Page 7 - MidWeek - Feb 17, 2021
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                                                                  There’s something going on in Hawai‘i filmmaking. We’ve had filmmakers and actors for years here, but a possible leap in evolution has become im- possible to ignore.
Goonies, a sprinkle of Drunk History, and a big Native Ha- waiian culture 101 cherry on top. The dialogue is quippy, and the story is heartfelt. Only people who hate puppies will despise this film.
and directed by Alika Maikau, Moloka‘i Bound is a simple, one-scene, eight-minute film about a young father attempt- ing to reconnect with his son. Holden Mandrial-Santos plays the father and, man, there’s something there. The realness of his performance sings with potential. By the middle of the film, I was thinking, imagine a dose of Danielle Zalopany in this thing. And a couple of min- utes later, Zalopany showed up as the mother, and I laughed.
part because of the lead, Man- drial-Santos. He is understated- ly authentic.
the healing arts from Tahiti to Hawai‘i. The pulse of the Na- tive Hawaiian film community is becoming loud and clear.
When Finding ‘Ohana pre- miered on Netflix Jan. 29 and landed on the streaming ser- vice’s coveted top 10 (it’s No. 2 as I write this), I was pleasant- ly floored. A movie set in Ha- wai‘i starring a largely Pacific Islander cast making big waves on the national scene? I don’t remember seeing this before.
But it’s not just Finding ‘Ohana. There are rumblings of other things as well. Chris- topher Yogi’s feature film I Was a Simple Man, which stars Steve Iwamoto and Con- stance Wu, made Sundance (I haven’t seen it yet, but plan to). A short film titled Moloka‘i Bound won the Oscar-quali- fying Cynthia Lickers-Sage Award for Best Short Work at ImagineNATIVE. Written
Like Waikīkī, which I re- viewed last year and starred Zalopany, Moloka‘i Bound is not a perfect film, but it’s very good. And it’s good in large
Specifically, there’s some- thing going on in the Native Hawaiian filmmaking com- munity in general. Native Ha- waiians are beginning to seize control of their narratives, and maybe Hollywood is rightful- ly starting to notice. Recently, a wonderfully animated short directed by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson and Daniel Sousa titled Kapaemahu also quali- fied to be in the running for an Oscar nomination. This short is about the ancient dual male and female spirits who brought
I’ m rooting for Finding ‘Ohana to maintain a high Netflix ranking. I’ m rooting forIWasASimpleMantodo well on the festival circuit. I’m rooting for Moloka‘i Bound and Kapaemahu to get Oscar nominations. I’ m rooting for local and Native Hawaiian filmmaking in general. Oscar nominations will be announced March 15. The two short films will not be available to the general public again until the nomination results are offi- cial. I Was a Simple Man will
Kea Peahu stars in the Netflix family film Finding ‘Ohana. FILE PHOTO
probably show in other festi- vals before it’s distributed. In the meantime, watch Finding ‘Ohana, and please feel free to root with me.
Finding ‘Ohana is an ador- able family film, a sort of sun- dae with two scoops of The
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