Mauka to Makai
A short film by Alika Maikau and Jonah Okano
Mauka to Makai offers an unfiltered window in to a day in the lives of two cousins, who, while traveling from Kāneʻohe to Kailua, grapple with their identity, vices, and the familial bonds that make and break them.
This is Akamu's story.
Drug addled and a product of his surroundings, he struggles to find the right balance in life. Through the influences of his tight knit Kāneʻohe community, and the encouragement of his cousin Kaipo, he is given the tools to change his future, but the decision to do so remains his.
Pro tip: Keep up with Akamu on Holden's finsta - follow @akamu.kalaiwaa808 on social media for hilarious daily vlogs about da local boy lifestyle.
Mauka to Makai ... why we do it and who we are
As local, Hawai’i born, filmmakers, we are dedicated to telling stories about our islands that showcase both the beauty and the hardships that are present in a place often labelled as an undisputed paradise.
Paradise it may be - but it’s no secret to those who live here that life’s not always sunsets and Mai Tais.
With Mauka to Makai we hope to highlight the good that comes with the bad, while showcasing the authentic underbelly of O'ahu's windward side.
After a brief stint in sobriety, our leading man, Akamu, falls back off the wagon, leaving his closest confidant, Kaipo, to clean up his mess and try to make things right.
Set within the picturesque Kāneʻohe community, nestled in between O’ahu’s iconic Ko'olau mountains and along Kahalu'u's shore, this film goes from Mauka (the mountains) to Makai (the sea) as it aims to portray life on the windward side in all of its truth, no matter how rugged that may be.
A Note from Writer/Director Alika Maikau
On behalf of Jonah and the rest of the Mauka crew, we have been overwhelmed by the generosity the community has shown us thus far. To get to this stage of production is a testament to those seeking to see this film come to fruition.
With that being said, there is still a lot of work to be done in the editing room, and many financial hurdles to navigate, so if you like what you’ve seen from us thus far, and can spare it, any and all donations would mean the world to us!
I grew up in Kāne’ohe. The people are diverse, the culture is rich, and the rhythm of language is beautiful and complex, much like this film itself. I didn’t write this film to glorify drugs or violence, but rather, to champion the ideals of family and love that the Hawaiian culture is rooted in, for without it I wouldn’t be the man I am today.
Mahalo nui loa for your continued support. - Alika
What We Need
We are at a point in post-production where we know that we have something GREAT - but in order to get it to its highest quality, we needed to seek out passionate artists to lift us up. This is expensive, but we pride ourselves in being able to keep our film local - surrounding ourselves with creators who believe and relate to our purpose.
The funds raised by this call to action will be distributed towards the efforts made in post-production. This includes sound design (including custom thematic score), color correction, marketing, and distribution.
Throughout this whole, grueling, sweat inducing yet satisfying process of creating Mauka to Makai, we have grown as filmmakers and as friends. We are grateful for where we have been, for what we have gone through, and would like to invite YOU to join us on our next journey - to see it through until the very end.
Team Mauka to Makai
Thank you 'Ohina Short Film Showcase and 'Ohina Labs for making this film possible. Gerard Elmore and the rest of the founders and Board of Directors - we are so grateful to have an outlet to share our stories with the world. Thank you for what you are doing for grassroots filmmaking and those with a creative spirit in our islands.
Mauka to Makai won the Judges Award last year. Alika was able to work along side Black Panther co-writer Joe Robert Cole to enhance the script to where it stands today. Thank you Joe Robert Cole and thank you 'Ohina for all of your support.
A Word from our Cast
Our goal with this film was to be as authentic as possible when it came to depicting the community on O’ahu’s east side. Above all, the voices that tell these stories will be the ones which are remembered - we were so lucky to have found this ideal group of talented O’ahu locals to portray these characters. We wish them well in their future endeavors!
Meet a few of our outstanding cast below:
Holden Mandrial-Santos (Akamu)
Hey guys my name is Holden Mandrial-Santos. I was born and raised in kahalu’u and I play Akamu in Alika Maikau’s & Jonah Okano’s ‘Mauka to Makai’.
First off I couldn’t be more proud and thankful for all the hard work everyone has put into making this film. Seeing just how much work and dedication put into this film has given me a newfound respect for local, independent filmmakers. I am grateful to have been given a chance to contribute to a story that is so close to my heart.
I feel Mauka tells the stories of people we have all encountered at some point in our lives. Wether it be a family member or a long lost classmate, we have all seen the struggles of people just trying to make it under whatever circumstances they face and the affects of their decisions along the way. The parallels shared between the story and experiences in my life has me eager to watch the film myself.
Lastly, I just want to give a huge shout out to my family and friends back home in kahaluu.
WE OUT HEA!!!
Tira Akina (Kanoe)
First & foremost I’d like to thank Akua for placing me in the hands of Alika & Jonah, I am truly grateful for this. To be apart of this film is a blessing, it’s real & it’s touches so close to home on a personal level for me. I’m not innocent, I’ve gone through some phases & for them to shed some light on the reality of what some of our young kanaka maoli’s & locals live with growing up here in Hawaii is amazing. Most of us grew up with it & were exposed to this lifestyle young & so we felt influenced by it (if you don’t understand, watch the trailer.) I feel like people need to see this & be aware that this is a real dilemma not only in Hawaii, but all over. I’m sure everyone can relate in some sort of way, whether it’s themselves, a relative or a friend. With that being said stay up to date by following us on Facebook at https://m.facebook.com/maukatomakaifilm/ & Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/maukatomakaifilm & if you can please donate & share this so that this film can be created to reach its highest potential (why even do it if it’s mediocre?), please do!
P.S. Keep an eye out for Return to Life where I’m the leader of the Fuahi Wahine (Fire Mage Tribe) & as I play a featured taxi dancer in Last Taxi Dance. Also follow me on IG https://www.instagram.com/tiraakina/ & FB https://www.facebook.com/TiraHAkina/ A hui you!
Kawika Kahiapo (Kaipo)
Kawika Kahiapo plays Kaipo, one of the leading roles in the film Mauka to Makai. He has recently been casted as a lead actor in the film Keep You Float, also directed by Alika Maikau and Jonah Okano. As a Native Hawaiian born and raised on the windward side of Oahu, Kawika is proud to be a part of something that showcases the mountains and oceans which he grew up with. With little to no training, he is grateful to the entire cast and crew for all of their hard work, and the directors for their continued support throughout the process. Kawika also wishes to thank his strong and beautiful wife, Ayaka, who was pregnant with their third child during the time of production.
Thank you to our community for your support!
We could not have done it without our generous supporters, coming to us from all parts of the Hawaiian Islands.
Thank you to our sponsors: Fitted Hawai'i, Maui Tacos Kailua,Big City Diner Windward, Da Spot, Brue Bar Coffee, Koa Pancake House, Waiahole Poi Factory, and Windward Baptists Church.
And many mahalos to our generous community supporters such as Jackie Tufa-Marques, Isayas F Mandrial Jr., Chris and Helean Wakukawa, Nicholas Lucero, Matthew Nagato, Hisae Okamoto, and all of our other contributors via indiegogo.
Because of your generosity, we were able to make it to this point, to make our extreme efforts in to something substantial - something that we cannot wait to show off to the world!
But before we get there, we need to make one more run for the big leagues. We humbly ask that you help us get over the last few hurdles.
Mahalo nui loa and see you at the Ohina Short Film Festival and premier of Mauka to Makai on September 7th, 7pm, at The Hawaii Theater in downtown Honolulu.
Risks and challenges
Our challenges include a number of factors, including visibility, funding, and distribution. With your help, we will be able to create a quality film, worthy of submission to film festivals all across the nation and the globe. We thank you for your consideration.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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