Star-Bulletin Features

Thursday, August 23, 2001

Kailua-born Pyun
to film in 3D on the
Big Island

By Tim Ryan

Ever wanted to watch 3D films on television without having to wear those funny glasses? Now you can but you're going to need a high-definition television.

Kailua-Kona based Hawaii Filmwerks will use a 3D system in the action scenes of two, two-hour kick-boxing themed pilots to be filmed on the Big Island next month, that allows viewing of the high-definition or analog images without the aid of special glasses. Although the 3D images cannot be viewed without the high-definition set, the images will not be as blurry as in the past to those with regular TV sets.

The company is targeting its 3D technology and its digital broadcast expertise at the global entertainment content market, said Chris Curnan, president and chief executive officer.

Hawaii Filmwerks has licensed the first use of the special 3D system to Rigel Entertainment of Los Angeles for use in the six-week production of two "Kickboxer" high- definition television pilots with a combined budget of $3 million.

Director Albert Pyun's biggest
success was with "Cyborg," starring
Jean-Claude Van Damme.

The pilots, to be directed by Kailua-born Albert Pyun, are based on the successful "Kickboxer" motion pictures starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. Only the kickboxing scenes will be shot in 3D.

In addition, Rigel has contracted Hawaii Filmwerks to provide production and technical services, Curnan said. As part of the deal for the first of six digital programs, Hawaii Filmwerks convinced Rigel to set the pilots on the Big Island, citing the island's natural beauty.

The "Kickboxer" pilots will begin filming Oct. 7 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort where the production will be based. The two pilots will be shot back to back. Casting for the film will be announced next week, Curnan said.

Much of the filming will be done at the Hilton Waikaloa Village, with other sequences to be shot in Volcano, at a crater, with scenes of lava flowing into the ocean.

Some foreign distribution already has been sold for the pilots and producers are in negotiations with HBO for U.S. distribution, Curnan said.

Pyun, a B-movie legend, has appeared or contributed to more than 40 films. He was director on "Omega Doom," "Crazy Six" and "Alien From L.A.," in which a California beach bunny in search of her lost archaeologist father stumbles onto the lost continent of Atlantis instead.

And that's just the start. His other works include "Blind Fury/Omega Doom," "Kickboxer 2," "Captain America," "Brain Smasher -- A Love Story," "Hong Kong '97," and the "Nemesis" series, and was the screenwriter for "Ravenhawk."

Pyun is known for his small budgets, inventiveness and fast shooting.

He started his career as a cameraman for documentaries. While in Japan to to shoot a TV series, Pyun met Toshiro Mifune and became his assistant. When Pyun returned to the United States he created his own production company, ITM.

Pyun began his career in the U.S. with "The Sword and The Sorcerer" followed by "Radioactive Dreams."

Cannon Films gave Pyun his biggest success, "Cyborg," with Jean-Claude Van Damme. In "Down Twisted," Pyun helped launch the careers of two young actresses, Carey Lowell, the James Bond Girl in "License to Kill," and Courteney Cox, who eventually became one of the stars of the TV series "Friends," and starred as the news reporter Gail Weathers in Wes Craven's "Scream" franchise.

Hawaii Filmwerks' three employees have been on the Big Island for about a month.

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