This issue celebrates local filmmakers fighting against all odds to bring their narratives to screens both big and small.
Editor’s Letter: Film is transformative. It can rouse those watching it—make them laugh, make them cry, make them fume—as well as alter those making it. Not only does it capture moments in time, it has the power to incite social change, heal the broken, and uplift the downtrodden (one might even call it miraculous). Film carries cultures over seas to shores far, far away; ultimately, it can show us “how we’re different but ultimately the same,” as producer Beau Bassett says.
The resounding theme of this issue is the importance of the story, the importance of our story, and the necessity of sharing it with the world. “Our society is broken right now,” ‘Ōiwi TV co-founder Keoni Lee says. “The more we can get people … to be supportive of an indigenous worldview that emphasizes balance between other people and the environment, the better off we’ll be”—the better off the world will be. Thankfully, cinema in the isles is blossoming like never before. No longer content to let the world tell their stories for them, local filmmakers are reclaiming that which they hold so dear, seizing opportunity, and fighting against all odds to bring their narratives to screens both big and small.
While cinema is the focal point in this issue, we can’t forget about film in photography. The features and profiles in this issue were shot on a variety of black and white and color film, most of which were processed by hand in garages, studio apartments, even on the beach. Despite the collapse of the film industry, starting with Eastman Kodak’s bankruptcy filing in 2012 followed by the selling of its iconic film portion a year later, analog seems to be experiencing a minor renaissance, even if only in small circles. We remain optimistic about the evolution of the film industry into something new, subscribing to the view of media theorist Marshall McLuhan, who said, “Old technologies become today’s art forms.”
As we anticipate exciting new futures for film in Hawai‘i—both cinematic and photographic—we leave you with this quote by the late Roger Ebert, published in his last blog post in 2014: “Thank you for going on this journey with me. I’ll see you at the movies.”
Movie Theaters Loved and Lost Sitting in that special Friday night movie dark we are invisible, enraptured, and suspended between a layer of buttery grime and over-conditioned air. In the age of bedside Netflix, let’s hold onto that movie theater magic.