A team of four high school students from Maui Huliau Foundation’s youth film-making program are making big waves with their film. In addition to being invited to screen at major film festivals, the team has won the Silver Award for their film submission to the 2018 Ocean Awareness Contest, sponsored by Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs. These students come from four different schools: Natalia Polinskey, Grade 12, Waldorf High School; Chloe Chin, Grade 11, Maui Preparatory Academy; Kaʻimi Kaleleiki, Grade 8, Lahaina Intermediate; and Amia Datts-Voluntad, Grade 8, Homeschooled.
The students participated in last year’s Huliau Environmental Filmmaking Club, a semester-long program that assists youth in grades 7-12 in making short films on environmental topics; Maui Huliau is currently recruiting for their spring program, with a deadline of February 25.
The 2018 Ocean Awareness Contest invited students to explore the impacts of climate change on the blue planet through visual art, film, music, poetry, or prose. Their film entitled The Ocean: Our Foundation was selected from the more than 1,700 Senior Division entries from around the world.
The four minute film features three local ocean advocates,ʻEkolu Lindsey (Polanui Hiu), Paige Alms (two-time Big Wave Women’s World Champion), and Lily Solano (Maui Ocean Center). Students combined footage of their three subjects, with stunning coverage of Maui’s coastline and marine life that they collected at Maui Ocean Center, to create a compelling case for protecting our ocean and marine life from the impacts of climate change. The film has been selected for Maui Film Festival, Wild & Scenic Film Festival in California, Youth Lens Film Festival in Canada, and Colorado Environmental Film Festival. The film was also recently included in the World Whale Film Festival in Wailuku.
“I loved the experience working with ʻEkolu, Lily and Paige,” said Chloe Chin, “They all value our beautiful ocean, but talking to each one provided a unique perspective on how our oceans are being impacted, and ways to raise awareness.”
Bow Seat, a Boston-based nonprofit, created the Ocean Awareness Contest in 2012 to teach teenagers about issues facing our local waterways and global ocean, and to empower them to speak up for these places and create positive change for our planet. Each year, the contest invites students to explore how human actions impact ocean health – with a focus on our roles as both problem-makers and problem-solvers – through the creative arts. Since its launch, the contest has engaged nearly 10,000 teens from 78 countries and all 50 U.S. states.
“Our participants’ works of art inspired and moved us with their passion and compassion,” said Bow Seat Executive Director Alyssa Irizarry. “Their diverse pieces illustrate that young people understand the challenge before them, and while they are understandably concerned, they are also enthusiastic about working toward positive change. We are thrilled to provide an opportunity to amplify their voices in the global discourse on climate change, which are too often absent from political and cultural conversations. These Maui students are a part of something big, and something growing: a global community of young people who care about climate action and are speaking out about the changes they want to see for their future, their community, and the many non-human inhabitants that they share this planet with.”
The 2019 Ocean Awareness Contest, “Presence of Future,” is open now through June 17, 2019, to students ages 11-18 worldwide.
The film can be found on Maui Huliau Foundation’s YouTube channel at Youtube.com/mauihuliau.
Students in grades 7-12 from all Maui schools are invited to apply for Maui Huliau’s spring filmmaking program; the deadline is February 25. The program begins March 3 and meets mostly during spring break. Find more information and apply online at Mauihuliaufoundation.org/hefc. For questions call (808) 757-2100.