Carillo films Hawaiian chant's power
IN THE coming months, look for filmmaker Ruben Carillo
's new documentary about Hawaiian chant. "Mana I Ka Leo," which translates to "Power of the Voice," features interviews as well as chants that will give you chickenskin, and exquisite cinematography. Carillo, eminently skilled with a camera, has his best work on display here.
When he first moved to Hawaii 11 years ago and learned about the state's cultural history, he considered the absence of written language a deficit. But he quickly learned that Hawaiians "have so much more because they didn't have written language," he said. With chant, "you get everything (they are saying) even though we don't understand. You feel everything; you get the power and the essence of it."
The 30-minute film, which Carillo describes as a "performance," is a collaboration with Scott Culbertson and Dawn Kaniaupio. They hope to launch their creation on this year's festival circuit, where Carillo thinks it might get noticed. "I feel like it's different," he said. "There is so much power and mystery and folklore that needs to be shared, and this is a piece of it."
CARILLO'S creative project is just one aspect of his larger venture. Along with business partner Theodore Jung Jr., Carillo opened Liquid Planet Studios in Iwilei. The studio offers space to shoot commercials or music videos (they transformed the studio -- including the floor -- into a giant green screen for Jack Johnson's "Curious George" music video). They also rent every piece of equipment a television production might need, including high-definition cameras, filters and accessories.
"Our goal was to provide a place with equipment and crews so that someone like 'Extreme Makeover' could come to Hawaii and not bring anything," said Carillo. Sometimes crews rent on the mainland and get here and realize "they're missing all this stuff."
RENTAL opportunities include top-of-the-line cameras. At a base cost of $26,000 for the body and $30,000 for the lens, he calls them "relatively cheap." New advances include leaving tape behind, so there are no "drop outs" or damaged sections.
Carillo has studied high-definition technology for seven years, and even traveled to Los Angeles to receive instruction. "We were buying high-definition cameras before anyone in town was shooting in high definition," he said. Now the demand is catching up with what he provides.
IN ADDITION, Liquid Planet Studios can shoot and broadcast live concerts and sporting events. They have a high-tech portable Flight Pack, which can accomplish the same tasks as their 48-foot truck with 150 TV screens.
Last year, the studio covered 120 live events from their truck, as well as "Antiques Roadshow." "We have a full crew to do everything," said Carillo. "It depends on what they want."