Hawaii in Film

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Waikiki

When we meet Kea (played by Danielle Zalopany), she’s working as a singer in a karaoke bar, living in her van and broke. Her ex shows up during her shift and is furious about her working in a place filled with sleazy patrons. Not long after, Kea drives off and makes a terrible mistake. In…

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Cane Fire

“Cane Fire,” the new documentary by Anthony Banua- Simon (who directed, filmed and edited), starts with the search for the long out-of-print, “White Heat,” a 1934 drama, which was the first film shot on Kauai. Interviews with Banua-Simon’s elderly Uncle Henry and others within his circle become the starting point for this documentary. It becomes…

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Aloha Surf Hotel

At the start of Stefan C. Schaefer’s “Aloha Surf Hotel,” Tai Alonzo (played by stand-up comedian Augie Tulba) has hit rock bottom. Alonzo, a one-time surf legend-turned-college-student, has just lost his support from a university, is unemployed, has a daughter to support and a van with everything he owns being towed away. His one shot…

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The Haumana

The late Keo Woolford was a charming, extremely versatile actor who was best known for his role as Sgt. James Chang, which he played on the latest and extremely popular version of “Hawaii 5-O.” Woolford, who tragically died in 2016, at the age of 49 (due to a stroke), had an impressive stage career, left…

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Out of State

Ciara Lacy’s “Out of State” is the celebrated documentary about Hawaii-born felons who are moved to an Arizona-based prison and practice their cultural heritage on the inside. We watch as displaced prisoners learn profound lessons and traditions of Hawaiian culture as a means to gain mental strength and pass the time of their sentences. These…

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Stoke

At the start of “Stoke,” the debut film of writer/director team Zoe Eisenberg and Phillips Payson, we meet Jane (played by Caitlin Holcombe), who has sunk into a state of depression. She’s advised to get out of bed and take a trip- a televised news story of lava flows inspires her to visit the Big…

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Go For Broke

The ever-growing definition of a “comic book movie” expands in a deeply meaningful way with the creation of “Go For Broke.” Directed by Alexander Bocchieri (a helmer of short films, making his feature length debut) and written/produced by Stacey Hayashi, this made-in-Hawaii, World War II drama depicts the lives of young Japanese-American men living in…

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Kuleana

“Brian Kohne’s eagerly awaited “Kuleana” is a film island audiences deserve but might not be expecting. The only quality this has in common with “Get A Job,” Kohne’s goofball, debut 2011 indie comedy is a wealth of cameo appearances by local Maui celebrities and personalities. Otherwise, everything in Kohne’s sophomore effort is far more polished…

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Picture Bride

“Picture Bride” was the first Hawaiian film to ever play at the Cannes Film Festival. It also played at the Sundance Film Festival and received national distribution through Miramax Films. That alone should be reason enough to celebrate and recognize Kayo Hatta’s film, which is a small but lovely, vivid depiction of Hawaii in the…

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