Sundance OKs islanders’ film
Honolulu filmmaker Brett Wagner
recently accomplished something nobody from Hawaii has ever managed: His short was accepted into the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. "Chief" is about a Samoan leader who leaves his village after he fails to save his daughter from drowning. He ends up driving a cab in Honolulu, where he meets a young Hawaiian girl separated from her family and needing his assistance. Both English and Samoan are spoken in the 21-minute movie, which shows a traditional Samoan tattoo artist at work - a cultural endeavor rarely captured on film.
It was shot in Hawaii with a cast that included Chief Sielu Avea, a world champion fire knife dancer from Samoa, and 8-year-old Kaalakai Faurot. Writer/director Wagner also recruited some big names to the effort. Dana Hankins, who worked on "Picture Bride," produced the film, and Paul Atkins, a veteran of "Master and Commander" and numerous National Geographic specials, served as cinematographer. He, too, lives in Honolulu, with his wife and filmmaking partner, Grace Atkins. The quality is evident in the riveting trailer, which can be viewed at www.chief-movie.com. And for anyone who can make the trip to Sundance in January, screening times will be listed on www.sundance.org.
Wagner's biography says he "writes and directs television commercials to finance his filmmaking habit" in Honolulu, and is fairly accomplished on the ukulele (even though he grew up in Cleveland!).
ABC's "Lost" made a couple of Nielsen Media Research's newly released "Top 10" lists for 2007. It didn't crack the overall Top 10 (essentially, that consists of "Dancing With the Stars" and "CSI"), but Nielsen ranked it No. 1 in "Timeshifted" Primetime TV programs, those that are recorded for viewing later. "Heroes," "Bionic Woman," "Private Practice" and "24" followed "Lost," which recorded a 17.6 percent increase in viewership. It also came in at No. 7 on the list of shows "Most Buzzed About Online," just behind "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and before the rerun-only "Sex and the City."
In other ranking news, Honolulu has a lot of bloggers. Of the top U.S. markets for adults who have read/contributed to a blog within the past month, Honolulu was fifth, with 12 percent interacting with blogs in some way. Our city came in just behind Seattle and ahead of San Diego.
Chris Lee, executive producer of "Valkyrie," Tom Cruise's new movie, recently provided an opportunity for local talent to audition for the lead role in a major studio movie based on the television series "Kung Fu." Unfortunately, it attracted only about 20 people. "It was a great experience for the (Academy of Creative Media) students," Lee wrote in an e-mail message, "but I have to say I was somewhat disappointed that more of our local talent did not show up, because how often can they audition for a major motion picture right here in Hawaii?" In other words, fantastic opportunities are out there. Don't miss them!