Highwater filmed 30 years later at the 2005 Triple Crown.
Australian and South African surfers stormed the North Shore in 1974, bursting in the back door at Pipeline, ripping the hallowed waves of Waimea, busting titles, boasting, bragging, and deeply offending the locals.
As told by the men who lived it, the feud between colonizing Aussies and insulted Hawaiians erupted into violence. Australians surfers Rabbit Bartholomew and Ian Cairns cowered in a hotel room with baseball bats and shotguns after being assaulted and threatened.
Into the breach stepped Eddie Aikau, legendary Hawaiian waterman, North Shore lifeguard and champion surfer, whose courage is immortalized in three words: “Eddie would go”. He delivered the frightened surfers to hui ho’oponopono, a community tribunal and peacemaking session. Angry Hawaiians gave a history lesson; chastened Aussies listened and apologized. Respect was restored and pro surfing was born.
Director Jeremy Grosch fearlessly explores the collision of ambitious testosterone with tradition and place, weaving exquisite period film with emotional interviews from the vets, still shredding in their 50s.
North Shore locals Eddie Rothman, Fred Hemmings, Barry Kanaiaupuni, Jeff Rakman and Eddie’s brother Clyde Aikau provide local perspective on the little-known story.
Surf legend Shaun Tomson co-produces. And rips.
… reveal(s) the tense, ugly side of the sport’s cultural subcurrents to a degree never before described in a surf pic.
… an eyeful of audacious beachfront fashion. It reeks of the Ford era, but is somehow terribly … now.
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
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
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.”
Sima Urale’s first feature premiers at NZ International Film Festival
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.
Tuhoe Country Docu-drama
Kiwi director Vincent Ward (Map of the Human Heart, What Dreams May Come) revisits his 1978 documentary, about a Maori kuia, in his latest feature.
In Spring One Plants Alone was Ward’s second film – a verite portrait of Te Puhi, an 80 year-old woman caring for her schizophrenic adult son in rural Urewera.
30 years later Ward returns to the scene to re-envision her story as a cursed Tuhoe princess.
The 2008 version is a personal docu-drama, narrated by Ward, melding dramatic re-enactments with original footage.
Rain of the Children trailer
A Tale of the Tuhoe
could give Maori on both sides of the Tasman a new insight in to their past
Vincent Ward unveils latest long-term labour of love
New Zealand Herald
Australian-based Maori performed a passionate powhiri on the red carpet
Vincent Ward’s ghost story
Sunday Star Times
epic act of “director’s cut” reworking
Kane Hula Doc
Independent filmmaker and hula dancer Lisette Marie Flanary follows kumu hula Robert Cazimero and Na Kamalei, his unique all-kane halau.
The award-winning documentary is the second in her trilogy of hula films. American Aloha, about hula halau outside Hawaii, screened on PBS. The next film will profile hula in Japan.
PBS: Independent Lens
06 May 08 at 10:30 pm