Outtakes Online: ‘Ohina spotlights Hawaiian films

Aug. 21, 2013 | 0 Comments

BY MIKE GORDON / mgordon@staradvertiser.com

Filmmaker Gerard Elmore likes to be surprised, at least when it comes to movies. But even he was taken aback with the realization of just how many selections in this year’s ‘Ohina Short Film Showcase have a Hawaiian theme, a Hawaiian director or a Hawaiian script.

ohinaAlthough all of the 10 films that will screen Friday, Aug. 22, and Saturday, Aug. 23, at the Doris Duke Theatre are locally made, five of them can claim a distinctly Hawaii focus.

It’s a new benchmark for the event, which dates from 1999, said Elmore, executive director of the showcase.

“‘Ohina is about local filmmakers and local stories, and that totally nails what we are looking for,” Elmore said. “It doesn’t have to be in the Hawaiian language, but it doesn’t get more local than that.”

Few films are done entirely in Hawaiian, but three of the films — “Nani ke Kalo,” “Haloa” and “Hulo!” — are in Hawaiian with English subtitles, Elmore said.

“Those always stand out when I see them,” he said. “Those are always very important, and it’s important to see that more are being made.”

But this is a film festival, so expect the unexpected.

“Fan Film” from Rising Sons celebrates the “Predator” series. There’s a cute film called “Lemonade” by high school student Emerald Leong. “Samoan-ness” is a goofy comedy about a Samoan who has forgotten how to be Samoan which Elmore predicts will be an audience favorite.

And “Little Girls War Cry,” one of two showcase selections from Academy for Creative Media student Erin Lau, provides a darling young crime-fighter to root for.

“We are trying to give these filmmakers a voice and a chance to get some press,” Elmore said. “We are going to have a red carpet, and if you come on opening night, there is food. We work hard to make it a great experience for the filmmakers.”

The shorts were chosen from 25 entries and edited into a single program that screens them one after the other. The program will be shown four times over the two days.

Even though he oversees the showcase, Elmore knows little about the final selections — and he likes it that way. The films were chosen by an independent committee of film experts, he said.

“I am just like any other audience member on opening night, seeing them fresh,” Elmore said. “It’s always a great surprise to see what made it.”

For more information, visit the Honolulu Museum of Art website.
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Mike Gordon covers film and television in Hawaii for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Email him at mgordon@staradvertiser.com and follow him on Twitter. Read his weekly “Outtakes” column Sundays in the Star-Advertiser.

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