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Media academy creates statehood documentary


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POSTED: Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Academy for Creative Media has produced a statehood documentary that originated in 2004 with a grant and a mission to “;allow a platform for diverse points of view on the topic,”; according to producer/director Anne Misawa, an assistant professor at ACM.

The “;huge project,”; as she described it, will screen in two venues. A one-hour cut of “;State of Aloha”; airs at 7:30 p.m. today on PBS Hawaii's “;Insights”; show. An 80-minute feature-length version will be part of the Hawaii International Film Festival in October.

Initially, a mix of professionals and ACM students focused on 30 key interviewees of varying backgrounds from many segments of the community, including Sen. Daniel Inouye, Don Ho and Jon Osorio.

“;There is a current dialogue about statehood that is quite interesting,”; Misawa said. “;As a filmmaker, I did not want to go in with my personal agenda. It's not a sovereignty piece. It really is as fair as any documentary can be.”;

The more they explored the topic, the more they felt the need to address how and why Hawaii became a state. What were the motivating factors? Who wanted it to happen and who didn't? Essentially, the film became a general introduction to the subject in an effort to stimulate further discussion.

After showing a rough cut of “;State of Aloha”; to academics on the mainland, Misawa said she was surprised by the reaction. Most had no idea that statehood was an issue at all. “;They had no context for it,”; she said.

To share more of the history of Hawaii beyond the islands, Misawa and the team who worked on the project hope to screen the film at festivals around the country. ...

ORGANIZERS OF the Hawaii International Film Festival recently hosted a member appreciation gathering open to the public. Drinks and pupu flowed at SoHo Mixed Media, a downtown bar/art, music, movie space. The festival doesn't start until October, but we got a sneak peek at trailers for some of the films, all of which look intriguing. In particular, “;The Real Shaolin,”; about kung fu warriors, piqued my interest (visit http://www.hiff.org to watch trailers).

Hawaii International Film Festival director Chuck Boller and director of programming Anderson Le said the long-awaited “;Princess Kaiulani”; will premiere Oct. 16 at the Hawaii Theatre. In addition, HIFF is working with ABC to devote the first weekend of the festival to honoring “;Lost”; before the final season begins. This could include classes and seminars with the principal actors from the show, as well as costumers, set designers and location scouts. The festival also managed to secure “;Lost”; star Daniel Dae Kim for the HIFF trailer, which will be a simpler, 60-second version of the typical short-film production. ...

IN ADDITION to several best-selling authors such as Mitch Albom (”;Tuesdays with Morrie,”; “;Five People You Meet in Heaven”;) and Ron Powers (”;Flags of Our Fathers”;), several accomplished screenwriters will make presentations at the Hawaii Writers Conference (formerly called the Maui Writers Conference) next weekend, including Michael Arndt (”;Little Miss Sunshine”;), Bobby Moresco (”;Crash”;) and Diane Lake (”;Frida”;).

While speaking with conference co-director Shannon Tullius for a previous article, she and I misunderstood each other and I mentioned that in her efforts to incorporate more Hawaiian culture into the three-day affair, she would make a few remarks in Hawaiian. Partially true. Someone will speak in Hawaiian, but not Tullius. Instead, Ilihia Gionson of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (and a previous participant in the conference's Young Writers Program) will do the talking.

You can register at the door ($495 for all three days for kamaaina), or sign up in advance at www.hawaiiwritersconference.com.