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Heavenly Ha‘ena on Kaua‘i’s north shore. hotography Photo by Kicka Witte Photography

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CONTENTS [[[LE[EMM½PQERHZMHISGSQ [[[LE[EMM½PQGSQ PUBLISHER

James Baker

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Tim Ryan tryan@media-inc.com ASSOCIATE EDITOR

Katie Sauro ksauro@media-inc.com SALES MANAGER

Katie Higgins

SALES EXECUTIVES

Steve Joseph PRODUCTION MANAGER

John Rusnak DESIGNERS

Dawn Carlson, Beth Harrison, Sonjia Kells WEBMASTER

Jon Hines

OFFICE MANAGER/ACCOUNTING

Audra Higgins

Actors Chi McBride and Daniel Dae Kim from Hawaii Five-O, filming at the Waikiki Yacht Club. PHOTO BY TIM RYAN

6 Editor’s Letter 11 Summer Production Update SPOTLIGHT ON HIFF 15 New Executive Director Talks Festival Highlights 19 Chuck Boller Steps into Role as Director Emeritus 21 Creative Lab @ HIFF 2014 25 ‘World’ View: Universal Shoots Fourth Film of Jurassic Park Franchise in Hawaii SPECIAL FOCUS ON KAUAI 29 Keeping Kauai’s Film Legacy Alive 31 Part-time Kauai Resident Pierce Brosnan Back In Action 4 HAWAII FILM & VIDEO

32 Behind the Scenes with Sean Garcia 33 Spotlight On Casting*Kauai 38 Meet the Commissioner: Hawaii Island’s T. Ilihia Gionson 41 Wheel of Fortune Returns to Hawaii 43 Indie Beat: Under the Blood Red Sun Now Available On Demand 46 Flying High with Custom Aerial Platforms INDUSTRY LISTS 34 Casting Directors 36 Modeling & Talent Agencies

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Lois Sanborn

ON THE COVER

Crew set up for a shoot on the 3ELYFEWIHPMZIEGXMSR½PQEHETtion of Under the Blood Red Sun produced by Dana Satler Hankins. PHOTO BY TIM RYAN

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Editor’s Letter

A

recent in-depth article in The Seattle Times newspaper by freelance writer Rob Owen clearly illustrates the importance of staying ahead of states with similar locations and better tax incentives. The Times headline was simple and straight to the point: “Although their movies and TV series may be set in Seattle, producers often choose other locations to take advantage of more generous tax credits.” That includes the BBC drama Intruders that’s set mostly in Seattle. But as Owen points out, series like Hallmark Channel’s Cedar Cove, Netflix’s The Killing, and Intruders were not filmed in Seattle, but in Vancouver, BC. An Intruders executive producer told the writer that the reason for selecting Vancouver was primarily financial. The deciding factor, the producer said, was tax credits. “We felt Vancouver is a natural, organically, exact eco-match for Seattle. It has an exceptionally well-organized film community there and it was quite a natural decision to go there. It just would have been harder to film in Seattle itself and there was ultimately no need,” the producer

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told Owen. States eventually saw the light about production tax credits after Canada began a huge incentive program in 1997. Louisiana became the first U.S. state to pass a tax credit program and expanded it in 2002. A report released this year by the non-profit Film L.A. (the City of Los Angeles’ film office) shows that the Louisiana film industry in 2013 overtook California for the title of the film production capital of the world. Of the 108 major studio productions released into theaters last year, 18 were shot substantially in Louisiana, including 12 Years a Slave and Dallas Buyers Club. Currently 39 states and Puerto Rico have film production incentives on their books for 2014. But as the number of states offering film incentives has grown, so too have the debates surrounding the benefits and economic impacts of these programs. Some states have scaled back their incentive packages, reducing the overall rebate or credit a production can claim. Not Hawaii. In July 2013, Hawaii increased their allocations for film incentive programs, increasing

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the credit or rebate amount production companies can receive. Hawaii’s Motion Picture, Digital Media & Film Production Income Tax Credit is a refundable tax credit based on a production company’s Hawaii expenditures while producing a qualified film, television, commercial, or digital media project. The credit equals 20 percent of qualified production costs incurred on Oahu, and 25 percent on the neighbor islands (Hawaii, Kauai, Lanai, Maui, Molokai). Act 88/89 also increased the per production cap to $15 million, qualifies productions with internet-only distribution, allows state and county location and facilities fees to count towards qualified expenditures, and extends the credit’s sunset date to 2018. Additionally, the state has a Royalties Tax Exemption. Royalties derived from performing arts products are excluded from a Hawaii taxpayer’s income and not subject to state income tax. Increasing the tax credit was not an easy task to accomplish because there are still some Hawaii legislators who believe that Hawaii’s natural beauty automatically will attract pro-


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ductions. Some believe that Hawaii can simply not afford incentives. Here’s a double negative: we cannot not afford it. 2018 may seem a long ways away, but production advocates must stay active to ensure the credit program does not get diminished. Hawaii’s annual production revenues have been in the hundreds of millions of dollars, while employing hundreds of people—crew and actors—and supporting local businesses that supply them with needed goods. Here’s what some other states are providing productions: Alaska: Applicants can qualify for up to 58 percent in a transferable tax credit on qualified production spending. Illinois: The state offers producers a transferable credit of 30 percent of all qualified expenditures, including post-production, and will not sunset until 2021. Louisiana: Productions are eligible with an expenditure minimum of $50,000. The state offers a 30-percent transferable income tax credit for total in-state expenditures related to the production of a motion picture. An additional 5 percent labor tax credit can be earned on the payroll of Louisiana residents that are employed by a state certified motion picture production.

New York: A 30-percent fully refundable tax credit on qualified expenses while filming in the state. A 30- to 35-percent post-production tax credit is also available, regardless of filming location. Also a film investment tax credit of up to 5 percent on investments in construction and upgrades to qualified film production facilities, plus employment incentive tax credits for two additional years. Washington: Washington Filmworks offers funding assistance of up to 30 percent of total in-state qualified expenditures (including labor and talent who are state residents) for film productions and episodic series with less than six episodes, and up to 35 percent for episodic series with at least six episodes. Funding assistance is available as a 15-percent return on qualified in-state spending if the client is using an out-of-state production company and a 25-percent return on qualified in-state spending if the client is using a Washington-based production company. But Seattle Times’ Owen wrote that Washington caps its program at $3.5 million annually and the cap was exhausted by May this year. Neighboring Oregon’s film tax credit program was recently raised from a $6-million to a $10-million cap. There are currently three

JOHN GUILD COMMUNICATIONS

series regularly in production in Portland: Grimm, Portlandia and TNT’s upcoming The Librarians. And that’s why Washington attracts low-budget productions and commercials. Big-budget productions will likely continue to bypass Seattle, no matter how attractive the landscapes look, especially with Vancouver just a few hours north. And Hawaii may suffer the same fate if we don’t keep improving the incentives. I remember before the second season of ABC’s LOST series, there was a committee hearing at the state capital where several major studio and network executives spoke. Each of them, during two hours of explaining in easy-to-understand language, agreed that yes, Hawaii is beautiful but no matter how attractive the landscapes look, that is always subordinate to financial incentives. A neighbor island legislator then spoke up, asking a network head, “Is what you’re saying that you may not film here if the tax incentives are too low?” There were audible moans from members of the pro-production audience. Tim Ryan Executive Editor

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Summer Production Update BY TIM RYAN Executive Editor

S

ummer 2014 has been a slow one for productions filming in Hawaii.

Ask any of the state’s four film commissioners and you’ll likely hear the oft-repeated reasoning that “production is cyclical.” And they’re right. The production downturn doesn’t have an expiration date yet because no major productions are on Hawaii’s horizon. Steven Spielberg did bring his billion-dollar franchise to Hawaii when Jurassic World filmed on Oahu this past spring for four weeks, then moved to Kauai for two weeks of

Hawaii Five-O returns for its fifth season. Shooting began in July on Oahu. PHOTO BY TIM RYAN

Reality show Bad Girls Club 13 filmed three days on Oahu, spending $80,000. PHOTO BY TIM RYAN

June shooting (see page 25). But that’s it for major feature films. Of course, the production gift that keeps on giving—a network television series—is back for its fifth season with Hawaii Five-0 filming 25 episodes on Oahu. On the first day of filming in July, executive producer and creator Peter Lenkov sent an e-mail to every cast and crewmember thanking them for the quality of their work and aloha spirit. Lenkov wrote that the Hawaii community had embraced the production. He is especially touched by the huge turnout for the now annual Sunset on the Beach Hawaii Five-0 season premiere every September. Lenkov said he knew some crew started season four with concerns about the show’s future. “But a year later we stand on the eve of a new season with the confidence of being

a bonafide hit in our new time slot, Friday nights,” he said. “The order of 25 episodes confirms it. It is a major show of confidence from a studio and network that have the utmost respect for you and the hard work you put in week to week.” Lenkov conceded that season five “will be our longest and toughest, but I know we will shine as always.” He continued, “Let’s take good care of each other and this franchise. We all have the privilege of keeping this torch lit, sharing your islands and culture with the world is a huge responsibility. Always remember… we are not just a crew, but ohana. Welcome home.” Lenkov has said there were many doubters when CBS announced it was moving Five-0 from a highly competitive time slot on Mondays to Friday nights, which some critics have called a graveyard for television.

But Lenkov never stopped believing in his show’s power to draw fans. “I think the press started talking about shows going to the Friday night scrap heap,” he said. “For me that was never the case. But every time you make a move, you hope your audience follows you.” Five-0 finished its fourth season by winning the hour with 9.21 million viewers, capping an unblemished run of ratings wins that started with the season four premiere September 27. According to Nielsen ratings released by CBS, the show averaged 9.71 million viewers, which is lower than the average for season one (11.24 million) and season two (10.66 million), but higher than the season three average of 9.02 million. The steady ratings, along with the well-received casting additions of Chi McBride and Jorge Garcia, are what Lenkov called three proud moments of the season. This year, it’s rumored that Carol Burnett will make a return visit on the show and possibly golfer Michele Wie. Also guest starring this season is LOST vet William Mapother, who played creepy island resident Ethan Rom. Mapother is the ninth LOST alum to appear on Hawaii Five-0. Others include current co-star Daniel Dae Kim, and guest stars Terry O’Quinn, Jorge Garcia, Henry Ian Cusick, Sam Anderson, Tania Raymonde and François Chau. In other production news, Oahu got two little-known reality shows for a few days filming each. Bad Girls Club 13 by Bunim Murray Productions filmed three days on Oahu. The production budget was $100,000 with

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$80,000 spent on Oahu. The production filmed the women’s arrival at Honolulu International Airport, taking the North Shore Shark Adventure dive tour at Haleiwa, walking Waikiki Beach, and watching a sunset on a Waikiki catamaran.

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Rich Kids of Beverly Hills by LWT Enterprises filmed for three days on Oahu after traveling on a private jet to Honolulu, then staying at a beachfront home in east Oahu. Production budget was $365,000 with $95,000 spent in Hawaii. Eight Hawaii locals

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worked on the show. The Rich Kids castmembers who were brought to Hawaii included Morgan Stewart, Roxy Sowlaty and Dorothy Wang. They dined at several high-end Oahu restaurants, shopped at Waikiki’s most expensive


Beauty On Location, LLC stores, watched Friday night fireworks a mile offshore of Waikiki in a $3-million luxury yacht once rented by Jay-Z and Beyonce, were chauffeured in two Bentleys, and swam at Kailua Beach. The show is loosely inspired by the popular Tumblr page “Rich Kids of Instagram,” where star Wang was first discovered by casting directors. Another Hawaii-bound production this summer is the welcome return of Wheel of Fortune, which is celebrating its 32nd season. “We have taped Wheel of Fortune on location 65 times,” said executive producer Harry Friedman. “But no destination creates a greater sense of excitement than Hawaii. The scenery, the hospitality and the warmth of the aloha spirit simply can’t be found anywhere else.” The production and the entire Los Angeles-based crew will set up shop at the Hilton Waikoloa Village in September to tape four weeks of shows. It’s the fifth time Wheel of Fortune has taped in Hawaii since 1996. See page 41 for more. Finally, though not officially summer, the action-adventure film Inquisitor is set to shoot entirely on Maui October 24 through November 1. From Blum Productions and Code 10 Studios, under the guidance of writer/executive producer Ronald Blum and director Harry Locke IV, Inquisitor is about an eccentric millionaire lured to the jungles of Peru (Maui), where he discovers his family lineage has been cursed by ties with the Spanish Inquisition. It’s based on an original Blum script. Director Locke IV was responsible for the well-received online 2013 short film Hellblazer. HFV

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New Executive Director Talks Festival Highlights

SPOTLIGHT ON HIFF

BY TIM RYAN Executive Editor

I

n Robert Lambeth’s first seven months as the new executive director of the Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF), he’s more than a little exuberant about the organization in general, but especially about this fall’s event. The 2014 festival runs October 30 - November 9 on Oahu and November 13 - 16 on the Big Island and Kauai. “It’s a dream to be part of an organization that has such a strong, positive impact on the people of Hawaii,” he said. Lambeth, who worked under the leadership of previous HIFF executive directors Christian Gaines and most recently Chuck Boller, had left his HIFF job to move to London, when he later decided to vacation in Hawaii. While meeting with then-executive director Boller, explained Lambeth, “Chuck told me how much he wanted me to return to HIFF to be the executive director.” Boller had his eyes set on taking the position that Lambeth had vacated: deputy director, where he would do

fundraising and create a much-needed HIFF Foundation. “We both knew we had made a great team working together,” said Lambeth. “He obviously was very convincing. Here I am.” The two men for years had talked about creating a HIFF Foundation, but to do so, everyone agreed that the organization needed Boller as director emeritus/deputy director so he could focus on fundraising. “For any non-profit organization it’s very important that we not only provide a worldclass festival but also build a financial base and expand our educational programs,” said

Lambeth. “That’s not a small task. And I’m thrilled to say that we’ve been able, in the first half of this year, to put our organization into a much more solid position given the economic times.” Lambeth praised HIFF’s board of directors, who he said are “very active and participatory and engaged.” The change in HIFF leadership this year brings with it some changes to the format of the 2014 festival. For instance, there are fewer films this year—160, including 90 narrative features and 20 documentaries, as opposed to the usual 200-plus films. But the shorter list is deliberate so more screenings of popular films can be done, rather than having just one. “One of HIFF’s biggest expenses is the cost of screening film,” explained Lambeth. “We have to pay to get some filmmakers to screen their films, as well as pay for theater space.” The average fee for screening a film used to be $350; now it’s $800. HIFF’s screening

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budget is $70,000. But as always, this year’s festival boasts new, exciting programs, such as New Program Frontiers, which—thanks to a generous grant by the Doris Duke Foundation—will bring six Islamic filmmakers and three video media artists to the event for the Expanding Boundaries of Art & Media in Islamic Communities program. “We want to bring the knowledge and art of Islamic artists to Hawaii,” said Lambeth. “We found very cool, emerging directors coming out of Islamic countries. This will be a spectacular new exhibition this year.” Other highlights include: China Night 2014, the annual fundraiser for HIFF education programs, will be held Saturday, October 4, at the historic IBM Building Courtyard at Ward Village, where superstar Chinese actor Huang Xiao-Ming will be honored. For the past two years, HIFF has been able to award scholarships to four to six chosen students at the University of Hawaii’s Manoa Academy for Creative Media to attend the SMART Exchange program with Shanghai University and Shanghai International Film Festival each June. New American Filmmakers, an eight-year-

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old program, will again feature four carefully selected emerging artists to honor and screen their works. In addition, 60 visiting delegates will attend, including Jerôme Paillard, director of the Cannes Marché du Film, and Marcia Gay Harden, Academy and Tony Award-winning actress. Also returning this year is the Creative Lab program. Started by HIFF in 2012, the program is far more successful than anyone expected so soon. The Creative Lab was created to be a gathering place in Hawaii where film, music and technology come together to offer local and visiting filmmakers, composers and innovators from around the world, the chance to learn and collaborate on new and exciting creative content. Along with the Creative Lab Broadband Accelerator, HIFF identifies excellent diverse creatives (writers/directors/actors/producers or any combination) in order to provide eight participants with an opportunity to deepen their relationship with their craft, provide them with on-the-ground/real-life coaching on the business of creating content, producing it, marketing and monetizing it on the Internet, and provide them with an opportunity with which

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to create a plan to assist them in taking their next steps in their professional careers. In 2013, 12 of the participants whose work was chosen by a non-HIFF-related group were all from Hawaii. “I was very happy to see that happen because I always knew we had talent in Hawaii,” said Lambeth of the 2013 participants. “Three of the screenplays were sent to Los Angeles studios and network executives. One is being optioned as a series. We took them to L.A. to meet with agents and managers. The experience that these three walked away with was invaluable.” Creative Lab was co-founded by HIFF and the Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism’s Creative Industries Division, led by chief officer Georja Skinner. Said Lambeth, “Georja and her team are doing a dynamic job with this.” Read more about this program on page 21. HIFF celebrates 34 years in 2014. Organizers will soon announce that during its 35th anniversary in 2015, HIFF will give cash prizes to filmmakers for best feature and best documentary for the first time in its history. HFV For more information, visit www.hiff.org.


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Chuck Boller Steps into Role as Director Emeritus BY TIM RYAN Executive Editor

I

f there was a model for the next smiley face, it could be Chuck Boller. The Hawaii International Film Festival’s executive director for 13 years—23 years total with HIFF—and now its director emeritus seems to always have a broad grin, cheery voice, and nice things to say to anyone he meets, despite the occasional and inevitable turmoil of running the actual festival. During one memorable two-week fest, Boller was hit devastatingly hard by the flu, but persevered with only the occasional visit to the hotel room, where he might stay 15 minutes every few hours lying on the bed. He even made fun of himself for being so sick. Now as HIFF’s director emeritus, he just might be able to enjoy the event as part of the crowd, rather than having to put out fires. That’s because as part of HIFF’s business continuity strategy, the organization’s board of directors was smart enough to give Boller the new position, as well as that of deputy director. Robert Lambeth, HIFF’s former deputy director, is now executive director. Boller will now focus primarily on fundraising and establishing a new HIFF Foundation. But that is not all the robust Boller is doing. He’s started his own media consulting business, Chuck Boller Consulting, Inc. “The consulting business will allow me to undertake projects that really interest me,” he said. With his new venture, Boller said he would provide his clients with “a very broad range of expertise” that deals with everything in television, broadcast, production and media. “I’ve put together major opening night

receptions all the way to organizing press conferences and seminars,” he said. One of Boller’s strong suits is his vast relationship with China because of the partnership between HIFF and the Shanghai International Film Festival, making him well known within the Chinese production industry. “Everybody in Hawaii and on the mainland wants to get in with China,” said Boller. “In China, it’s a lot about trust and I have that trust.” Boller recently worked as the executive producer on a film he dubbed the “Chinese Hangover” equivalent. He also hopes to open a non-profit for filmmakers in Hawaii, which Boller would manage, so filmmakers could come in and use the non-profit to their benefit without the inherent complexities of creating their own. Owen Ogawa, HIFF board president and chairman, praised Boller as “a tremendous individual and friend.” “Under his leadership, HIFF has grown to be one of the premier venues for international cinema and solidified its position as the gateway to the U.S. market for Asian and Pacific Rim film,” said Ogawa. “His tireless efforts have led to a recent revitalization of the organization and we are very happy that he will remain a

SPOTLIGHT ON HIFF

part of the HIFF team and family as director emeritus.” In Boller’s new role, he’ll go after new projects and initiatives for HIFF—opportunities the organization has been talking about for years but ultimately did not have the time to adequately pursue given the demands of the day-to-day management of HIFF operations. “Robert Lambeth has more than proven his ability to take on the challenges of the executive director position,” continued Ogawa. “He brings with him new ideas and energy that both complement and enhance the vision and existing initiatives put forth by Chuck.” Boller praised his HIFF team for “always having great ideas and goals.” “With the addition of the Creative Lab at HIFF two years ago, new and alternative funding is particularly important,” said Boller. “The creation of a HIFF Foundation and other funding mechanisms addresses these and other needs, particularly those of HIFF’s many education programs. “Robert was superb as HIFF’s first-ever deputy director and now will move into the much-deserved position of executive director. Both Robert and my philosophy and thoughts about HIFF mesh perfectly and his wisdom, dedication, business acumen and work ethic are extraordinary. Robert is definitely the man to take HIFF into the future.” Added Boller, “I’m busier than ever, very happy, and oh so very grateful.” HFV

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Creative Lab @ HIFF 2014 HAWAII’S CONTENT CREATORS’ “ALL-ACCESS PASS” BY GEORJA SKINNER Chief Officer of the State’s Creative Industries Division

C

reative Lab once again returns for its third year to the Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) in the fall of 2014 with two immersive programs to accelerate the opportunities for creative content creators. Envisioned to eventually become a year-round program like the Sundance Institute, Creative Lab at HIFF connects industry mentors with screenwriters and new media producers to advance their careers. CONNECT. COLLABORATE. CREATE. Creative Lab Accelerators are an immersive year-round experience to empower content creators. Co-founded in 2012 by the Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT)’s Creative Industries Division and HIFF, Creative Lab provides a rich environment for creative collaboration and building new business Hawaii Five-0> EP Peter Lenkov worked closely with relationships to launch businesses, products Creative Lab and HIFF, providing unprecedented mentoring and content for global distribution. in the Five-0 writers room at Paramount Pictures. Led by the Creative Industries Division/ DBEDT and industry partners, including the Writers Guild of America, Producers Guild of America, Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts, HIFF and Screen Actors Guild/AFTRA, Creative Lab aims to further the professional development of creative entrepreneurs and increase the growth of commercially viable content for acquisition/distribution. The Hawaii Film Office and Honolulu Film Office are also founding partners, and the vision is to include all county film offices to offer Creative Labs on the neighbor islands, as funding becomes available. I wanted to find a way to connect our aspiring and accomplished writers, web producers, producers, musicians, actors, directors and fashion designers with those industry mentors who could advance their careers. HIFF provided the right platform and had an already vibrant educational program, so our division began reaching out to the Writers Guild of America in 2011 to discuss the potential of a long-term partnership to provide our writers here access to WGA programs. We added in the Broadband/Web Series, New Media and Producers tracks in 2014. The result is Creative Lab 1.0—and this is just the beginning. Creative Lab capitalizes on the alchemy between creative and technology clusters and mirrors successful programs such as South By Southwest and the Sundance Institute. Using these models as inspiration, Creative Lab offers public panels, workshops and hands-on coaching and mentoring by industry leaders in areas of Screenwriting, New Media, Broadband, Songwriting/Music, Technology, Acting, and Design/Fashion. It’s also a key facet of the State’s HI Growth Initiative, and acts as a feeder program for the recently launched GVS Transmedia Accelerator on Hawaii Island. “Creative Lab is a vehicle to give our young storytellers the chance to share their own, authentic view of Hawaii with the world,” says Walter Dods III, who partnered with noted Hawaii novelist Chris McKinney on their television series Aina for the 2013 Creative Lab. At its core, Creative Lab is comprised of multiple facets: 1. Creative Lab Accelerators: Immersive five-day programs in writing, producing and broadband production. 2. Creative Lab Mentorship: Yearlong mentoring for all participants in all Labs.

SPOTLIGHT ON HIFF

3. Creative Lab B2B Program: A week of business development meetings with industry executives in Los Angeles and other major content acquisition markets. 4. Creative Lab @ HIFF: Public programs held during the Hawaii International Film Festival’s annual fall and spring showcases. 5. Creative Lab Weekend Workshops: Boot camps for writers, designers, storytellers and musical artists held between the spring and fall Creative Lab immersive and HIFF programs. Creative Lab at HIFF is comprised of three phases: • Immersive five-day workshops experience, 10 months of project mentoring, and a week of business meetings with industry leaders. • Up to 12 participants per program. • Year-round mentoring by industry leaders in new media, screenwriting, producing and broadband. • Open to the public are free panels and workshops, including Screenwriting, Broadband, New Media, Producing and Sound and Vision; focused on Music Industry Business Development and creative collaboration. CL Broadband Accelerator Broadband, as defined by the Producers Guild of America, is the platform whose primary distribution outlet is the Internet. CL Broadband Accelerator is a multi-day immersive workshop in which participants are coached on their individual projects to prepare them for pitching studios and multi-channel networks. The focus is on the writing, producing, distribution, marketing and monetization of their content for web and mobile platforms. In addition to the workshop, the CL Broadband Accelerator includes a free public keynote or master class. 2014’s CL Master Class for Broadband will feature Emmy Award-winning writer/producer/creator Bernie Su, executive producer of landmark web series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and the recently launched PBS Digital series Dr. Victoria Frankenstein. CL Writers Accelerator The Writers Accelerator is a four-day, immersive program for writers in motion pictures, television, and broadband (web series). In partnership with the Diversity Program of the Writers Guild of America

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West, the Writers Accelerator was designed to empower writers to take their stories and craft to the next level via one-on-one and small group coaching. Last year Creative Lab’s Writers Accelerator hosted 12 participants, who were joined by Michael Andres Palmieri, a writer/producer and director of Creative Lab at HIFF; Julia Cho (Betrayal, Big Love); Dennis Leoni (Resurrection Boulevard, Mckenna); and Ligiah Villalobos (Under the Same Moon, Dancing in September). At the end of the four-day program, three were selected for a weeklong trip to Los Angeles, where they were exposed to the business side of writing. Finally, all of the participants from the Writers Accelerator have the opportunity to partake in monthly group-coaching sessions to continue receiving support for their projects and careers. CL New Media Accelerator New Media Camp is a four-day intensive for 8 to 10 pre-qualified participants in the business of developing creative content for distribution/monetization across mul-

22 HAWAII FILM & VIDEO

tiple genres. This past year, participants received one-on-one coaching by industry professionals and later pitched their business/creative plans to judges who selected the top three projects. Last year’s winners received a one-week business mentorship in Silicon Beach and Hollywood, and met with MultiChannel Networks (MCNs) including YouTube/Google, Maker Studios, Netflix, and Yahoo. In the spring of 2014, Creative Lab will expand to offer Music, Producers, Actors and Designers Accelerators. CL Sound X Vision Accelerator Presented in partnership with the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts (HARA), Creative Industries Division, The Recording Academy (Grammys), and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), Sound X Vision consists of a series of public panels and pitch sessions focused on access to new export markets and the monetization of music compositions for film, television, games and multi-channel networks.

ISSUE THREE 2014 • hawaiifilmandvideo.com

CL Producers Accelerator Co-founded by the Honolulu Film Office, in partnership with the Producers Guild of America (PGA), the Producers Accelerator consists of one-on-one “speed dating” sessions for local producers to gain insight into careers across multiple platforms of film, television, mobile and online media. Panels highlight the opportunities and skills needed for creative content producers to navigate today’s multi-platform media landscape. The success stories continue to grow from the 2013 Creative Lab Class of Creative Entrepreneurs. The TV series duo has garnered representation by a major Hollywood agency, a screenwriter was able to attract financing due to the mentoring from Creative Lab, and just completed principal photography on his narrative feature. The future is bright for Hawaii’s content creators, and if Creative Lab succeeds in its mission, there will be many more locally produced features, television and web series for global distribution. It just takes that first step. Believe. It can happen here. HFV


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‘World’ View:

UNIVERSAL SHOOTS FOURTH FILM OF JURASSIC PARK FRANCHISE IN HAWAII

BY WALEA CONSTANTINAU Honolulu Film Commissioner

T

he next feature in the enduring Jurassic Park film franchise recently completed principal photography in the Hawaiian Islands, which can boast that all four of the successful dino-filled movies have shot here. Jurassic World, the latest, completed 33 days of filming—23 on Oahu and 10 on Kauai— and 4 full weeks of prep.

Producer Patrick Crowley, who also produced all four of the Bourne films, knows a thing or two about making large-scale movies outside of Hollywood. Jurassic World is not his first project in the islands. That honor goes to the pilot of Hawaii Five-0. Crowley learned first-hand what Hawaii had to offer through that experience. “We were familiar with the crew from doing the Five-0 pilot and knew good people and equipment was available,” said Crowley. “We knew we could rent locally because when you have a location that has had a number of big films, they know how to work with the industry. You’ve had Pirates and Battleship, big-level movies. And lots of television that trains people in terms of logistics and operations.” Was Hawaii a slam-dunk for securing the fourth film? “No,” said Crowley. “Hawaii’s main competitors are Australia, Thailand, Puerto Rico, maybe Mexico, and Costa Rica [is building their industry]. You have a really good rebate and the increase in the credit made a lot of difference.” That rebate and increase allowed the production to increase the length of the shoot schedule in Hawaii, he said. Scenes that were originally scheduled for Louisiana were moved to Hawaii, which would not have been as financially viable prior to the increase in the credit. The tax credit is one of several crucial factors that all must be met to attract a production to a

locale. Skilled crews, proper logistical support, film-friendly locations and a government that ‘gets it’ are all vital and together make Hawaii a viable filming destination. Crowley has noticed an increase in the local crew numbers and their skill set since the inception of the Hawaii Production Tax Credit, “which provides a whole other level of attraction,” he said. “I know ‘that guy’ knows how to work a big picture, which works very differently from a small picture. The [Hawaii] crew knows how to do that and that makes a big difference. Also, jungle conditions are different and require a certain kind of know-how. “You have to know how to deal with the delicacy of the location. For example, the local greensmen know how to make the jungle look bigger and more dramatic if I need that. The transportation, grip and electric departments know how to move equipment in the jungle without damaging it for the shot. The locations are accustomed to working with us and were easy to work with, very cooperative. The Marriott Waikiki did an amazing job. That kind of experience came from Kevin [Ching] doing as many shows as he’s done. The film commissions were all extremely knowledgeable,

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cooperative and helpful. That kind of logistical support is important.” Another example Crowley gives is the local shipping company, Young Bros. “We were able to shoot until 12 noon, then put the whole company on a barge to Kauai and the crew was unloading at 9:30am the next day. You can’t do that in a lot of places,” said Crowley. “We see the film industry as an important sector to support because of benefits that extend far beyond our properties, namely all the local people that get work directly and indirectly from a film coming to the island, and of course, the invaluable exposure it will generate,” said Chris Tatum, vice president/ market general manager at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. “There are strong short-term positives we see as a hotel property with a significant number of hotel room nights that come from a project the scope and scale of Jurassic World, and a film crew’s avid use of support services. “In the long term, the film industry is a relationship-oriented business, so we do our best to take care of our clients who tend to become one of our best references. It’s a definite

JURASSIC WORLD BY THE NUMBERS: Number of shoot days: 33 (23 Oahu, 10 Kauai) Number of full prep days: 4 weeks Number of local crew hires (approximately): 400 Number of hotel room nights: 14,860 (10,500 Oahu, 4,360 Kauai) Number of local vendors: 220 (190 Oahu, 30 Kauai)

win-win for our property, Oahu and Hawaii as a whole.” Veteran location manager Laura Sode-Matteson (Pirates 2 and 3, Jurassic Park 3, Battleship) concurs with Crowley, who credits Sode-Matteson’s extensive knowledge and familiarity of the islands as one of the factors that helped them decide to shoot in Hawaii, saying, “everyone’s attitude was so positive and supportive.” Hawaii has good attributes, said Sode-Matteson, who concurs with Crowley’s assessment of the islands. “It’s in the U.S., offers great jungles and

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beaches, has great crews and hotels, and are used to doing big movies so you are not reinventing the wheel,” she said. “You have good film commissions. Art [Umezu on Kauai], Walea and Donne [Dawson, state film commissioner] all know how a film works and how to make it easy for incoming productions of this scale. They knew how to open the doors and lay the groundwork for us. And it’s nice not to have to worry about snakes and chiggers attacking you when working in the jungle.” Not many locations can boast about being a part of the 22-year life cycle of one of the most beloved and successful film franchises in film history. It’s a great testament to the sustainability of Hawaii’s film industry. When you think of how much has changed throughout the years—the growth and intense competition there is now and the shift to bottom-line-based decision-making—Hawaii should be proud that it has made the right adjustments and course corrections to build, develop, grow and keep Hawaii in the forefront of the industry. What’s missing? “If you had more stages, it would have been helpful,” said Sode-Matteson. HFV

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Kauai

SPECIAL FOCUS

Keeping Kauai’s Film Legacy Alive BY ART UMEZU Kauai Film Commissioner

A

loha from Kauai! I’m not one to celebrate anniversaries, but for this special occasion I’ll do a shout out and extend my heartfelt appreciation to filmmakers and industry professionals in Hawaii, Hollywood and the world for their continued support of Kauai’s film industry. It’s been 10 years since I was appointed by the late Mayor Bryan Baptiste as Kauai’s film commissioner, and I’ve been working with Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.’s administration since 2008. I remember well 10 years ago that in one of my first interviews as a commissioner, I had the audacity to say, “You know, (Steven) Spielberg has already been here before (three times since 1992 to film Jurassic Park 1, 2 and 3), so it’s a matter of time for him to find the right film and he’ll return.” (From Dec. 5, 2004, The Garden Island article.) So mahalo nui loa to Mr. Steven Spielberg for returning to Kauai 10 years later in 2014 to film the fourth Jurassic Park installment, Jurassic World! I thought it would never return! It started on Kauai with a casting call on March 16 at Kauai Community College Performing Arts Center in Lihue that drew more than 1,500 people. The production office at Kauai Marriott Hotel at Kalapaki opened in April, with construction and transportation crew arriving later that month to build sets at JK Ranch. The second unit crew of 50 arrived in April, when shooting plates and scenery started. By mid-May, 90 more drivers arrived, followed by a first unit crew of 160 to start production. Producer Pat Crowley and his wife and director Colin Trevorrow and his family arrived together and were greeted with lei at Lihue Airport by Mayor Carvalho, Kauai Visitors Bureau executive director Sue Kanoho and her staff, and myself. The good weather throughout the production had

the crew wrapping a day early, with most of the crew flying out on charter flights direct to New Orleans on May 30. A small crew stayed to clean the rigs, trailers and equipment, which was loaded onto a barge and shipped to Oahu, then to the mainland. The production wrapped two months of filming on Kauai on June 6. A wrap party for cast, crew and VIPs was held in late May at Kauai Marriott Hotel’s oceanfront luau garden with island-style food servings, Hawaiian music and hula dancers. Also filming on Kauai this fiscal year (July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014) were nearly 30 other productions with $4.1 million in film expenditures. That figure doesn’t include expenditures from Jurassic World—those expenditures will be included for fiscal year 2014 when they become available. The biggest production aside from Jurassic World was an MTV reality show, Are You the One?, by Travel Light Entertainment. The production spent two months and nearly $4 million on Kauai from September to November 2013. Another TV reality show, Hawaii Life on HGTV, about couples seeking a perfect home in Hawaii, filmed at least three episodes on Kauai in the last 10 months. There were also several Japanese productions, including Hawaii Tourism Japan’s promotional campaign with Japanese animated hero Ultraman, and BS11 TV Tokyo, a broadcast via satellite station that spent two weeks covering Kauai’s movie locations and Hollywood film history. Agora, Japan Airlines’ executive class in-flight

magazine, covered 12 pages of Kauai’s movie locations and film history, as well. About 700,000 copies of the winter 2013 issue were printed and distributed. NHK, Japan’s public television, also filmed 10 days on Kauai about the abundance of rain and waterfalls in Mt. Waialeale and Alakai Swamp. In other news, last year Kauai celebrated 80 years of Hollywood production since Cane Fire, which was filmed on Kauai’s west side in 1933. Looking back since I took office in 2004, Kauai has been blessed with many and various productions, including major Hollywood films, low-budget indie films, TV specials, music videos, industrial films, ever-increasing television reality shows, high-end TV commercials and international magazine spreads from the United States, Europe, Australia and Asia. Here are a few highlights: • Dreamworks’ Tropic Thunder brought actor/director Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr., along with 300 crewmembers and extras, to Kauai for seven months in 2007. • Disney’s fourth Pirates of the Caribbean sequel, On Stranger Tides, filmed on Kauai with Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz. • Tri Star Pictures filmed Kauai surfer Bethany Hamilton’s biopic Soul Surfer on Kauai’s north shore. • Columbia Pictures/Happy Madison Productions had Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston starring in Just Go With It, which spent a month and several million dollars on one scene at Kauai’s Kilauea Falls. • And George Clooney was seen all over Kauai’s north shore and elsewhere wooing the wahines when he was cast as the lead in the award-winning Alexander Payne-directed film The Descendants by Fox Searchlight Films. The latter four movies all filmed on Kauai in the first seven months of 2010, spending nearly $54 million in film-related expenditures on Kauai. Tropic Thunder spent a whopping $63 million on Kauai in 2007. Big-budget Hollywood films and movie

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stars have always been associated with Kauai, including Elvis Presley (Blue Hawaii), John Wayne (Donovan’s Reef), Dustin Hoffman (Outbreak), Harrison Ford (Six Days Seven Nights and Raiders of the Lost Ark), Jessica Lange (King Kong), Rita Hayworth (Miss Sadie Thompson), Richard Chamberlain (Thornbirds), Frank Sinatra (None But the Brave), and more. But not all films are about big budgets and big stars. One of my favorite and most influ-

ential Hollywood filmmakers, who I think helped expose Kauai to Hollywood studios, is the King of B Movies, Roger Corman, who came to Kauai in 1956 and 1957 to film low-budget movies with noname stars. He was here way before South Pacific, Blue Hawaii, Spielberg or Clooney reached Kauai’s shores. In 1956, Corman filmed She Gods of Shark Reef, a cult classic, which filmed at the historic Coco Palms Hotel in Wailua before it became famous in Presley’s Blue

Hawaii in 1963. In 1957, Corman filmed another movie, Naked Paradise, which according to The Garden Island newspaper had packed houses at Pono Theater in Kapaa and Kauai Theater in Lihue when it screened later that year. In the last 10 years, Corman filmed four more movies on Kauai, all made-for-TV movies for Syfy Channel: the Jim Wynorski-directed Komodo vs. Cobra (2004), Supergator (2006), Dinocroc vs. Supergator (2009) and Piranhaconda (2011). HFV

Locations/Production Management Production Coordinator Features • Commercials • T.V. Music Videos

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Kauai

Part-Time Kauai Resident Pierce Brosnan Back in Action

SPECIAL FOCUS

BY SUE KANOHO Executive Director, Kauai Visitors Bureau

O

ur island is blessed with incredible beauty, wonderful people and a long history with Hollywood. Through the many projects that have filmed on Kauai, we have had some of the actors and crew return to the island for some relaxation and rejuvenation. We even have a few celebrities who have homes here that they visit from time to time to get away from their busy schedules. One of our special part-time residents, actor Pierce Brosnan, debuted his new film, The November Man, August 27. The November Man is about an ex-CIA operative who is brought back in on a very personal mission, and finds himself pitted against his former pupil in a deadly game involving high-level CIA officials and the Russian president-elect.

Truth be told, Pierce Brosnan has always been my favorite James Bond, and it’s great to see him return to a spy genre film. I was fortunate enough to see Brosnan when he debuted his touching film Evelyn on Kauai back in 2002. Ironically, that is the only time I’ve seen him on the island because he lives a pretty low-key life when on Kauai.

The promotions that come with the opening of a film have had Brosnan giving a few interviews from Kauai, giving readers/viewers a small glimpse into his life on the Garden Island. When DuJour Magazine called my office to ask for some support for their interview with him, we were happy to assist. The image of Brosnan in the water with Mt. Makana in the background was perfect. I was then pleasantly surprised to see another interview on CBS Sunday Morning where the opening shot is Brosnan on a standup paddleboard with his interviewer on Kauai. I’m really looking forward to seeing The November Man and watching Pierce Brosnan back in action again. HFV

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SPECIAL FOCUS

Kauai

Behind the Scenes with Sean Garcia

K

auai’s Sean Garcia epitomizes what production crew on Hawaii’s neighbor islands must do to make a living when no television, films or commercial projects are filming there.

When he’s not production coordinating a feature film, which he prefers to television and commercials, Garcia joins his wife at their Java Kai coffee store in Kapaa serving up brew and food. Garcia, who was born and raised in the central California coast town of Cayucos, began his production career as a personal assistant for Oscar-winning producer Arnold Kopelson, who produced the films Platoon and The Fugitive. “I was so lucky,” said Garcia. “I learned so much about the production business in that job.” Over the next several years he would steadily move up in the business, starting out as a production assistant on the film Orange, followed by The Italian Job, then in 2006 as assistant production coordinator on The Pursuit of Happyness. Garcia was also second unit production coordinator on the 32 HAWAII FILM & VIDEO

massive hit Iron Man in 2008, “additional” production coordinator on The Incredible Hulk, assistant production coordinator on Hancock, and production coordinator in Hawaii for the Johnny Depp starrer Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides in 2011. “You can’t get any higher than working on a Johnny Depp film,” he said. Garcia and his wife moved to Kauai six years ago, in part because so many films were being shot outside of Los Angeles, including places like Vancouver, Louisiana, New Mexico and San Francisco. “I didn’t want to be out of town for work and away from my family,” he said. There were several reasons why the couple picked Kauai. “My wife’s mother lives on Kauai and we visited there a lot and we wanted to try something different,” explained Garcia. His mother-in-law also owns two busi-

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nesses on the island, including a Kapaa restaurant and the next-door coffee shop. She was planning to sell the coffee shop, when the couple asked to take it over for her. And Garcia knew he would be the only union production coordinator on Kauai, which pretty much guaranteed him work. Before that first year on the island was over, Pirates was already preparing to shoot on Oahu and Kauai. The massive production crew included several people who had worked with Garcia in L.A., so he got offered the coordinator job. “I worked on the film for 10 months, including some time on Oahu,” he said. “It was non-stop.” And although a major film might only shoot in Hawaii once a year, Garcia may work as many as 10 months on it, he said. Kauai also isn’t as stressful as working in L.A., where “everyone’s attitude is go, go, go,” said Garcia. “Kauai is so far out here and the resources so limited that the natural beauty forces people to slow down,” he said. “You can relax here and still get the job done.” Living in Hawaii and working here also allows Garcia to see part of Kauai that not many people get to see because either the area is so remote or on private property. His latest project was Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park sequel, Jurassic World. Garcia was hired as Kauai production coordinator nearly a year before filming began. The first location scout was in 2012, but then production stopped when Spielberg rejected the initial script. When a new script was eventually approved, the production did “a ton” of other scouts, Garcia said. Jurassic World filmed on Oahu for 23 days, then moved their 60-person second unit crew to Kauai on May 10. On May 15, some 220 crew and executives traveled to Kauai to begin principal photography. In L.A., Garcia’s friends and neighbors all worked in production, so it wasn’t a “special kind of a thing to do,” he said. “But on Kauai, it is a unique job. All my friends and neighbors are envious and so happy for me. “My kids are even amazed about Dad.” HFV


SPOTLIGHT ON:

Casting*Kauai

Kauai

A

SPECIAL FOCUS

What’s the biggest name movie or television series that you have done casting for? Features: Jurassic Park, Lost World, Jurassic Park 3, Six Days Seven Nights, Outbreak, Dragonfly, Blue Crush, Missing Brendan, To End All Wars. TV shows: Baywatch - Hawaii, History Channel - The Naked & The Dead.

ngela Tillson of Casting*Kauai talks talent and more in this exclusive Q&A. How did your career as a casting director begin? I started my film career in November 1989 on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. I became the part-time assistant to Linda Antipala, owner of Casting*Kauai at the time, for 11 years helping during castings of the numerous features, commercials and still shoots coming to Kauai. We were extremely busy with all the features and other productions that were shooting on the Islands. It was an exciting and fun-filled time finding the exact talent productions were searching for. In 1997, I bought the company and continued improving the company’s talent resources.

What has been the most fun project to cast? The most fun feature to work on was Dragonfly. We were hired to find a large number of talent and background extras that would resemble Brazil’s Amazon Yanomami native tribe with our local talent in hair, makeup and native customs. They also flew a chartered flight of 119 (all ages) natives from Brazil to fill in for the authentic look. I was also hired as a Spanish translator for the tribe people. It was one of the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had working as a casting director. How does the level of talent that you see here in Hawaii compare to the rest of the country? The talent pool level in Hawaii has improved considerably with all the productions being filmed in the state. The award-winning features and TV shows like Lost and Hawaii Five-0 have attracted more new experienced talent to move into the Islands. HFV

Casting*Kauai Angela Tillson PO Box 1405 Kapaa, HI 96746-7405 (808)823-0105 Phone • (808)635-3710 Cell E-mail: angela@aloha.net

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HAWAII Casting Directors

Aloha Casting Maui 641-715-3900 ext. 198797 alohacasting808@gmail.com www.alohacasting.com Brent Anbe Casting Oahu 808-728-3026 brentanbecasting@gmail.com Big Island Casting Big Island 808-990-7848 laura@encoretalent-hawaii.com www.encoretalent-hawaii.com Casting*Kauai Kauai 808-635-3710 angela@aloha.net Chameleon Talent Agency Maui 808-879-7817 cynthia@chameleontalent.com www.chameleontalent.com Ehman Productions Inc. Maui 808-870-4732; fax 720-596-7882 ehman@maui.net www.ehmanproductions.com Anna Fishburn Casting Oahu 808-227-6150 annafishburn09@gmail.com

Focus International Hawaii Model & Talent Agency Big Island 808-326-1108 / 808-323-3333 swan@focushawaii.com www.focushawaii.com Larson Talent Oahu, Maui, Kauai & Big Island 808-347-3604 larsontalent1@gmail.com www.larsontalent.com instagram.com/larsontalenthawaii

Lucky Dog Productions Inc. Kauai 808-652-5210; fax 877-504-9376 jason@luckydogkauai.com www.luckydogkauai.com

North Shore Casting Oahu 808-783-5533 lindsaymcgill@mac.com www.minnoweleven.com

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OT HE R

LI PE VE MU RFO SP SIC RM TALECIA IANSANCE / EN L EV / T EN T

VO ICE OV ER

MO DE LS

EX BA TR AC CKGAS/ TO RO RS UN D

PR INC IPA LA CT OR S

COMPANY ISLAND PHONE EMAIL WEBSITE

Types of talent cast


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ADR Agency Oahu 888-902-3414; fax 888-337-3454 info@adragency.com www.adragency.com

Chameleon Talent Agency Maui 808-879-7817 cynthia@chameleontalent.com www.chameleontalent.com

Encore Talent & Big Island Casting Big Island 808-990-7848 laura@encoretalent-hawaii.com www.encoretalent-hawaii.com

Focus International Hawaii Model & Talent Agency Big Island 808-326-1108 /0808-323-3333 swan@focushawaii.com www.focushawaii.com

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OTH ER

SP ST ORT TALUNT S/ EN T

HA ST IR MA YLIST AR KE S/ WA TISTUP STY RDR S/ LIS OBE TS

LI PE VE MU RFOR SP SICI MA TAL ECIALANS/ NCE/ ENT EVE NT

SP SP OKE HOSEAKESRPEOP TS S/ LE/

VO TAL ICE O EN VE T R

Types of talent available MO DE LS

COMPANY ISLAND PHONE EMAIL WEBSITE

AC TO RS

HAWAII Modeling & Talent Agencies


OTH ER

SP ST ORT TALUNT S/ EN T

HA ST IR MA YLIST AR KE S/ WA TISTUP STY RDR S/ LIS OBE TS

LI PE VE MU RFOR SP SICI MA TAL ECIALANS/ NCE/ ENT EVE NT

SP SP OKE HOSEAKESRPEOP TS S/ LE/

VO TAL ICE O EN VE T R

Types of talent available MO DE LS

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AC TO RS

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Larson Talent Oahu, Maui, Kauai, & Big Island 808-347-3604 larsontalent1@gmail.com www.larsontalent.com instagram.com/larsontalenthawaii Kathy Muller Talent & Modeling Agency Oahu 808-737-7917; fax 808-734-3026 info@kathymuller.com www.kathymuller.com Niche Models and Talent LLC Oahu 808-734-4941; fax 808-734-4948 info@nichemodelsandtalent.com www.nichemodelsandtalent.com Premier Models and Talent Oahu 808-955-6511 model@premiermodeling.com www.premiermodeling.com Wilhelmina Hawaii Oahu 888-907-3557; fax 888-337-3454 info@wilhelminahawaii.com www.wilhelminahawaii.com

Taylour Chang Doris Duke Theatre Manager

t: 808-532-3033 f: 808-681-7333 e: tchang@honolulumuseum.org www.honolulumuseum.org

Honolulu Museum of Art 900 S.Beretania Street Honolulu, HI 96814

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Meet the Commissioner: Hawaii Island’s T. Ilihia Gionson

T.

Ilihia Gionson, Hawaii Island’s new film commissioner, may have the toughest job of any of his counterparts. Hawaii Island receives fewer productions than the other islands and Gionson has to figure out a way to get more qualified crew based there; have needed equipment made available on short notice; attract film, television and commercial shoots; and convince studios and networks that the immense size of the island is a good thing because of the diversity of climates and flora and fauna. Oftentimes productions won’t film along the Hamakua Coast—the wet east side—because there are no decent accommodations. Mentioning that to Gionson gets him more than a bit upset. “It may be true that accommodations in Hilo are not like on the Kona-Kohala side, but with the new Saddle Road you can drive to Kona in an hour when it used to take more

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than two hours,” he said. “So actors can be driven to luxury hotels much faster than before.” Gionson, who has worked with Mayor Billy Kenoi and Hawaii County for several years, was given specific goals by the mayor when he took the commissioner’s post seven months ago. “The most immediate thing is to bring the production community back together on our island,” said Gionson. “We know that most times the production community cannot only work in the industry because we don’t have that many productions coming here. So it’s easy that the production community could fall apart, and we’re trying to put them back together.” At this year’s Locations Expo in California and in meetings with production executives, Gionson said the most frequently asked question he received was


whether Hawaii Island’s crew situation had improved. The new commissioner calls the situation a “chicken and egg thing.” “We can’t get more crew to be based here unless we get more productions,” he said. “And we can’t get a lot of productions to come here if we don’t have a large qualified crew base.” Gionson and Kenoi’s administration, as well as Hawaii Island’s production community, know “it’s imperative to attract productions from outside the Hawaiian Islands,” he said. “But we also want to work on getting more Hawaii Island productions homegrown with filmmakers who are already here writing, directing and producing their own thing.” The county is working to that end by assisting filmmaking programs at Hawaii Community College and Kona’s University of the Nations. To his colleagues, Gionson is a multiskilled communicator with substantial experience in writing, editing, photography, layout, production and social media. He also has experience in marketing and public relations for small local businesses,

non-profits and government agencies. Gionson was Kenoi’s executive assistant/ public relations director from October 2011 to March of this year, primarily responsible for producing outgoing media for news outlets and directly to the public through social media, the web, and the monthly Holomua newsletter. From May 2010 to September 2011, he was creative consultant/show writer for Walt Disney’s Imagineering division helping to develop entertainment for the Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Oahu. Gionson was also a writer and producer for the Hawaiian language news show Aha’i ‘Olelo Ola for 10 months where he conceptualized stories, scheduled shoots and edits, and saw packages through to broadcast. And he was also the Office of Hawaiian Affairs’ publications editor for nearly two years. Georja Skinner, the state’s Creative Industries Division chief officer, said that whether he’s writing, creating or managing, Gionson’s commitment is evident in the way he approaches his work. Under Gionson’s leadership, Hawaii

Island has landed what likely will be the island’s biggest production when Wheel of Fortune arrives this September to do four weeks of filming at the Hilton Waikoloa. The Hawaii production will cost Sony Television about $12 million. Production expenditures for Hawaii Island in 2013 totaled just $3 million. “For me as a film commissioner and having Wheel coming here is simply spectacular,” said Gionson. “It’s an amazing, complex, logistically difficult production to build here, then spend a month to break it down. And you will never know they were there.” The publicity to be gained for the island is enormous since some 29 million viewers watch the show each week. The production will also feature Vanna White in stand-ups at five spectacular locations. “It’s win-win for everyone: Hawaii Island and the state,” said Gionson. Read more about the Wheel production on page 41. HFV The Big Island Film Office can be reached at 808-961-8366 or film@filmbigisland.com.

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Wheel of Fortune Returns to Hawaii

I

t’s a chance to buy a vowel, spin the wheel, chat with Pat Sajak and Vanna White, and win big money.

But it’s much more than that for Hawaii Island’s visitor industry, said T. Ilihia Gionson, the island’s film commissioner. “Not only are they spending $12 million to come here to film a month of shows, but the basically free publicity Hawaii Island will get is amazing,” he said. Thousands of people applied to be on Wheel of Fortune, the longest-running and top syndicated television game show in the United States. Applicants had to submit a one-minute video explaining why they should be selected. Those videos give the selection team a chance to see what people sound and look like, as well as provide some insight into their personality, according to executive producer Harry Friedman. More than 10,000 people try out each year, but fewer than 600 are selected to appear on the show. Trademarked as “America’s Game,” Wheel of Fortune has earned

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several awards since debuting in 1975. It has also awarded more than $200 million in cash and prizes to contestants. For more than 90 million Americans, they have never known a world without the show. For the Hawaii-filmed episodes, auditions were held on Hawaii Island and Oahu. Nearly 100 lucky people were selected to compete in 1 of the 20 episodes scheduled to be taped in September at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. The show was looking for 30 individuals, 15 couples, and 15 pairs of best friends. Each week will have a theme: “Wheel Goes To Waikoloa,” “Best Friends,” “Hawaiian Adventure Activities” and “Second Honeymoon.” There will be segments depicting the island’s diversity of geography and climates. The places to be showcased include Hapuna Beach, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hulihee Palace, Hawaii’s Tropical Botanical Garden, Jagger Museum and the Hilton Waikoloa Village. “The goal is to transport the viewer to Hawaii, and we try our best to make them feel like they’re there,” said Friedman. The Hawaii episodes will air in November and February. Wheel of Fortune has been taken on location 65 times, but no destination creates a greater sense of excitement than Hawaii, Friedman said. This is the fifth time Wheel has taped in Hawaii since 1996. It’s also the show’s third time on the Big Island. The Los Angeles-based production will ship 40 trailers, containers and one 65-foot mobile production truck, which will take seven days to travel by cargo ship to Honolulu. From there, the equipment is shipped to Kona. There is only one Wheel and one Puzzleboard, which both have to be dismantled before they’re barged, then put back together. Along with the 1.8 million pounds of equipment for the upcoming shows, there are 195 staff and crew from Los Angeles and Honolulu to work as technicians, security guards and stagehands. The first crewmembers began work at the Hilton Waikoloa Village on August 27. The final touches will be put on the set during rehearsal on September 12. On a remote shoot like in Hawaii, the production will tape five shows a day. For this shoot, taping is September 13-17 and the load out is September 18-23. HFV

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Director Tim Savage prepares for a scene at a central Oahu location for Under the Blood Red Sun.

INDIE BEAT: Under the Blood Red Sun Now Available On Demand

I

t took Dana Hankins more than a decade to tell a story she insists “had to be told.”

After several attempts to get the novel Under the Blood Red Sun made into a film— financial backing failed twice—the persistent Hankins has accomplished her goal. “I’m very, very excited and grateful,” she said.

Eventually Hankins found solid financial backing and raised enough money—a budget of $1 million—to do 15 days of filming last November and the early part of this year, wrapping in the spring. She’s also “terribly excited” that “99 percent of the actors and crew are from Hawaii.” Hankins had optioned the book in 1995. The young adult novel by Graham “Sandy” Salisbury tells the story of Tomikazu “Tomi”

Nakaji (played by Kyler Sakamoto) and his best friend Billy Davis (Kalama Epstein) who are playing baseball in a field near their homes in Hawaii when Japan launches a surprise attack on the United States at Pearl Harbor. As Tomi looks up at the sky and recognizes the Blood-Red Sun emblem on the amber Japanese fighter planes, he knows that his life has changed forever. Torn between his love

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of all things American and the traditional ways of his parents and Grandpa (Dann Seki), Tomi feels frightened and ashamed of his native land. Tomi’s friendship with Billy is soon tested as prejudice divides their island community. He must find the courage to stand up to neighborhood bully Keet Wilson (Bryce Moore), while protecting his family’s honor and its katana, a centuries-old samurai sword. He is then forced to become the man of the family to care for his Mama (Autumn Ogawa) and sister Kimi (Mina Kohara), after his Papa (Chris Tashima) is arrested and taken away to an internment camp. Hankins and author Salisbury searched for eight months before they found what they wanted in a pair of acting newcomers. The characters of Tomi and Billy are central to the story’s theme of friendship under fire, Hankins said. More than 50 boys auditioned for the roles. Hankins decided early on not to submit the film to festivals because “it isn’t edgy, violent, sexy or contemporary.” But perhaps within the next year Hankins wants the film to be available to kids watching it on their entertainment devices. The film, directed by Tim Savage, was released in mid-September via Internet video-on-demand, a day after a private screening at the historic Hawaii Theatre Center in downtown Honolulu. The film was also shown in September at the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, where the author and cast members were present. And in late September, there was a free outdoor screening at the Pearl Harbor Visitors Center that included a red carpet arrival for cast members. HFV The film is available for online purchase at www.underthebloodredsunmovie.com. Notable Hawaii-based actor Dann Seki shoots a scene with his movie grandson, played by Kyler Sakamoto.

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Flying High with Custom Aerial Platforms

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lue Sky Aerial Solutions, LLC (BSAS) is a company formed by Brian Verkaart back in 2010. Combining his background in Bio-Medical engineering and his love of flying Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and model aircraft, Verkaart created BSAS to provide custom UAV platforms that are purpose-built for an array of industries, not the least of which is cinematography, and dynamic aerial photos and videos. Unlike offthe-shelf drones that many hobbyists have been using, BSAS products, such as the portable X8, are stable, tuned to eliminate any detrimental vibrations and ready to take on sophisticated camera equipment that you wouldn’t want to trust on a mass-produced platform. Not too comfortable flying a UAV? BSAS can provide training on how to safely operate a machine when you purchase a system. Having flown model aircraft for almost two decades, Verkaart has quite the resume and experience with these machines—especially when it comes to operating them manually, before GPS stabilization was even available. For those wondering why that’s important, knowing how to fly manually can be the difference between landing safely and crashing during unexpected circumstances. Even with the vast selection of drones in

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Verkaart with the X8 and helicopter, and team member, Sue, holding the Cam·motion™

the market, however, most are not built to be equipped with high-end, professional cameras, such as the Canon 5D Mark III, BMPC, GH4 or the Red Epic. Seeing this gap, Verkaart created BSAS to fill this niche. Working in his Maui laboratory with his engineering hat on, he designs, builds and tunes each of his proprietary platforms before they go out to clients. As the pilot, Verkaart makes sure that end-user experience is what it’s supposed to be—comfortable, stable and functional. Switching hats to an aerial photographer and cinematographer, he focuses on his great respect and love of capturing the right shot at the right time, furthering his obsession with making sure all of his machines are ready to take advantage of every opportunity. And opportunities abound on Maui, a filmmaker’s paradise when it comes to extraordinary tropical scenery. Now with systems

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like the X8 and the Cam·motion™ (a portable hand-held camera stabilization system), independent and professional filmmakers alike can trek to remote locations that were previously inaccessible and get amazing footage. The ability to hire a qualified drone operator right on the islands of Hawaii will also save time and costs of having to import one from the mainland. Being a small business owner and wearing so many hats isn’t always easy but Verkaart is setting a high standard. Constantly innovating and improving, BSAS is poised to be the number one choice for filmmakers when it comes to professional aerial platforms and camera stabilization systems. HFV To contact BSAS for your next project, call 808280-9660 or e-mail info@blueskyaerialsolutions. com.


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