COURTESY ST. LOUIS SCHOOL
Students from Saint Louis School spent their Thanksgiving vacation shooting their video of the St. Louis Drive Inn. They wanted the parking lot empty to re-create the look of the 1950s, complete with vintage cars.
Mom + Pop 4 ever
Student videographers work to capture the essence of Hawaii's favorite family-run establishments
Many watched with disappointment as a string of mom-and-pop eateries, from Masu's Massive Plate Lunch to the Chinatown pastry shop Shung Chong Yuien, closed their doors last year.
Ceremony airs at 9 tonight on KHON/Fox.
Hazel Reyes' initial reaction was fear that some of her other favorites would be next, a fate inevitable as owners age and long for retirement, with no successors in sight.
At the same time, something else was bugging her. No sooner did the doors close at Ebisu Catering that taggers arrived to leave their mark in spray paint on the vacant premises.
"I thought, what's wrong with these kids?" she said. "In our day we had lickin's. Today, they have time-out. I don't know what is time-out, but I know it doesn't work."
Putting two and two together, she decided there are too few outlets for students to show their creativity in a positive way. She thought they could help preserve the legacy of the mom and pops through a student video competition.
"These days, parents do everything for their kids, so we wanted the kids to serve the owners of these businesses," she said.
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kamehameha students Josh Pelekai, middle, and Ryan Erik Lam interview Elaine Katsuyoshi at Helena's Hawaiian Foods. Katsuyoshi's late mother, Helen Chock, founded the Kalihi restaurant. The students are perpetuating the history of Hawaii's mom-and-pop businesses in video reports.
Her only hang-up was figuring out who would pay to stage a showcase for the videos. Without a source of funding, the idea went nowhere, until Reyes realized that one of her favorite restaurants, Helen's, had closed. "I so flipped out, I said, 'I'll pay!'"
Reyes contacted schools on five islands and had each of their video production teams pick one business to spotlight in a five-minute segment. The results are featured today in the invitation-only Kalo Awards ceremony taking place at 6 p.m. at Washington Place, to be broadcast at 9 p.m. on KHON/Fox, following tonight's "American Idol" finale.
The chosen businesses did not have to be limited to restaurants or food production. Assets School chose G-String Ukulele Co. Molokai High chose Molokai Mule Rides.
"It was so beautiful to see the kids interact with the owners of these businesses," Reyes said. "These are people who wake up at 2 a.m. to go to work, with good values, good work ethics. It was nice to have the kids realize that and see their admiration grow."
COURTESY ROYCE KOKAMI / ASSETS HIGH SCHOOL
ASSETS High School teachers Mike and Suzy Travis, standing, oversee work by Seth Tanoue, left, Zak Smith and Kerry Chang. The members of the On-the-Spot News Team produced a video about G-String Ukulele Co.
Robert Hochstein, program coordinator for Leeward Community College's Television Production Program, has been judging student video competitions for 20 years and said he was "blown away by the quality" of the videos he judged.
"They were not just well done, they were technically proficient as well. Every one of these was dead on target," he said. "I saw some very sophisticated techniques being used, like rack focus."
The technique involves changing the focus within a single scene to direct the viewer's eye from one object to another.
Reyes said she isn't surprised by the effort the teens put into their work. "Usually, they're told what to do. But this time they could pick their own subject, and they put so much into it. They really busted their behinds."
But the bottom line, she said, is: "We don't want people to just watch the videos. We want them to patronize mom-and-pop stores."
» The businesses captured on video. click here