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A Documentary Film




life, well-being

Ola is a feature length documentary which explores the widespread

social factors that helped create hawai‘i’s health care crisis, and offers an intimate look at individuals who have, in the face of these challenges, brought hope to their communities.

Much of the health care debate has centered on transformation of the ‘system,’ which is generally considered to be the network of doctors, hospitals, and clinics, and how this network interacts with insurance companies, utilizes technology, and practices medicine. Yet, despite spending trillions each year on health care - $9 billion in Hawai‘i alone the state of our health is worsening. This obsession with the ‘medical system’ has permitted the social causes of poor health to go unnoticed. These ‘determinants’ - education, poverty, employment, housing, and nutrition, among others - actually account for the majority of health outcomes in our society, yet are rarely discussed in this context. Throughout the documentary we hear directly from experts who understand the inner workings of the medical system, and learn to define health care as a complex, interconnected, and interdependent organism requiring an entirely new approach. Most films about health care focus on sensationalizing the problem, or on the myriad parts of a broken system. In contrast, Ola is a film about hope and the power of communities to heal themselves. We travel to some of the most rural spots in Hawai‘i and discover selfless individuals who have created innovative solutions to the challenges affecting their communities. We discover how one man’s leadership spawned a youth corps that builds better lives for needy residents of the small, isolated town of Hāna, Maui. Deep in the Puna district of the Big Island of Hawai‘i we witness how a teacher and a principal, both avid runners, turned health into a powerful educational asset. And, in the magical Wai‘anae valley on the island of O‘ahu, we learn the simple power of planting seeds to feed your neighbors both physically and spiritually.

Ola honors our common island heritage and demonstrates that the path to a healthy, sustainable future for Hawai‘i can be found in our oldest, most cherished values.

evidence shows that the environments in which people live directly affect their health and mortality

good health care must include more than the medical system

w w w. o l a m o v i e . c o m


full size, high-resolution stills can be downloaded here: moviestills

production stills

background There are many organizations addressing health disparities and a number of programs battling the larger social causes of our poor health. Among health care professionals and policymakers In Hawai‘i there were several ad hoc working groups focused on the need to raise awareness of social determinants among the general population. Some groups discussed a variety of ways to create a Hawai‘i version of “Unnatural Causes,” the ground-breaking PBS series on social determinants, while others advocated for a more solutions-oriented treatment of the issue. In the end, both approaches were embraced as the Hawai‘i Primary Care Association, known for its focus on innovation and community-based planning, began development of a Hawai‘i-based film on health care. Pre-production on the movie began in early 2012, with primary filming and production concluding in March 2013.

filmmakers matthew nagato writer / producer / director Born and raised in rural Waimānalo on the island of O‘ahu, Matthew spent many years dreaming of ways to escape small town hardship, only to realize that he’d spend the rest of his life trying to get back and recapture the magic of his wonder years. He has worked in Hawai‘i’s health care industry since 1987, including stints in an acute care hospital, the state’s largest health insurance plan and, most recently, in the nonprofit public health sector. In 2011 and 2012, Matthew managed two critically acclaimed media projects for the Hawai‘i Primary Care Association. The Feel Good awareness campaign for health centers — a multimedia effort that included print, commercial, and theater distribution — received a Gold Pele Award in 2012, and was his first collaboration with Jeremy and W|W Studios. The animated “What is a Community Health Center?” project received national and international attention for its clear and inventive use of video to educate and improve advocacy. He speaks regularly at health care conferences and to medical organizations on system transformation, health care reform, and innovation. Ola is Matthew’s first film.

jeremy snell director of photography / editor Jeremy is a devoted cinephile whose photography, cinematography, and filmmaking have been recognized and praised worldwide. He was born in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawai‘i, and his childhood living and traveling throughout Asia. His travel experiences have given Jeremy’s work a unique aesthetic and cultural perspective, which are the hallmarks and essence of this young artist. In addition to his various commercial photography projects, Jeremy’s evocative world portraiture demonstrates a keen awareness for capturing raw, human moments. His film and video work is extensive, including a number of personal short documentaries (Rico, 2012; Fair Change, 2011) and music videos (“Piya,” Mohsen Naveed; “Hakunargenta,” Steso) that he wrote, filmed, and produced. Jeremy’s cinematography work includes numerous commercial, nonprofit, and personal projects. When he’s not working, Jeremy travels the world with his camera, capturing humanity through portraiture.

stacey hayashi associate producer Stacey is a former software engineer whose entrepreneurial instincts have lead to a series of successful business enterprises, including her ongoing project to document the heroism and valor of the famed 100th Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Her manga, “Journey of Heroes,” forms the basis for her upcoming miniseries on the famed Go For Broke soldiers from Hawai‘i.

kara henderson associate producer Kara is a proud member of the Hāna community whose directing, cinematography, producing, and editing work demonstrate her diverse skills as a passionate filmmaker. Her powerful and emotional work includes films from The Life I Choose series on addiction, and short films about the Ma Ka Hāna Ka ‘Ike program.

the journey

These heroes show us, by example, the power of communities to heal themselves.

We almost missed our flight. It was early, maybe 5:00 a.m., just another day of filming on another neighbor island; the kind of exhausted day when you find yourself on auto pilot. Until the moment you step behind the camera, it’s hard to understand how involved making a movie is. How a thousand little details mean everything. And so it was that morning, when I saw through bleary eyes that we were about to fly to the wrong town, with no time to make the correct flight. It was in that moment that I realized filmmaking is not only a surreal experience, it’s one you have to love deeply in order to make it through mornings like that. You also have to love the subject of your movie, to care about the message you’re conveying through words and images and sound. That kind of emotional investment doesn’t come easily, and I know that as much as I enjoyed this experience, it’s not every day that a subject comes along and captivates you enough to go through the grueling process of turning an idea into a movie. When this film was first proposed, I wasn’t very interested in doing it. Health care documentaries can be dark and scary things. The sky, after all, is falling. The health care system is collapsing and everyone is trying to fix something that seems on the surface to be beyond repair. So, to make a film about social ‘determinants’ - one of those words that sounds vague but also ominous - and tell people that in order to be healthy we had to address...Poverty? Homelessness? Equity? Education? Now that was a scary idea. Ultimately, it was the people who appear in our film that changed my perspective. I came to realize very quickly that what these heroes are doing in their towns is more than just affecting social issues or the health of people who live

there. They are showing us, by example, the simple power of communities to heal themselves. I admire and have deep affection for everyone who welcomed us into their communities and into their lives. I hope we’ve done justice to their work while telling a compelling story about how interdependent we are. I am also eternally grateful to my dedicated crew, without whom this simply would not have been possible. It is a privilege to live among the gifts that make Hawai‘i such a unique, special place, and I wanted to ensure that this film was a love letter to our islands; culturally, visually, and emotionally. Because of those gifts, in the midst of scarcity we found abundance, in the midst of anguish we found joy, and in the midst of hardship we found hope. We found that health is everything. In the end, we were able to get on the correct flight that morning. Which means that somehow, the Universe wanted to get this film made. It’s hard to catch lightning in a bottle, or to have lightning strike twice but, with your help, perhaps we can do this again.

matthew nagato producer

written and produced by: matthew nagato director of photography: jeremy snell associate producers: stacey hayashi, kara henderson visual effects: scott na‘auao for wall-to-wall studios editors: jeremy snell, alexander bocchieri sound: ross okamura for audiobytes running time: 74 minutes language: English production year: 2012 genre: Feature length documentary format: high definition 1080 © 2013 Hawai‘i Primary Care Association


production, exhibition, and distribution of this film was made possible in part by funding from the following

HAWAI‘I STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH Chronic Disease Management and Control Branch Asthma Control Program Bilingual Health Services Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program Comprehensive Cancer Control Program Coordinated Chronic Disease Program Diabetes Prevention and Control Program Healthy Communities Program Heart Disease and Stroke Program Tobacco Prevention & Education Program

Family Health Services Division Office of Primary Care and Rural Health

Press Kit - Documentary "Ola"  

This is the complete press kit for HPCA's documentary on social determinants of health in Hawaii. The documentary, "Ola," was an official se...

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