State of Hawaii

Dawson named
Hawaii’s film

By Tim Ryan

Donne Dawson will remain Hawaii's film commissioner responsible for coordinating the state's multimillion-dollar film production industry.

Dawson has been the state's acting film industry development manager since February 2000 when state film office manager Georgette Deemer resigned.

Dawson won over four applicants following an interview two weeks ago. Dawson will receive about $60,000 a year for the permanent civil service position.

Dawson was appointed in February 2001 just after Hawaii set a record of more than $136 million in annual film production expenditures in 2000. The 2001 production revenues fell to $70 million in part due to the cancellation of "Baywatch Hawaii" and the threat of a national writer and actor strike.

Production levels are skyrocketing this year with several feature films -- "Blue Crush," "Hostile Rescue," "The Big Bounce" and "Helldorado" -- so Hawaii's film industry revenues could exceed $100 million, Dawson has said.

Hawaii has major competition from other foreign and domestic filming locations, primarily Australia; Vancouver, B.C.; and Mexico, where costs are lower and there is a more favorable monetary exchange rate.

Seiji Naya, director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, said Dawson brings "a wealth of experience in film, media and communications" to an industry that is critical to Hawaii's economy.

"She has effectively re-positioned Hawaii to compete with other locations and attract more film production," he said.

In addition to serving as the state's film manager, Dawson will serve as executive secretary of the Hawaii Television & Film Development Board and as a member of the Hawaii Film & Entertainment Board.

Dawson said she is already moving forward with new initiatives: funding from the Legislature allowing long-awaited renovations at the Hawaii Film Studio next year; the new Hawaii Film Office Web site at; Hawaii being represented at several significant film industry trade shows and film festivals nationwide; and requesting money for the Film Development Board to administer grants for Hawaii filmmakers.

"These efforts are a critical part of strengthening film and television production in Hawaii, which has been identified as one of the state's most promising emerging industries," Dawson said.

Hawaii Film Office

State of Hawaii

E-mail to City Desk


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