Patrick Makuakane is the subject of the film "American Aloha: Hula Beyond Hawaii," and will be a participant in the Pacifika-New York Hawaiian Film Festival opening Friday in New York.

Hawaiian film fest
in New York

A little bit of Hawaii will make its way to downtown Manhattan Saturday and next Sunday via the Pacifika-New York Hawaiian Film Festival presented by the Hawai'i Cultural Foundation.

The festival will open with the world premiere of "American Aloha: Hula Beyond Hawai'i," a film by Lisette Marie Flanary and Evann Seibens that will be shown on PBS later this year, followed by a reception featuring a performance by Robert Cazimero.

The films will be shown at the Cantor Film Center or the New York University Tisch Film & Television Theaters, with workshops held at Dance Space Center. In addition, there will be opening and closing night chants by hula innovator Patrick Makuakane and Cazimero. Both will also host hula workshops Saturday and next Sunday at Dance Space for experienced students.

Pacifika-NYHFF is the culmination of the HCF's efforts to respond to a growing interest in Hawaiian culture in the New York tri-state region, developing programs that create a deeper understanding of ancient and contemporary Hawaiian traditions.

Screenings will be accompanied by question-and-answer sessions with the filmmakers and some of their subjects.

Featured in "American Aloha," Makuakane is the director of Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu, based in San Francisco. Raised in Honolulu, Makuakane began dancing hula at age 13 and went on to become a professional hula dancer with Robert Cazimero's Na Kamalei. He is currently studying with hula master Aunty Mae Kamamalu Klein in Hawaii as part of the prestigious Irvine Fellowship in Dance.

The schedule of events and highlights are as follows:


8 p.m.: Opening night event at Cantor Film Center with premiere of "American Aloha: Hula Beyond Hawai'i," featuring a question-and-answer session with director Lisette Marie Flanary. Gala reception to follow, honoring all of the festival filmmakers and featuring a live performance by Robert Cazimero.


10 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Hula workshop with Patrick Makuakane at Dance Space.

Noon: "Act of War: The Overthrow of the Hawaiian Nation" chronicles events that led to Hawaii's annexation, described by President Grover Cleveland as "an act of war." Produced by Na Maka o Ka 'Aina and the Center for Hawaiian Studies, University of Hawaii. In Tisch Room 109.

1:30 p.m.: "Ka'ililauokekoa," first narrative film produced entirely in the Hawaiian language; directed by Kala 'Ilkona Ontai and produced by 'Aha Punana Leo. In Tisch Room 108.

3 p.m.: "I Scream, Floats & Sundays": Three vignettes offer a glimpse of Hawaiian women's perspectives. Directed by Leah Kihara and produced by Leanne Kang Ferrer and Kihara (subject of question-and-answer session). In Tisch Room 109. Also, "Velvet Dreams" (New Zealand). Journey to the South Seas as the narrator searches for a seductive subject of a black velvet painting. Directed by Sima Urale and produced by Vincent Burke.

4 p.m.: "Skin Stories," a film chronicling the history of tattoo in the Pacific. Work by director/co-producer Emiko Omori and editor/co-producer Lisa Altieri. In Tisch Room 108. Repeats next Sunday.

5:30 p.m.: "An Uncommon Kindness: The Father Damien Story" follows the story of the priest's devotion to the remote leprosy colony, Kalaupapa, on the island of Molokai. Directors: Stephanie Castillo, Walter Josten, Daniel Marra. Producers: Jeff Geoffray, Edwin Santiago Castillo, Josten and Marra. In Tisch Room 108. Repeats at 3:30 p.m. next Sunday.

8 p.m.: "Heart of the Sea," the life story of the pioneer of women's professional surfing Rell Sunn and her battle with breast cancer. By director-producer Charlotte Lagarde and director-cinematographer Lisa Denker (subject of question-and-answer session). In Cantor Film Center 200. Repeats 2 p.m. next Sunday.

next Sunday

Noon to 2 p.m.: Ladies hula 'auana workshop with Robert Cazimero at Dance Space.

1 p.m.: "Kamehameha: A Legacy Renewed," an intimate portrait of Kohala's people and an art conservator whose life is profoundly changed. By director-producer Mary Tuti Baker. In Tisch Room 108. Also, "We Are Who We Were -- From Renaissance to Affirmation" depicts the challenges and struggle for Queen Lili'uokalani to defeat a treaty of annexation in the U.S. Senate. Produced by Na Maka o ka 'Aina and the Hawaiian Patriotic League.

2:30 p.m.: "Wini Shaw -- Hawaiian Diva": New York film critic David Noh presents this tribute to the groundbreaking star who performed opposite Bette Davis, Dick Powell, Irene Dunne and others. In Tisch Room 108.

4 p.m.: "Nihi": World-renowned waterman, big-wave surfer, stuntman and musician Titus "Nihi" Kinimaka is the subject of a film by director Brooks Guyer and producer Jimbeau Andrews. In Tisch Room 108.

6 p.m.: "Kumu Hula: A Tradition of Teachers" explores the journey in becoming a kumu, or master teacher. By director-producer Michael Cowell. In Cantor Film Center 101. Also, "Biography Hawai'i: Maiki Aiu Lake," a portrait of the renowned kumu. Entertainer Robert Cazimero, one of Lake's protégés, will introduce the film by director Joy Chong-Stannard.


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