After losing her home, a young girl in Ancient Hawai‘i is forced to make a life-changing decision and persist against all odds in the face of a deadly volcanic eruption to save all that she holds dear.
A STORY OF PERSEVERANCE: A fictional tale based on Hawaiian values
Throughout the history of film, Hawai‘i has been portrayed through the same Western perspective: the natives are uneducated and savage, and the women objectified. Yet in reality, the complexities of the civilization in ancient times are fascinating and inspiring, and something that we think a general audience would embrace if given the chance. The Hawaiian people are known for being brave warriors who fought vicious battles, but are equally known for their deep compassion and respect for life. From fellow human beings to the plants and animals that inhabit the earth around them, their core principals were always centered around the most important element: love.
Our vision for this short film is to tell a story that encompasses these elements of the Hawaiian culture in a gripping way that will allow an audience to be captivated by a side of paradise they have probably never seen before. We also want to explore a major theme throughout the history of the Hawaiian people which is persistence. Ho‘omau in the Hawaiian language means to persevere and persist. It's the ability to continue forward in righteousness no matter what obstacles lay before you to make the good in your life last, and is a core value of the Hawaiian people. It's also an appropriate theme and lesson relateable to many struggles found within our modern society today. This is what our heroine faces: a series of decisions in which she must decide whether to persevere in the face of adversity and survive, or surrender to a much darker fate.
Overall, we intend to bring audiences on a gripping journey through ancient Hawai‘i with a backdrop of beautiful landscapes, and a universal and primal story at its core. It is a story about right and wrong, pono and hewa, creation and destruction, and ultimately about choosing family and love over vengeance.
ARTISTIC STATEMENT: How we want to tell this story
The Hawaiian islands are a place of undeniable beauty and spiritual resonance. Our aim is to capture this by treating every frame of the film as a scenic painting. To add to this aesthetic we will shoot a majority of the film in static shots to give it a much more classic cinematic quality.
By shooting this film on-location in Hawai‘i, we have incorporated places where ancient Hawaiians lived and breathed centuries ago. Hollywood movies are shot in Hawai‘i mostly to use a scenic background to tell a non-Hawaiian story. This is a story happening authentically in that setting. Through clever framing and blocking, we plan to communicate a large portion of the story and its themes using minimal dialogue to give the film a universal appeal and allow the audience to connect to the characters’ struggles regardless of their cultural heritage or language. However, we will also be introducing many people to the melodic and poetic nature of the Hawaiian language by having our dialogue spoken in Hawaiian, or ʻŌlelo Hawai‘i.
Our vision for the film is to offer the excitement, intrigue and suspense of an action/adventure film within an authentic Hawaiian setting. We are incorporating historically accurate sets, props and costumes to complement a cast of Polynesian talent, strong female characters and incredible shots showcasing remote and unexpected landscapes in the Islands.
We are driven to tell this particular story for several reasons:
- Hawai‘i is our home, and we want to do our part to create and share quality Hawaiian content produced and rooted in the Islands' film industry.
- We hope our film will inspire and support the creation of more diversified and major roles for Polynesian talent both here in Hawai‘i and around the world.
- Our film is aimed at being a quality short in its own right, but is also poised as a proof of concept to be step one in the journey of producing an ancient Hawaiian feature film in the next five years, a concept that has never been realized before.
- It’s an opportunity to return to the roots of the action/adventure genre. We want this film to be an example of the genre stripped down to its purest form, with incredible performances, minimal visual effects and beautiful cinematography anchored in historic reality.
WHY WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT
As a team we have pooled all of our savings and resources to shoot the portion of the film we have completed so far. Favors were called in, money was borrowed and now we’re facing the reality of needing additional funding and support to complete the project and share our vision with the world.
Film-making is everything to our team. It started as a passion, became a hobby and now for many of us has also become a full-time career. But beyond this, film-making is what brought us all together in the first place. Making movies together fostered the friendships that have helped us to grow as storytellers and as a production team.
With your support we will be able to fund six additional days of shooting and everything that encompasses: permitting, transportation, equipment rental, feeding and housing the crew and special effects. It will also fund our post-production process, including color correcting, sound mixing, editing, visual effects and film festival submissions.
Kenji was born and raised in Yokosuka, Japan. Growing up in a foreign country he developed an affinity for American movies and quickly taught himself the craft of film-making from watching behind-the-scenes videos and online tutorials. Beginning in high school, Kenji began writing and directing his own short films that have played at film festivals in Los Angeles, Hawai‘i, New Zealand, and Europe. In addition, Kenji has worked as a set production assistant and director’s assistant on numerous films and television series including Jurassic World, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Battleship and Hawaii 5-0.
Born and raised in Japan, Yamato began work in the film industry shortly after moving to Hawai‘i in 2009, first collaborating with creative partner Kenji Doughty to produce commercials and a dozen low-budget short films over several years. Learning the industry from the ground up, Yamato has gained a vast knowledge of film production from early development through post-production from his work as a set production assistant and producer’s assistant on numerous films and television series including Jurassic World, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Battleship and Hawaii 5-0. Most recently Yamato served as an associate producer on the independent feature film Man Up and a producer on the award-winning documentary Twinsters.Twinsters premiered at SXSW 2015 and received the “Special Jury Recognition for Editing” as well as the“Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary” at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.
Ryan is a an accomplished native Hawaiian Cinematographer, Director and Producer born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai‘i with a passion for film through surf cinematography. Ryan graduated from San Diego State University in 2010 with a degree in Television, Film and New Media. His work can be seen on National Geographic, Discovery Channel, ABC, CBS, NBC, Disney and Red Bull Productions. His most notable credits include Chasing Mavericks, Point Break(2015) and his directorial debut Twinsters. Twinsters premiered at SXSW 2015 and received the “Special Jury Recognition for Editing” as well as the“Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary” at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.
Ty is an accomplished native Hawaiian director and producer of short, feature and documentary films. Ty was the recipient of the Sundance Institute’s NativeLab Fellowship in 2011. His short film Stones was the first Hawaiian language film to ever screen at the Sundance Film Festival. Ty is the director of the Emmy award winning series Family Ingredients. His latest feature documentary Visions in the Dark: The Life of Pinky Thompson was the Closing Night film for Hawai‘i International Film Festival in 2014.
Vince grew up spearfishing and surfing the oceans of West O’ahu. After forming videography and A/V company AFP, Vince focused on work as a Cinematographer, lensing indie favs of the Hawai‘i International Film Festival like Public Access, Valtor, Symphony for One, Wahine O Ke Kai, and PBS Documentary Feature Nā Kamalei: Men of Hula. As a native Hawaiian filmmaker, Vince is committed to developing works from a unique perspective. Throughout his 14 years of film-making, his passion has always been to produce works that positively affect the way people think about their impact on the environment, their communities, and themselves.
Brian is a world-renowned waterman and a pioneer of modern surf rescue techniques. He has worked as a Hollywood stunt coordinator on numerous major motion pictures and has traveled the world promoting water sports and teaching water safety. Brian is the son of legendary surfer Buffalo Keaulana and carries on his legacy as a pillar of Hawai‘i’s surf community today. He was recently the subject of a feature in National Geographic Magazine.
Raised in Honolulu, Noel studied creative writing at the University of Southern California and returned home after graduation to begin building a background in public relations, advertising and publishing. She is a frequent contributor for Hana Hou! Magazine where she works as an Editorial Assistant and Events Editor and fulfills her passion for sharing stories of the Islands.
HO‘OMAU : BACKSTAGE EPISODE 1A behind the scenes look at our arrival/prep day on the Big Island:
Episode 2 and beyond will be available through our exclusive E-blast photo and video updates, available as a reward for donations $5 or higher.
Risks and challenges
There are always a number of risks and challenges associated with film-making and our project is no exception. Luckily to offset these we have a dedicated, experienced cast and crew committed to the project, and we have a crucial portion of the film already completed.
The main challenges we would face if successfully funded include:
- Maintaining an Accurate Setting: Our story takes place in ancient times, so we will be challenged to keep every detail of our set design as accurate and true to the time period as possible. We will tackle this issue by working with our cultural advisors and drawing upon a large amount of research and fact checking.
- Language: Our film is spoken entirely in Hawaiian and it will be a challenge to make sure that our cast is using proper pronunciation, and that our translations are accurate. To tackle this we will be drawing upon the knowledge of several script advisors who speak the language fluently, along with two of our cast members who also speak the language fluently to coach and assist any cast members who are having difficulty.
- Shooting on Location: We plan to shoot the remainder of the film on the Wai‘anae Coast of O‘ahu which is over an hour from most of our teams' homes. We will be faced with finding lodging for the cast and crew during the majority of our shoot, and will be faced with long commutes and early mornings for the remainder of it. To tackle this we will be as smart with our budget as possible to find lodgings that make sense for our size of group, and will do our best to carpool and take turns making the journey.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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