What a year. #Blessed.

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What a year 2014 has been. It was  full of wonderful projects, promotions, publicity, and special events. I’ve been blessed to attract work that I love and care about. Not many can say that. And while I’m excited to see what will be in store for 2015, I thought I’d share just a few highlights of the blur that was this year.

Ola Ka Ha was a great first time event put together by the hard working #bossgirls, Mailani Makainai and Kau’i Dalire at HA Enterprises. It brought attention to the Iolani Palace and the repairs needed to keep it pristine. It was so well attended and showcased some of the best of our island talent. Even more exciting is that it built community awareness and hopefully, the event will become an annual one.

Hula Nation Filmworks and Keo Woolford have been on a wild ride with its first feature full-length film, The Haumana. If you haven’t heard of it, you may have been under a rock. This has been one of the most successful projects I’ve ever had the pleasure of representing. In short, the film is what I affectionately term as “the gift that keeps on giving,” because it does just that. It has won numerous film festival awards, has been in over 200 theatrical screenings, and is now on its international tour in Japan and Mexico, with Europe on the horizon.

KoAloha Ukulele is like family to me. The team led by Mom & Pops Okami and sons, Alan & Paul Okami, are some of the hardest working individuals I have ever met. I’m always inspired by their work ethic and also their huge hearts. They create one of the most beautiful instruments in the world, the ukulele, and have brought love into the world through their woodcraft via community performances and workshops at the Grammy Museum and the Japanese American National Museum, among others.

Sean Olanui Robbins and Kaimi Hanano’eau- two artists that make me so happy for the future of music in Hawaii. Both are up-and-coming stars and full of talent, yet very humble and respectful. Sean is known for his progressive slack key style and is the protege of Cyril Pahinui. Kaimi is known as the lead of the alternative/rock/reggae band, HiRiZ, but also recognized as a soloist with an extensive music background. It will be fun watching these two rise to the top.

When I relocated back home to O’ahu from L.A. a few years ago, my goal was (and has always been) to help others by sharing their stories. I’m hoping to continue same in 2015, and by the way things are shaping up, it looks like there are more exciting projects on the horizon. Happy holidays and I hope we get to work together in the new year. I am truly #blessed.

 

“The Haumana”

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About two years ago, I got involved with a dear friend’s (Keo Woolford) film project.  The working title back then was “Under The Hula,” and chronicled the life of a cheesy Waikiki entertainer named “Jonny Kealoha,” and his journey back to his hula roots.  This indie film was a labor of love and qualified as a (super) micro budget project by movie standards.  Since I have past experience in casting, location scouting, and running lines with actors, I thought this would be something fun to work on so I helped wherever I could.  I was there at the beginning of the casting process and got to see about 90% of the local actors that would end up being in the film.  I watched young men read lines for the coveted lead roles, watched women read for the part of “Timo’s Mom,” and watched Kumu Hula, Robert Cazimero, put the actors through initial paces to access dance skill level.  Later, I assisted with a host of other odds and ends that needed attention.

Soon, filming began with shooting at various locations all over O’ahu-  beaches, in a hula studio, in a make-shift “nightclub,” in a high school auditorium, and in a gorgeous high-end home.  Then once that part was completed, it was time for a full year of editing.  Scoring the film came next, as well as the development of original songs.  Finally one day, Keo came over to my house so I could screen the film.  I was in awe.  It was a rough cut, but it was awesome and I knew that this would be a gem to promote and share with the world.  Fast forward to October 2013 and the indie film renamed as “The Haumana,” has taken the islands by storm, garnering awards along the way, and winning fans left and right.  The film is so special and has been building such momentum in a most authentic and genuine way-  mostly through a grass roots campaign.  People see the film, love it, then share it on.  This movement of “The Haumana” is the most amazing thing to watch.  Organic is the word that comes to mind.

Now, the film is enjoying a U.S. tour in film festivals as well as in 4-wall theaters.  Some involve Hawaiian or Hula organizations participating as well, which makes sharing the film even more fun.  If you haven’t had a chance to see it and would like to find out how you can do a screening  in your city, go to www.haumanamovie.com for further info.  Trust me, you’ll love this film.  Congratulations to Keo, the cast, and crew!  I am so proud to be a part of this love project.