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'Ryan and Sean' comedy hits the heights on iTunes


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POSTED: Thursday, July 16, 2009

'Remember Ryan Higa and Sean Fujiyoshi, the Hilo kids who had a little extra time on their hands and started making videos that proceeded to go viral on YouTube, garnering millions of views? If you do, then you probably recall that they snagged a movie deal for “;Ryan and Sean's Not So Excellent Adventure”; and enjoyed a well-attended premiere (limo and all) here last year. When the comedy debuted on iTunes this week, it shot to No. 1 in the independent feature film category, so obviously they still have a following, and it looks like Zemrack Pirkle productions has achieved a paradigm shift in the film industry by tapping these YouTube sensations for business. Visit http://www.ryanandseansmovie.com/storePaypal.php ...

HONOLULU filmmaker Brett Wagner has launched a new Web site featuring his growing collection of television commercials and trailers from his award-winning shorts and feature films. Easy to navigate and entertaining, http://www.wagner- vision.com offers a glimpse into Wagner's array of projects and allows people to stay up to date on his latest efforts.

His “;bio”; page begins, “;A Google search on Brett Wagner suggests he is a congressman from California, a better-than-average lacrosse player, and the butler in 'Bicentennial Man.' Wrong! He is none of these.”;

In an e-mail message, Wagner indicated the site went live about six weeks ago. His latest blog entry details the screening of the Sundance Film Festival favorite “;Chief”; in California's Big Sur earlier this month ...

I WANT TO mention the Surf Film Festival again because it continues for another week at the Honolulu Academy of Arts, and I was able to take a look at two additional films.

“;Dear & Yonder: Daring Stories of Ladies United by the Sea,”; from directors Tiffany Campbell and Andria Lessler, covers the history of women in surfing with vintage clips and interesting facts. But the 70-minute movie is at its best when delving into the unique existence of a few women.

Watching bodysurfer Judith Sheridan glide down enormous waves, one arm outstretched, in winter waters under the Golden Gate Bridge would be enough. But her story is particularly moving when she shares her feelings about getting diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. In the end she's simply grateful that she seized opportunities to enrich her life while she had the chance.

“;There's never a time when you're perfectly ready to start something new,”; Sheridan, who is also a geophysicist, says in the film. “;I've learned that you put yourself out there and then you see if you're ready.”;

Boat captain Liz Clark is equally inspiring with her solo journey through Central America and French Polynesia—with possible aspirations to continue around the world—surfing, diving, fishing and learning local culture wherever she goes. There seems to be little this woman can't do.

A compelling mix of tunes from French Polynesia and independent musicians makes for a soundtrack that rises above the typical indie film, as does the incredible cinematography, for which some credit belongs to Oahu-based Dave Homcy (”;Surfwise”; and “;Sliding Liberia”;).

Another film in the series, “;Musica Surfica,”; explores the relationship between music and surfing. But there's a twist. The experiment involves surfing finless boards of all sizes, just like the ancient Hawaiians did. It's rather amusing to watch former world champion Tom Carroll lose his bearings and tumble off a small wave before learning to adjust his weight and balance to get some control of a board with a mind of its own.

Like the pursuit of excellent and unusual music, this kind of relatively uncharted experience in the ocean allowed the surfers to let go of everything they had known before, create a new mindset and explore the freedom that accompanied it. And in doing so, they honored the Hawaiians who started it all.

“;(Hawaiians) weren't just riding these boards to get out and back to the beach, filling in the time; rather, it was an act of self-expression of a very deep and profound nature,”; surfer and musician Richard Tognetti says in the film, which screens at 1 and 7:30 p.m. today ...