Increased accessibility to filmmaking tools because of digitization has allowed storytellers from marginalized communities to express their truths. This showcase allows us the privilege to see how the filmmaking community in Hawai’i has leveraged digital democratization in order to shatter the veneer of tourism and reveal the truths that affect the Nation of Hawai’i. These stories are spoken from the hearts and souls of Asian Pacific Americans with a tender ferocity that is true to native Hawai’i.
Co-presented by: API Chaya
Set at the time of the illegal overthrow of the Hawai’ian monarchy in 1893, the unseated monarchy finds a hero in an unlikely place. Micah, a young thief, is asked to go on a mission that has the promise of reclaiming Hawai’ian identity.
In post-WWII Hawai’i, the minimum wage is 40 cents a day, or 4 dance tickets. Mahea is a singer at a taxi dance hall in downtown Honolulu, reluctant to make money from dancing with GIs. The definition of peacetime is unclear when a white veteran asks Mahea for the last dance.
Keali’i is a soft-spoken janitor who cleans up after the careless onslaught of the tourism industry in downtown Waikiki. Traumatic memories urge him to write poetry and to find the power in his voice as a Hawai’ian. Featuring poetry by Wayne Kaumualii Westlake.
Rudy Boy returns a day early from his prison release to the family farm in Wai’anae to find his father, Eddie, digging an imu (underground oven). Eddie’s party preparations for the child he remembers raising painfully fall apart as he sees that addiction has made a stranger of his adult son.
Mauka to Makai offers an unfiltered window into a day in the lives of two cousins, who, while traveling from Kāneʻohe to Kailua, grapple with their identity, vices, and the familial bonds that make and break them.
Grief manifests in conflict for two cousins growing up in O’ahu. Kekoa’s teenage cynicism gives way to hope when he reluctantly takes his cousin Mika to a haunted forest in search of spirits.