Cathy Tanaka and Jason Suapaia host "Hawaii's Reel Stories."

From silver screen
to cable television

"Hawaii's Reel Stories," debuting at 11 tonight on Oceanic 16, is a well-intentioned program that introduces local filmmakers and actors to island audiences, takes viewers behind the scenes of local independent productions, and presents a glimpse of glitz at this year's Sundance Film Festival and Hawaii's presence there.

"Hawaii's Reel Stories": Premieres at 11 p.m. today on Oceanic 16. Repeats at 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. tomorrow and Sunday, 9:30 p.m. Thursday, 5:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Friday, and 11 p.m. Saturday.

In the premiere, producers Don Brown, Stephanie Castillo and Dana Hawkins interview independent filmmaker Nathan Kurosawa, who directed "The Ride" about a modern-day surfer's encounter with Duke Kahanamoku, Anne Misawa ("The Falls"), Anita Allison ("Agent Orange"), and Filsoni and Jeannette Hereniko, who produced and directed the Fiji-based film "The Land Has Eyes."

Also included are interviews with some of Hawaii's film commissioners at Sundance, and Maui Film Festival director/creator Barry Rivers at his annual Coconut Wireless Cafe party.

If this first show is designed to tease the audience about future topics, then "HRS" has succeeded. But the subjects, except for Paulson and Rivers, come across a bit sedate and uninspiring, which likely can be attributed to the line of questions and subsequent editing, than to the subjects.

When Paulson speaks about the rigors of filming in Fiji, the emergencies that popped up, and how she had to solve them, the viewer understands clearly when she urges budding filmmakers to avoid giving up, even in the face of catastrophe.

Rivers' rapid-fire narrative about his VIP party, networking, and the business of doing business at Sundance may have been even more compelling if he had been given more time to say exactly who attends his party, and how that helps his festival and Hawaii. The setting for Rivers' interview looks like a typical dining room rather than at the scene of one of the world's most prestigious film festivals.

"The Ride" footage seemed too long, as did the rundown of the film's screening venues. It would have been more interesting to hear additional anecdotes about its filming.

The show gets high marks for mingling known filmmakers like the Herenikos and Kurosawa with up and comings. But to maintain weekly viewership, "HRS" needs its subjects to convey their passion for film.

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