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Star-Bulletin Features

Thursday, November 2, 2000

Hokule‘a crew
stars in new

By Burl Burlingame

'Olelo has been around a decade now, and it's had its low points, among them any one-camera show featuring a guy in a bad hairpiece yammering about galactic conspiracies.

There have also been medium-cool points -- endless documentaries about taro production -- and now, what is surely a high point: "Hokule'a -- Guiding Star," an hourlong documentary co-produced with Bishop Museum.

"Hokule'a" will be screened at the Hawaii International Film Festival, at 5 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Hawai'i Convention Center.

An advance tape of the production had rough edges (it's still being tweaked), but was impressive enough to recommend.

There have been so many documentaries done on Hokule'a that the subject ought to have its own mini-film festival.

And why not? The Hokule'a canoe and her voyages, the vision of historian/artist Herb Kane and navigator Nainoa Thompson, are among the most important cultural events to occur in the Pacific in the last quarter-century.

"Guiding Star" shines on its own. Instead of being a stiff lecture or a more-Hawaiian-than-thou propaganda piece, it is an affectionate postcard on the effect the canoe has had on the people who have sailed upon her.

Novice director Leah Kihara neatly inverts the usual mode of dealing with the subject. The canoe becomes a catalyst instead of the centerpiece.

Kihara also uses sound extremely well, immersing the viewer into the wet, rugged and vast world of oceaneering.

Trying to find Rapa Nui is no paddle across the pond. It's rainy and cold, and a squall on the horizon can hide an entire island.

"Guiding Star" puts you there the way other docs haven't.

The video is produced by Lurline McGregor and Na'alehu Anthony.

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