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Spotlight on Maui The Valley Isle Celebrates Big Production Year Maui Talent Makes a Splash

RUNNING WILD! Inside the World of an Animal Trainer

Kauai Goes National!

Justin Finestone Hawaii Island’s New Film Commissioner

Photo by Bruce Omori/ExtremeExposure.com







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James Baker


Katie Sauro ksauro@media-inc.com SALES MANAGER

Katie Higgins


John Rusnak


Sonjia Kells


Michelle Hatcher, Sam Rockwell, Liz Weickum WEBMASTER

Jon Hines


Audra Higgins


Lois Sanborn


Hana Productions shoots on the idyllic beaches of Maui. ON THE COVER

7 Inside Sight & Sound Studios

35 Larson Talent Hawaii Makes a Splash

10 Storytelling Reimagined


13 Kauai Shines in the National Spotlight

41 Inside the World of an Animal Trainer

15 Maui Production Update: The Valley Isle Celebrates Biggest Production Year Since 2009 19 The Valley Isle’s Vibrant Production Industry 27 Dream Come True 32 Chameleon Talent Keeps Busy in 2016 and Beyond 4 HAWAII FILM & VIDEO

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Hana Productions on the set of a Chase United Mileage Plus Visa Commercial WLSSX½PQIHSR1EYM

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INSIDE SIGHT & SOUND STUDIOS Kevin Sawicki of Sight & Sound Studios dives with mermaids off Makaha Beach. Photo by Vincent Ricafort

By Franz Schmutzer, Production & Rental Manager


here do we start as filmmakers? A crunched VHS clamshell with your favorite movie inside. Looking through the viewfinder of your dad’s camera. Getting yelled at by an Assistant Director for the first time.

Panasonic showcases their new line of cameras at Sight & Sound Studios’ warehouse.

Billy Peña, Director of Photography, filming at Waimanalo Beach Park.

Crew manning their battle stations aboard the USS Missouri (BB-63).

I told the owner of Sight & Sound, Bill Maheras, “When I met you, everything we had was crammed into the back room of a warehouse at Sand Island.” He replied, “It used to all be crammed into the back of my car!” For 40 years, William “Bill” Maheras has been a director, producer and director of photography in Hawaii—shooting, lighting, hustling and getting yelled at by the best of them. He’s done some of his own yelling too. “This is a production company,” Bill says, “but we have everything and we rent it.” The inventory at Sight & Sound Studios is something Bill has curated over the course of a career. Things built to last. Equipment maintained. The elements of production carefully thought through so in that critical moment—in the heat of battle—you’re covered. It’s built on experience. Sight & Sound Studios is a cinema equipment rental house with the DNA of a production company. For nearly 30 years we’ve serviced local, national and international clientele in the Hawaiian Islands, filling the service gap between the biggest studio features and on-going network episodics. We rent gear, we provide crew, we manage the production, we develop content, we can service a show from top to bottom from the first email inquiry to packing the truck on the last day; or we can rent you a single C-Stand... (I’ve seen smaller orders.) There’s more going on in Hawaii than one might realize. It doesn’t begin and end with Jurassic World and Hawaii Five-0. Sight & Sound lives in between. Running the press junket with the stars or getting that call at the last second to run a crucial piece of gear to set. Unique to our outfit is its new location. All equipment and operations are centrally located in Honolulu at the Na Lama Kukui Building beside the Dole Cannery off Nimitz Highway. Kevin Sawicki, an equipment manager and client services rep at Sight & Sound, also serves as a camera prep tech and heads the VTR department. Of the new facility Kevin says, “We’ve nearly doubled in space. You can access grip, electric, camera, audio, production supplies and all three of our production vehicles from one hawaiifilmandvideo.com • ISSUE TWO 2016


ARRI Amira / Fujinon Cabrio 85-300mm / ARRI WCU-4 3-Channel FiZ

location right in the heart of Honolulu between Waikiki and the airport.” That convenience this past year has helped the company tackle some of its largest projects ever, and at a pace it hasn’t seen before. Servicing the entire camera department for Comedy Central’s Adam Devine’s House Party, Universal Pictures’ press junket for Jurassic World, the grip & electrical department for Toyota’s RAV4 commercial, the new video library for Tommy Bahama’s branding and marketing revamp, and countless press jobs, local rentals, Japanese commercial packages, gun-for-hire ENG gigs, NFL Network stage lighting, documentary one-offs, passion projects… This is Hawaii, right? When did L.A. migrate so far west? We attribute much of our growth to this new space—a faciliTommy Bahama Restaurant, Bar & Store. Photo by Peden + Munk

Kevin Sawicki geared up for shooting underwater. Photo by Vincent Ricafort

ty that can handle the capacity and be what Hawaii production needs. It’s allowed us to build out the state’s best dedicated camera prep room and the only grip & electric warehouse in the town area. We’ve remained at the cutting edge of cinema technology—the first to bring ARRI’s Alexa camera system into Hawaii—now carrying the ARRI Amira and Alexa Mini, in addition to RED Dragon, RED Weapon, and the latest Sony and Canon models. Not to mention the glass… (Okay, let’s mention it a little.) 8 HAWAII FILM & VIDEO

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RED Dragon / Angenieux Optimo 28-340mm

ARRI Zeiss Ultraprimes, Cooke S4i Minis, Zeiss Super Speeds, Angénieux, Fujinon, and Alura Zooms, Canon EF primes, the list goes on, and of course it’s rarely enough for clients. They always want more. That’s why we maintain close ties with our friends at the largest houses on the mainland to supplement anything we need. Our relationship with Keslow Camera has been integral for supplying additional specialty items on our larger projects, bringing in rare anamorphics and Alexa XT bodies. In the lighting & grip world, we’ve continued to refine our base grip truck packages, making them easier to work with while continuing to provide a well-thought-out set of tools and gear to accomplish anything. Additionally, we carry the largest and most diverse stock of LED lighting, carrying the new ARRI Skypanel, Kino Flo’s Celeb series, Filmgear, Fiilex, Litepanels and more. All of this equipment is great. But we’re talking about what Hawaii needs, and that’s not just gear—it’s service. We’ve fostered a collective of artists and technicians. We bring the tools. We crew the jobs. We are an ally to Producers and Directors. We treat the crew with aloha. Working with the best technicians in the state, our crew contacts are a definite point of pride. It’s impossible to not collaborate on an island, and over the years our set-up has attracted many partners in crime for us to deploy on projects. Cinematographers, ACs, Gaffers, Key Grips, audio techs, an army of PAs—bringing all these people together, briefing, managing, scheduling and paying them is no easy task. But it’s a lot more pleasant when you can work with professionals that you trust. We’ve come a long way. We all started as filmmakers. We all remember the excitement of clicking a shutter or pressing record for the first time and hoping that what’s in front of us looks good. Sight & Sound Studios is aiming and focusing itself at Hawaii’s film community—we think it looks great. HFV

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STORYTELLING REIMAGINED By Justin Finestone, Hawaii Island Film Commissioner


loha from the Big Island! Our ďŹ lm ofďŹ ce has gone through many changes over the past few months—call it a reimagining. In fact, that’s our new tagline: “Storytelling reimagined.â€? But before I tell you our story, let me introduce myself. I’m Justin Finestone, the new ďŹ lm commissioner for the Hawaii Island Film OfďŹ ce. Notice I didn’t say Big Island. That’s one of our major changes, identifying our island by its name, not a nickname. After all, what and where is a Big Island? Could be anywhere, right? It doesn’t really say much about who we are. We are Hawaii Island, that’s our brand, that’s our name. I came to the Hawaii Island Film Office from Bend, Oregon, where I was communications director for the city for eight

years. I’ve spent the past 15 years working in public sector marketing and communications. Prior to that, I spent about 15 years working in television news and production. While I have a lot to learn about my new home and career, I think my past experience gives me a great foundation to launch our “reimaginedâ€? film office. I arrived in May and it’s been a busy summer. We’ve had a steady stream of commercials, indie ďŹ lms and reality shows shoot on Hawaii Island. Everything from Vogue China to Rica Famosa Latina (Google it!). We’ve had some big productions scout here as well. I think one of the most exciting developments comes out of the GVS Transmedia Accelerator program launched here in April 2014. The program is a public-private initiative that utilizes disciplined development models, mentorship and coaching relationships, and seed ďŹ nancing to empower Hawaii’s creative entrepreneurs to launch their original transmedia franchises. You can learn more about it at gvsaccelerator.com. One of the projects in the program attracted the eye of investors and is now fully funded and ready to move forward. Look for more details in the coming months. It’s fantastic to have projects like that on Hawaii Island and we want to keep the momentum going. That’s why, along with the ďŹ lm ofďŹ ce name change, we recently launched a new website. HawaiiislandďŹ lm.com was long overdue. It gives ďŹ lmmakers and others


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A GVS Transmedia Accelerator event on Hawaii Island.

looking for locations a comprehensive, one-stop shop of information on what this island offers. The site highlights our incredibly diverse locations, the seasoned crew available on island, production facilities we have to offer and the state tax incentives. County film permits can also easily be submitted online. We want to break down the barriers to shooting on Hawaii Island, not create new ones. In addition to hawaiiislandfilm.com, we’ve expanded our social

media presence on Facebook (facebook.com/HawaiiIslandFilm), Twitter (@Film_Hawaii) and Instagram (Hawaiiislandfilm). So follow us for the absolute latest on what’s happening in our biz on Hawaii Island! It certainly is an exciting time for film and video in our state, and I’m excited to meet and work with as many of you as I can. If you’re on Hawaii Island, please give me a call—even if it’s last minute. I’ll find the time. Mahalo! HFV

Mauna Kea, the highest peak in the pacific, overlooking Hilo Bay Photo by Extreme Exposure - ExtremeExposure.com

www.hawaiiislandfilm.com Justin.Finestone@hawaiicounty.gov (808) 961-8366

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Left to right: Ashley Smith and Donne Dawson of the Hawaii Film Office and Frecia Cevallos, County of Hawaii – Dept. of Research & Development.

By Randy Francisco, Creative Industries (Film) Specialist, County of Kauai


he State of Hawaii and county film commission offices participated in the annual Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI) 2016 Show, which was held in Los Angeles this past April.

Thanks to the leadership of the Hawaii Film Office and Walea Constantinau, Honolulu Film Office Commissioner and AFCI Board of Director, Hawaii was well-positioned to again showcase the industry by being prominently located at the front corner entrance of the event. The colorful and welcoming displays included fresh Kauai tropical florals, reprinted posters of scenic and iconic locations, new and updated collateral, along with the annual Hawaiian Airlines wall calendar and updated 2016 Hawaii Production Index. The combination of elements helped to connect commissioners and staff with key decision-makers. Many attendees were also drawn to the relaxed and hospitable atmosphere of the booth and the freshly-brewed Hawaiian coffee, as its tantalizing aroma filled the air and greeted everyone into the booth. Prior to the start of the show, several meetings with location managers, directors and others were scheduled, which, fortunately for Kauai, led to some key contacts, both old and new. Throughout the summer and fall, several follow-up conversations led to projects occurring on the Garden Isle. A few weeks after the show, in June, Kauai County participated in the Third Annual Hawaii on the Hill in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii and U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono. The focus of this highly successful event was to show policy- and decision-makers what the State of Hawaii is doing in business, especially manufacturing and other sectors. For Kauai, it

also served as a new vehicle to highlight creative media, including film and technology. Thanks to the Kauai Chamber of Commerce and 13 businesses and organizations, including the County of Kauai, attendees were able to showcase the island, which included generous food and beverage samplings of iconic Kauai brands such as Kauai Kookie, Kauai Coffee and Koloa Rum. Kauai’s film industry was also on display, including distribution of new collateral materials that were developed for the AFCI in April: the iconic Hawaiian Airlines 2016 On Location In Hawaii wall calendar, which depicts six of nine photographs of movies made on Kauai, and copies of the second edition of the Hawaii Movie Guide. While a first at this D.C. event showcasing Kauai’s film industry, the 1,500 attendees at this record-event fondly remember Jurassic World, Pirates of the Caribbean and other movies made on Kauai. A year earlier, at the 2015 D.C. event, Senator Hirono also commented about the opening of Jurassic World, which had a D.C. premiere that Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. also attended and welcomed the invitation-only guests. The senator highlighted the importance of the film industry to Hawaii’s economy and mentioned her conversation with director Steven Spielberg. Following the D.C. event, Mayor Carvalho and I left for New York City for the continuation of the Hokulea Malama Honua Worldwide Voyaging events that included a special event at the United Nations as part of the World Oceans Day. Throughout the week, both the Hawaii On the Hill and the Hokulea Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage were also broadcast to Hawaii residents and videotaped for television specials and documentaries. The week concluded with the Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge Canoe Regatta along the Hudson River, which included several Hawaii teams, including two from Kauai. All of these events spotlighted the Garden Isle and evoked fond memories for many current and former Hawaii residents. HFV hawaiifilmandvideo.com • ISSUE TWO 2016



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A press junket for Angry Birds was held at the Four Seasons Maui.

Maui Production Update THE VALLEY ISLE CELEBRATES BIGGEST PRODUCTION YEAR SINCE 2009 By Tracy Bennett, Maui County Film Commissioner


aui County continues an incredibly busy 2016, with over 35 commercial shoots and photo shoots, garnering 4,400 room nights to our hotels, 218 production days, and over $11 million in production spend − our best year since 2009. We’ve yet to land a major studio feature, but continue to push forward in marketing Maui County, especially to commercial producers and agencies, independent producers, and the repeat publications that frequent Maui for our beautiful locations.

Positive momentum was gained early in 2016, with Cinelease partnering with Pan Pacific Studios, formerly known as Maui Film Studios, and there were several potential suitors for

Shots from Maui filmmaker Brian Kohne's highlyanticipated film Kuleana. PHOTOS BY JACK GRACE

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the studio, but at present, the studio is empty of equipment and has gone back into the hands of Paradise Beverage. Our biggest project so far in 2016 was MTV’s most popular reality show, Are You the One?, which filmed Season 4 last spring. While it proved challenging to a few neighbors in the Haiku area, the project provided several of our union members with jobs for nearly two months, as well as many other nonunion jobs, vendors, car rental companies and our island tourist attractions. Other Maui-filmed projects included Food Network and Guy Fieri’s popular Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives, which featured several Maui restaurants and food trucks on this highly rated show, which aired on July 1. USA A Conrad Hotels commercial shoot, with Maui-based company Network’s Chrisley Knows Hana Productions. Best also filmed an episode on Maui, which aired August 23. Sony Pictures chose the Maui backdrop to host their Angry Birds press junket back in April, giving Maui international media exposure for this successful animated film. Our local filmmakers have made quite a name for themselves in 2016, with Matt Yamashita’s documentaries Sons of Halawa and Roots of Ulu making the rounds at film festivals, and a screening at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in January. Brian Kohne continues his edit of his highly anticipated film Kuleana, with local actors and crew making up a majority of this follow-up to Get A Job. Accomplished Maui-born filmmaker Destin Cretton just wrapped his follow-up to award-winning Short Term 12, with Oscar winner Brie Larson and Naomi Watts for their Montreal-filmed Lionsgate feature film The Glass Castle. Buzz continues to build for Disney’s upcoming holiday animated feature Moana, with several Hawaii-born actors lending their voices, including Maui’s Branscombe Richmond, who is also a regular on Showtime Network’s Roadies. Surf Break Hotel and Thy Kingdom Come, TV projects written by Maui’s Stefan Schaefer, continue to push forward to get picked up. As I approach the end of my third year as the Maui County Film Commissioner, I continue to strive to bring more union jobs to Maui, assist in building Local 665 membership, educate the younger generation about the different jobs and trades in the industry, and continue to nourish relationships with our local government officials, representatives, residents, business owners, and those already making a living in film/TV. HFV For more information about filming in Maui County, visit www.filmmaui. com. 16 HAWAII FILM & VIDEO

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Brian Kohne (left) on the set of Kuleana.

Maui Film Commissioner Tracy Bennett with Maui's House Representative Justin Woodson at the Association of Independent Commercial Producers trade show in New York.

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On set with Chase United Mileage Plus Visa Commercial shoot.

By Sky Pierce and Shawn Spillett, Hana Productions


aui has long been an idyllic location for productions of all kinds. Not only does the Valley Isle provide geographically unique and amazing locations, but there is an impressive collection of talented, professional crew and equipment ready at a moment’s notice.

Although Oahu is often looked to first for large-scale productions, Maui now has a growing and strong network of skilled and experienced crew, state-of-the-art equipment rentals, and capacity to host any size production from small, local shoots to full-scale film productions. There seems to be some misconception that only Oahu has sufficient crew, equipment and infrastructure for anything but the smallest

photo shoot. Time and again, we talk to potential clients who have been misinformed and led to believe that if they use an outer island their production expenses will skyrocket because “everything” will need to be flown in. The fact is, Maui is home to a vibrant and growing production community. There are photographers, camera assistants, videographers, digital techs,

wardrobe stylists, hair and makeup artists, caterers, prop stylists, editors, gaffers, key grips, water safety professionals, producers, location scouts and managers, and more—all local to the island and extremely knowledgeable and skilled at what they do. This idea of hiring locally instead of flying in crew is not only the right thing to do, but it makes the most financial sense and will have significant impact on the

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Left: Behind the scenes at MTV’s Angry Weekend Brunch Special to promote the Angry Birds movie. Right: On set in the jungle filming 360 degree VR Video for Hawaii Tourism Authority.

bottom line of a production. At Hana Productions, we know this firsthand, having produced shoots on every

major island this year. One of those recent shoots took us to epic locations on four islands in eight days. We put together a

travel team of essential crew from each of those four islands and hired additional local support crew on each island we visited.

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Even that job came in under budget. Hana Productions began as a small location company in the most remote part of the state. We knew that it was possible to make shoots run smoothly and within the budget, even way out at the end of a long and winding Hana Highway. Since then, we have grown to provide production and location services statewide and we consider our humble beginnings an example of what is possible on a larger scale. If managed and planned properly, clients can take advantage of the benefits of outer island locations while staying within their budgets. Every island provides varied and unique possibilities. There are talented people, available equipment and spectacular locations all around the state. Maui has proven this in recent years, and none better than 2016. If managed properly, clients are consistently impressed by what Maui has to offer, and thrilled with the results. They reap the benefits of far less crowded and rare locations, reduced traffic, experienced crew, and a higher (25%) tax incentive. HFV Hana Productions provides full production and location services statewide. Recent clients (on Maui) include MTV, Chase United Visa, Hawaii Tourism Authority, Anthropologie, Waldorf Astoria and Conrad Hotels, and NFL Films. Visit www.hanaproductions. com for more.


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Client/director keeping an eye on the monitor during a video shoot for Conrad Hotels.

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Photos: Mark Moquin



Maui filmmaker Kenneth K. Martinez Burgmaier on the set of his latest film, 2307: Winter’s Dream.

Dream Come True



he latest feature-length film from Emmy-winning Maui filmmaker Kenneth K. Martinez Burgmaier, entitled 2307: Winter’s Dream, is currently touring around the globe, screening at film festivals worldwide.

Burgmaier, who served as executive producer, teamed up with fellow filmmakers Joey Curtis (Oscar-nominated writer/director) and producer Robert Beaumont to make Winter’s Dream a reality. The film was shot over the course of the last three years, filming

Burgmaier with the cast of the film. hawaiifilmandvideo.com • ISSUE TWO 2016


Burgmaier brings some warm aloha to the freezing-cold set of Winter’s Dream.

One of Burgmaier’s other recent projects was directing a Quincy Jones tribute film, which featured interviews with Billy Dee Williams (far left) and Jeff Goldblum (far right).

in the harsh winter of Buffalo, New York, as well as along the Canadian border, in Yosemite, and in underground Los Angeles locations. Finally, the team brought the film back to Maui, where they did the final edits at Burgmaier’s Makawao Studio. The sci-fi thriller is being hailed as the Blade Runner of this decade and is described as “Mad Max on ice.” Here is the film’s synopsis: The year is 2307 A.D. The earth is frozen over and virtually uninhabitable. The manmade Chimeric Virus wiped out over 75% of the population. The remaining humans live underground, unable to survive the sub-arctic temperatures. With no “man power,” scientists bio-engineered Humanoids that possess great strength, speed, and tolerance to extreme cold. A rogue humanoid named ASH-393 escapes from captivity and threatens to lead a humanoid rebellion against mankind. Arizona Federation leader, General Trajan, sends an elite team of Spartan 7 soldiers to hunt down and 28 HAWAII FILM & VIDEO

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terminate ASH. Decorated veteran humanoid killer, Commander Bishop, will lead the team and face his greatest foe. Following its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival in January, Winter’s Dream had two exclusive screenings at the Cannes Film Festival in May, where it was also featured on the front cover of Cannes’ Screen International Film Market Magazine. Later in May, the film had its Hawaii premiere at the 11th annual Big Island Film Festival. After several successful screenings, the film has garnered interest from festivals in New York, Los Angeles, Florida, Chicago, and Spain, among others, all requesting the film for their audiences. Winter’s Dream is not the first feature that Burgmaier, Beaumont and Curtis have worked on together. In fact, the trio of filmmakers has worked together for over two decades, producing such films as the Sundance award-winning film Quattro Noza: Streets of Legend,

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Burgmaier and director Joey Curtis.

Emmy Award Winner Sundance Award Winner Billboard Music Award Winner Na Hoku Hanohano Award Winner 2014-2015 AAF Pele Award Winner Hawaii Music Award Winner 2307 WINTER’S DREAM Movie 2016!

On set of Winter’s Dream.

distributed by Lionsgate, and their first film, Brother Tied, another Sundance selection and award-winning film. Other projects include Blue Valentine, co-written by Curtis, which was nominated for an Oscar, and the short film The Pimp & the Rose, directed by Curtis and produced by Burgmaier and Beaumont. The latter film, starring Jack Nicholson’s daughter Lorraine Nicholson and the great character actor Harry Dean Stanton, had its world premiere at the Big Island Film Festival in 2014 and won the American Advertising Federation’s “Gold Pele Award” in 2015 for Cinema Advertising – Movie Trailers Category. Next up for the filmmaking team is a Winter’s Dream sequel and two more feature films. Not one to rest on his laurels, when he’s not working on award-winning feature films, Burgmaier also keeps busy directing and producing commercials (including the Maui Brewing Company TV commercial currently airing on Hawaiian Airlines flights), TV specials, events and more. He recently directed a Quincy Jones Tribute Film at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood with his Jazz Alley TV and HawaiiONTV film crews, and produced the 6th Annual Maui Jazz & Blues Festival in September. HFV For more about Burgmaier, visit www.jazzalleytv.com and www.HawaiiONTV.com. 30 HAWAII FILM & VIDEO

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Maui served as the backdrop for a Clorox commercial, and Chameleon Talent provided the actors.



ince 1994 Chameleon Talent Agency on Maui has represented actors and models professionally for film, television, video and photographic assignments. Cynthia Clark, founder and owner of Chameleon Talent Agency, came to Maui from New York with a career background in producing commercial photography campaigns and culminating in her directing television at HBO’s Comedy Channel (now known as Comedy Central). Her experience in the fast-paced New York City market serves her well in welcoming and working with crews that arrive on Maui from around the world. Clark’s work allows her to showcase and feature local talent of all ages, ethnicities and skills in acting and modeling jobs year after year.

Chameleon Talent Agency’s most recent projects include providing principal talent as well as extras for national and international commercials, network television and international print advertising campaigns. For the second year in a row, Viacom’s Nickelodeon network 32 HAWAII FILM & VIDEO

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and Mystic Art Pictures hired Chameleon Talent Agency to search for island talent to star in Paradise Run, a hit game show featuring teams of two between 11 and 14 years old. Clark spent six weeks searching for extremely confident, energetic, personable pairings. This meant long days in which she was scouting talent at local the-

Nickelodeon’s Paradise Run returned to Maui for a second season, and once again Chameleon Talent found the teams that would compete on the show.

Chameleon Talent provided talent for a Clorox commercial shot on Maui.

aters, sport team meets, school career night events, dance classes, etc. To put the casting call out to the community, she was featured on local TV news, produced a public service announcement and utilized social media outlets. In the end, she was able to compile a list of nearly 100 creative teams of outgoing, energetic children eager to show their chemistry on camera. “This show was a hit in its first year, so they were green-lighted for multiple seasons,” said Clark. “I’d like to think this had to do with the local talent we discovered here on Maui.” Chameleon Talent Agency recently booked featured principal local talent, Kawika Nunes, on a national union commercial for Clorox conceived by DDB California and produced by Society, Inc. For this commercial, which was shot at Maui’s majestic Makena Beach & Golf Resort, Clark also worked as extras casting director

to provide the background actors. When Maui Jim Sunglasses came to Hawaii to shoot a new international ad campaign, they hired Chameleon Talent Agency to find fitness talent—specifically runners, yoga enthusiasts and swimsuit models. In her role as casting director, Clark hired a local videographer and set up a casting session, which included partnering models and having them improvise scenes with new Maui Jim products. She was successful in booking five principal talent, as well as their wardrobe stylist, through Chameleon Talent for the four-day shoot on both Maui and Oahu. This commercial, conceived by Doe Anderson Ad Agency and produced by Richard Sven Shelgren, featured the work of director of photography Karsten “Crash” Gopinath. The shoot was for national and international broadcast, web and industrial usage. To wrap things up, Chameleon Talent Agency can’t forget the “bread and butter” jobs—major resort & spa property advertising shoots, like the one recently released for Starwood Resorts. For this shoot, Chameleon Talent “created” four different families out of talent from local casting sessions. These families were then photographed on four different days around the Starwood properties and at beautiful locations all over the island of Maui. The talent were featured having a luxurious, leisurely, vacation adventure in paradise! Cynthia Clark’s Chameleon Talent Agency has a definite talent for finding what the client is looking for on the island of Maui. HFV For more information, visit www.chameleontalent.com. hawaiifilmandvideo.com • ISSUE TWO 2016



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wned and operated by Dawn Larson-Lord, Larson Talent Hawaii is an elite boutique agency representing models and actors in Maui, Oahu, Big Island, and Kauai. The agency has top caliber models for commercial, print and fashion runway, as well as acting and voiceover talent for local, national and international productions. Larson Talent Hawaii is a full-service one-stop shop statewide agency. The company has partnered up with Roman Young and Damon Rutland of Nomad Mgmt to be a co-mother agency that places selected models from Hawaii with agencies worldwide into the major markets. Maui clients include Visa, Westin Resorts, Hawaiian Airlines, Whalers Village, Bank of Hawaii, Society Bikini Hawaii, Maui No Ka Oi Magazine, The Shops of Wailea and Dakine. Oahu clients include TJ Maxx, Sony, Trump Resorts, Ala Moana, Royal Hawaiian, Toshiba, Sanyo, Cinnamon Girl, Sears and T & C Surf, to name a few. Big Island clients include Queens Marketplace and King Shops. HFV For more information about Larson Talent, visit www.larsontalent.com.

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eld June 15-19, Maui Film Festival featured an array of feature film, documentary and short film screenings at various indoor and outdoor venues in Wailea. The event kicked off with the Taste of Summer Opening Party at the Grand Wailea, followed by screenings of Captain Fantastic, Folk Hero & Funny Guy, and the short film Fable of the Wolf at the breathtaking Celestial Cinema. The films were preceded by a presentation honoring actors Kelly Rohrbach (Baywatch) and Wyatt Russell (Folk Hero & Funny Guy) with Rising Star Awards.

Other honorees throughout the festival included Michael B. Jordan (Creed), who was presented with the Rainmaker Award, and Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder) and Bryan Cranston (Trumbo), who both received the Navigator Award. Another special event at this year’s Maui Film Festival was the Hawaii Filmmakers Showcase presenting four films shot in Hawaii, about subjects of interest to Hawaii. Those films included God is a Dog, Roots of ‘Ulu, Aina: That Which Feeds Us and Sam Choy’s Poke To The Max. This event was free and open to the public. In addition to the myriad film screenings and awards presentations, the festival also included a number of informative panels on subjects ranging from documentary filmmaking to indigenous culture in cinema, all featuring knowledgeable and well-spoken panelists.

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The 2016 Maui Film Festival wrapped with the announcement of the Audience Award-winning films. They were as follows: Narrative Feature Captain Fantastic

Saltwater Buddha

Narrative Feature World Cinema Tanna

Adventure Documentary Mad Dogs

Family Friendly Feature Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Family Friendly Documentary Shorebreak: The Clark Little Story

Best First Feature Southside With You Hawaii-Made Feature Voyage: Into the Depths of Kanaloa Soul in Cinema (tie) One Way: A Journey to This Moment


Documentary Feature Alive & Kicking

Documentary Short Film Mining Poems or Odes Comedy Short Film Unlikely Temptations Narrative Short Film High Chaparral Hawaii-Made Short God is a Dog

Documentary Feature World Cinema The Last Dalai Lama? Animated Short Film Fable of the Wolf

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Mark your calendars for the 2017 edition of the Maui Film Festival, which will be held June 14-18, 2017. Visit www.mauifilmfestival.com for more.

hawaiifilmandvideo.com • ISSUE ONE 2016


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A horse named “Willow” (center) was flown in from L.A. for the film Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.

“Turtle” the cat on the set of Hawaii Five-0.

Animal trainer Sue Chipperton works with a puppy on set of Budweiser’s 2014 Super Bowl commercial.


INSIDE THE By Sue Chipperton


itting in an office doing the same thing day in, day out was never an option for me. So I started my life as an animal trainer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at a marine life park called Ocean World. It was here I started

the groundwork as a future trainer for many different animals. I spent a few years working my way up to being the head trainer for dolphins and sea lions at Ocean World. I then made my way out West, to Hollywood.

As every trainer who has gone down this path knows, you work many more hours than you get paid for. As a studio trainer, we work with living, breathing creatures that need taking care of 24/7. They are not pieces of equipment that you put down, walk away hawaiifilmandvideo.com • ISSUE TWO 2016


A pigsty on the set of Hawaii Five-0’s sixth season.

from and go home as soon as you hear ‘wrap.’ Our day starts usually before the first person on the crew has even had their first cup of coffee and likely ends long after the last person has gone to bed. When I walked into Studio Animal Services just north of Los Angeles in 1994, I was looking to intern and learn the ropes in a field that would be challenging, rewarding and most importantly have me be surrounded by animals all day, every day. No day is the same, every day is different and it brings its own set of demands, challenges and rewards. The owners of Studio Animal Services, Karin McElhatton and Paul Calabria, taught me everything I needed to know to work on set as an animal trainer. I am still learning, 24 years later. Every job you do, you walk away with something new and try to apply that to the next job. TRAINING ANIMALS IN HAWAII Jump to 2013 and my 20th year with Studio Animal Services. I was in Oahu working on Godzilla. A fellow animal trainer from SAS and I were on the island training pigs (that were cut from the final film) and a dog. We also were wrangling Samoan crab, tilapia, frogs, a Jackson chameleon, a rooster and chickens. This was the second time I had worked with pigs while filming a movie in Hawaii. The first time was on Kauai for 6 Days/7 Nights. Oddly enough, the pigs also got cut from that movie! An entire story line based around the pigs was gone as I sat waiting to see them on the big screen at a cast and crew screening. Luckily that streak was broken on Jurassic World, where the pigs that I trained finally made it into the film. After working on Godzilla and being here in Hawaii for most of the summer, I decided to make the move from Los Angeles to Oahu and start my own animal company. With a gentle nudge from some local production people who actually suggested I move here in the first place, I landed my first job in March 2014. What a fantastic experience that was. Here I was again, training pigs. This time they had many behaviors to learn, including running through the jungle, hitting a mark, walking backwards (backing away from the dinosaur), turning in a circle (anxious pig) and looking upward and in both directions as the dinosaurs close 42 HAWAII FILM & VIDEO

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Sue Chipperton works with an animal on set.

in. After we completed the pig scenes in the Heeia jungle location, our next step was to fly/drive to New Orleans to complete the pig work in the arena set. Pacific Air Cargo (www.pacificaircargo.com) did an amazing job of shipping our pigs from Honolulu to Los Angeles on their daily cargo flight. The local construction crew on Jurassic built us some pig-worthy shipping crates that I designed. These specially designed and built crates enabled us to access the pigs, give them water and check on them during the flight. I have since used PAC several times to fly animals back and forth from the mainland. On Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, I flew in three liberty trained studio horses from L.A. on this flight. The trainers were once again granted special access to fly on the same flight with the horses and were able to keep a close eye on them throughout. Flying any animal can be stressful, for the animal and the owner, but PAC makes the whole process smooth. Their staff is very accommodating to movie animals. They offer everyday service to pet owners flying Transporting animal actors is easy with Pacific Air Cargo.

their pets to and from Hawaii—albeit the cabin crew In the late ‘90s, one of Chipperton’s trainees was Gidget, the Taco Bell dog. normally check on the pet. This is a much safer and more personalized service than any commercial flight. Part of the challenges of supplying and training animals for film and TV here in Hawaii is having an available source of already-trained animals to offer production. In Los Angeles each animal company has a compound full of animals of all shapes and sizes that work all the time. They are exposed to film sets early on and get exposure constantly, as the top animal companies work nonstop and are always bringing new animals ‘in training’ to set. That business model does not make much sense, nor is it practical here in Hawaii. It would be extremely expensive to own enough land to accommodate a full range of trained animals to have on hand just in case a movie passes through town that wants ‘a white cat,’ for example. Instead I rely heavily on the community and a very large pool of highly trained dogs and cats that can fly here local pet owners to work with their pets. I am rapidly building up from Los Angeles. This will be the first time production can use a database of trained animals. The owners allow me to take their experienced studio-trained animals without having to go through dog/cat/chicken, etc., and do some movie training, and at the end a ton of paperwork and quarantine to ship them here. In the long of the day (or the job) their pet gets a paycheck. Win/win! run, it reduces costs for production, as less prep is usually needed Of course the biggest challenge is having them exposed to a film and they get their shot with a lot less stress. set, like we would do in Los Angeles. Here, the first time they see a Sometimes you learn this the hard way. I was training cats from camera or a boom is usually their first day working on set. I have scratch for the same production as the dog scene above. It proved some great resources, including Joey’s Feline Friends cat rescue in to be a challenge. Cats are obviously very different than dogs in Kaneohe. I have used several cats from Joey’s, including two for the how they are trained and how they work. They require a lot more Amy Schumer movie that just filmed here. This is a no-kill shelter on-set rehearsal time and a lot more time to acclimate to their and has some amazing cats for adoption. I adopted two cats after surroundings. However, they are capable of learning a lot of the they made their debut on Hawaii Five-0. same behaviors a dog can learn. At Studio Animal Services, and most L.A.-based animal companies, we had the luxury of working DRAWING ON L.A. Chipperton shades a rooster in between takes on Godzilla. with teams of cats that all doubled one another. One cat is good for TALENT doing sit/stays; another is good at action such as running upstairs, During the 21 years I through the house, etc.; and then a holding cat. This seems simple worked in the film inenough, but you would be amazed at how many cats do not like to dustry in Los Angeles, be held. Part of that team included a cat that could be safely held I built up a good workby the actor. Taking cats from the shelter and training them in 30 ing relationship with days so they could work on a film set was a bit adventurous. But other animal compaI had done it before. In Hong Kong last year I trained two rescue nies and studio traincats in three weeks for a very specific scene in Geostorm. I have also ers in the business. trained many of Joey’s cats for Hawaii Five-0 episodes. Of course, It’s normal for us all like everything, choosing the right personality and temperament to work together and of the animal you will train plays a huge part also. We got the shots subcontract animals we needed with the cats. But for future films that require a lot of from each company. I diverse action, I will be calling upon my colleagues from L.A. I am can now draw on that. currently in the process of getting all the necessary paperwork to I have started to build fly in the top cat teams, from the top animal companies. Check The a collection of highly Gate will be able to offer production a wider net to cast cats that trained L.A.-based have vast set experience, which was previously unavailable to them studio animals (mostly due to a four- to six-month standard quarantine. dogs and cats) that I can ship to Hawaii, with no quarantine needAnyone who lives here on the islands understands the strict ed, for some of the more intense work. This involves some expense quarantine guidelines implemented by the local Department of on my part, quite a bit of time and a lot of paperwork. I reaped the Agriculture. There is no doubt that we are limited here as to what reward of this process on the Amy Schumer/Goldie Hawn movie, can be imported. It is hard to tell production that they cannot as I was able to fly in a highly trained studio dog to do very specific have a snake or any other animal or reptile on the prohibited list. action for a small scene, making everyone’s life just a little bit easier. However, there are allowances for animals on the restricted list and There is nothing that can compare with having a seasoned animal a permit can be applied for—it just takes quite a bit of time, usuon set that has ‘seen it all.’ My goal is to build this network and have hawaiifilmandvideo.com • ISSUE TWO 2016


ally two to three months. So my biggest challenge is getting future productions to start thinking about what animals they may need usually way before official pre-production has started. ON-SET EXPERIENCE My time working in the film industry in Los Angeles gave me the opportunity to work with some amazing directors. Tony Scott always had animals in his films and commercials. The first film I worked on for Tony was Crimson Tide and the last was Déjà vu, with many Marlboro commercials in between. My boss at Studio Animal Services had always been Clint Eastwood’s go-to animal guy. I was fortunate to work on a few of his films, including Gran “Turtle” the cat at Turtle Bay Resort during the Mike and Dave shoot.

Torino, Changeling and J. Edgar. My commercial experience is vast and includes the bulk of my work in Los Angeles. My first job ever was a Pepsi commercial with Joe Pytka directing. Talk about jumping in at the deep end! Since that spot I worked with Pytka many more times over the years, including a couple of Budweiser spots. More recently I worked with Jake Scott for the 2014 and 2015 Budweiser/Super Bowl commercials with the Lab puppy and the Clydesdales. Leaving the horse training to the capable hands of Robin and Kate Wiltshire of Turtle Ranch, myself and fellow trainer Deborah Dellosso had our hands full with eight puppies to train for each spot. The eight puppies all played the role of one puppy. The commercials were very training intense. Back in the late ‘90s I trained Gidget, the Taco Bell Dog. She went on to appear in over 40 commercials; some of which were never aired, some regional and test market. For 13 years I trained the Aflac duck(s) for commercials that aired not only here in the U.S. but included several trips to Japan to train ducks for the commercials that aired in that market. The bulk of the commercial work was the pet food commercials. Studio Animal 44 HAWAII FILM & VIDEO

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Services had over 80 cats and 60 dogs. The trainers were constantly training for dog and cat food commercials, too many to mention. The commercial world in Hawaii is considerably less and usually local based. I shot a Hawaii Telcom spot at the beginning of the year with my trained Labrador Eddie being featured. Check The Gate has been fortunate to work on every film production that has landed here on the islands since we started in 2014. After Jurassic and many episodes of Hawaii Five-0, we had a summer of horse work on Mike and Dave. 2015 ended with some animals being trained for Kong: Skull Island. Then another sixweek stint in Hong Kong, for Ghost in the Shell, and back to Hawaii for the summer on Untitled Mother/Daughter Project (the Amy Schumer/Goldie Hawn feature). Hawaii Five-0 has always been very generous to Check The Gate. One of my requests early on with producer Jeffrey Downer was to get plenty of lead-time before an animal works on an episode. They have never failed me. It allows me plenty of time to source whatever animal they need and put in the proper training to show up on set and be successful. I have used pigs, both feral and domestic, cats, and dogs. In an upcoming episode I will be supplying them with a rat. ANIMAL ANTICS You don’t make it this long without a few stories to tell. Some of which will never be shared in a magazine! People always ask me if I have ever been hurt on set by any animal. While working in L.A. I have coordinated many jobs with horses, livestock and the slightly more exotic such as bears, lions, tigers, chimps and elephants. None of which have ever strayed too far from their trainers to do anything naughty or bad. It was a ram that finally took me down. While prepping a Capital One commercial we had numerous animals, including a ram. As I was walking away from him he decided to charge. He flung me through the air of the barn about six feet. I hit the barn wall and I ended up in a heap on the ground. That hurt! I had another interesting experience on a Travelers Insurance commercial. I had to be in hiding on the floor below the back seat of a car to cue the dog for a particular scene. The actor had to drive up a long, very steep driveway and park. It was taking too long for him to put it in park, turn off the ignition, remove his seatbelt and exit the car. The director told him to ‘just put it in park and leave the engine running,’ then exit. Well, as I was on the floor I saw the actor walk past the back window, but then I also saw the trees and house going by. He had put the car in reverse and walked away. The dog and I were left in a car that was now hurtling downhill toward camera and the entire crew! Someone threw a ladder behind the car to slow it down as the actor realized what he had done. He chased the car and jumped back in, stopping it just in time. That was a bit nerve-wracking. On a movie shot just outside Shreveport, Louisiana, I had to release a dog that started in frame, swimming toward the beach of a lake house. To do this I had to tread water, release the dog and then dive underwater and swim out of frame. I was assured by the local officials who were on set in boats that they hadn’t seen a gator in that area before! The same thing on Baywatch in the late ‘90s. I had to have a dog swim in a circle out in the ocean. So the grips gave me a massive sandbag on the ocean floor and after I released the dog I swam down and held onto the bag while holding my breath. Luckily the dog swam in circles wondering where the heck I had

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OWNER Sue Chipperton has 21 years experience as an animal trainer/coordinator in Los Angeles Relocated to Hawaii March 2014. In L.A. she trained The AFLAC ducks. The Taco Bell Dog and The Budweiser puppy/2014 & 2015 Super Bowls spots.






hawaiifilmandvideo.com • ISSUE TWO 2016


gone! Somehow I would always get picked to be the trainer that did water jobs. They were some of my favorite jobs. The other favorite part of my job is the creative side of figuring out how to do something a bit out of the norm, like having a duck carry a dollar bill or training a goat to ski in the snow. It is challenging and sometimes things don’t work out during prep and you have to switch gears and try something different along the way. Fortunately, it always works out. I do miss the daily challenge of working on commercials in Los Angeles, but Hawaii is my new home. I absolutely love it here and really wouldn’t trade it for anything. It is everything I had hoped

Chipperton has had her share of challenges on set, like when she had to figure out how to get this goat to ski on a Capital One commercial.

Clint Eastwood and Chipperton on the set of Gran Torino with “Holly” the dog.

for when I moved here. I actually have the best of both worlds, as on occasion I get to travel back and forth and do work in L.A. and other locations on the mainland. Check The Gate continues to grow and is always bringing in new trainers and animals. What’s nice is now we’ve expanded our amazing film community to include local pet owners, who now get to see their dog on the big screen and that’s rewarding for everyone involved. HFV For more information on Sue Chipperton and Check The Gate, visit www.tailsticks.com.



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