The theater in Lanai City has stood empty and unused for years, but that won’t stop visitors and residents from gathering around premier feature films this weekend at the free Lanai Film Festival, hosted at the Lodge at Koele. Filmmaker and event producer Ken Martinez Burgmaier will bring the independently produced festival back for its third year. Highlights include the premier showing of his film Aunty Nona Beamer–Malama Ko Aloha and live music from Paula Fuga, Kevin Brown and Sonny Lim.
“We understand the importance of the arts and are privileged to be able to assist with bringing the festival back to the island for all to enjoy,” says Tom Roelens, the Four Seasons Lanai general manager. “We are honored to host the Lanai Film Festival with such revered filmmakers and artists presenting their works to the Lanai Community and resort guests.”
The festival features many hard to find Polynesian films. The short Fish Bowl by Kiyo Hatta was shown briefly on Independent Lens, but Hatta–best known for her film Picture Bride–died abruptly right before the film’s premiere. Fijian Vilsoni Hereniko won the Hubert Bals Fund award (International Film Festival Rotterdam) to create his and Fiji’s first feature length film–The Land Has Eyes–which stars Fijians.
Of particular local interest to Maui, there’s The First Glide, the first feature length film on stand up paddleboarding. Directed by Mike Waltze, it features Laird Hamilton, Dave Kalama and other Maui watermen at the sport.
“Filmmakers Shawn Hiatt and Mike Waltze and myself will be on hand for introductions and Q & A for our films,” says Martinez Burgmaier. “It shows that we do have a film industry here and many of our films go on to big festivals and national broadcast TV. My Keola Beamer Kiho’Alu went on to PBS and won an Emmy and won at 13 film festivals. Some of our other films have won Sundance, too.”
The Lanai Cultural and Heritage Center will also show some films from its “Voices of Lanai” series, which was established in 2009 to create video oral histories of the island. The 20-minute short Chief, chosen as one of the must-see films of Sundance in 2008, weaves the story of a Samoan chief living as a taxi driver in Honolulu.
The collection of films will be shown in screenings over two days in the Great Hall, Music Room and Library at the Lodge at Koele. Of course, the Lanai Film Festival is also a music festival, with several live music appearances around the island and a nose flute workshop.
“Grammy winner Sonny Lim and Calvin Hou are in my Aunty Nona Beamer film,” says Martinez Burgmaier. “They will be performing live at the festival along with Paula Fuga and Kevin Brown.”
LIST OF FILMS
2 CARS ONE NIGHT – Short by Taika Waitit. Two Maori kids find a connection in an unusual location. 12 min.
AUNTY NONA BEAMER–MALAMA KO ALOHA – Documentary by Ken Martinez Burgmaier. This film on Aunty Nona Beamer’s life chronicles how she has shared her beliefs and love of the Hawaiian culture.
CHIEF – Short by Brett Wagner. Semu Fatutoa is a taxi driver in Honolulu trying to forget his past, but his traditional Samoan body tattoos are a grim reminder of the tragedy he left at home. 21 min.
FISH BOWL – Short by Kayo Hatta. A funny look at growing up in the 1970s through Hilo girl Lovey Nariyoshi and her BFF Jerry.
HANA REMEMBERS HER SONS–THE SARAH HOE – Documentary by Ken Martinez Burgmaier. The mystery of the lost fishermen of The Sarah Joe, that left one day from Hana only to be found with more questions than answers.
HOLOMUA – Short by Vince Keala Lucero. A native Hawaiian community struggles to find their identity through preservation of precious sites. 10 min.
I SCREAM FLOATS & SUNDAYS – Short by Leah Kihara. Three vignettes explore contemporary Hawaiian women’s lives in video poetry. 11 min.
MASSACRE AT KAUPAO BEACH – Short by Ken Martinez Burgmaier. This film explores the tragedy of what happened at Molokai’s beloved Kaupao Beach. 7 min.
MRS. MAFUA’S HAT – Short by Rachael Walker. A Samoan woman and a Palagi nurse bridge cultural differences with headwear. 8 min.
ROLLING DOWN LIKE PELE – Animated Short by Laura Margulies. A tale of Hawaiian hula and chant overlaid with mixed media animation. 4 min.
SUNDAY WIND – Short by Michael Wurth. The humble routines of three farmers are forever changed one Sunday morning.14 min.
THE LAND HAS EYES – Drama by Vilsoni Hereniko. This first-ever Fijian film stars local actors who had never seen a film before this one. It’s a coming of age story of a young girl who faces her troubles with inspiration from a warrior woman god. 87 min.
THAT FIRST GLIDE – Documentary by Mike Waltze. Stand up paddle boarding with Laird Hamilton, Kai Lenny, Dave Kalama, Gerry Lopez and more. 74 min.
VOYAGES – Short by Herb Kane and Paul Csige. Kane’s historical art comes alive as a small group of Polynesians take to the sea. 18 min.
Also: HAPA, LOCAL KINE, FLY GIRL, A LEGACY, POLYNESIAN JOURNEY, KALAUPAPA, THE LITTLE THINGS, LANAI CULTURAL HERITAGE CENTER FILMS.
FRIDAY, Feb. 8
• 6-9pm: Lanai Film Festival opens with live music at the Lodge at Koele.
SATURDAY, Feb. 9
• 9-11am: Start the morning with live slack key music from Kevin Brown and Grammy winner Sonny Lim at Coffee Works.
• 11:30am-2pm: Enjoy lunch and live music with Robbie Ray Lopaka at Cafe 565.
• 1-2:30pm: Free Hawaiian nose flute workshop with Calvin Hoe at the Lodge at Koele.
• 5-9pm: It’s Polynesian Film Night–Malama Ko Aloha; The Land Has Eyes; Rolling Down Like Pele; Chief; Local Kin; That First Glide and more. Screenings will be held in the Lodge at Koele’s Great Hall, Music Room and the Library. Live Hawaiian music with Sonny Lim, Paula Fuga and Kevin Brown.
SUNDAY, Feb. 10
• 9:30am-12pm: Eat breakfast as you listen to musician Robby Ray Lopaka at No Ka ‘Oi Grinds.
• 9:30am-12pm: Or eat breakfast at the Lodge at Koele with slack key master Kevin Brown.
• 7-9pm: Dinner at the Lodge at Koele with Sonny Lim.