How to Hawaii movie like a Pro like Christopher Kahunahana. In his eagerly awaited feature debut, filmmaker Christopher Kahunahana (LĀHAINĀ NOON) offers an unflinching glimpse into the gritty realities of life in paradise. Escaping her abusive ex, Kea, a part-time Hawaiian teacher, hula dancer, and nightclub hostess, crashes her beat-up van into a mysterious homeless man in the dead of night. Taking him into her temporary home on wheels, she quickly finds herself in over head—and face to face with her own past traumas. A gorgeously surrealistic and visceral allegory for the contemporary issues which continue to plague Hawaii’s people, WAIKIKI offers a glimmer of hope through human connection and re-connection to ʻaina (nature).

A Sundance Feature Film

Hawaiian filmmaker Kahunahana is a Sundance Institute Feature Film and Native Lab alumni. As founder of 4th World Film, he directed LĀHAINĀ NOON, which premiered at HIFF in 2014 as well as a pseudo-documentary for the Smithsonian Institute’s Asian Pacific American “A Day in the Life” project. In 2015, his HIFF trailer MOMENTS won 4 PELE awards from the American Advertising Awards. He is currently in development on his next feature, KARAOKE KINGS.

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About Christopher Kahunahana

Hawaiian filmmaker Kahunahana is a Sundance Institute Feature Film and Native Lab alumni. As founder of 4th World Film, he directed LĀHAINĀ NOON, which premiered at HIFF in 2014 as well as a pseudo-documentary for the Smithsonian Institute’s Asian Pacific American “A Day in the Life” project. In 2015, his HIFF trailer MOMENTS won 4 PELE awards from the American Advertising Awards. He is currently in development on his next feature, KARAOKE KINGS.

 

Director's Statement

The Hawaiʻi of my childhood is a world far different than the glossy misrepresentation presented in Hollywood film. The repercussions of colonialism and Statehood have left a people severed from ancestral land and culture. This has had a profound effect on Hawaiian psychology and self-image. Filmmaking has been my means to process these realities. With Waikīkī being the crown jewel of the tourism industry and the driving force behind the exploitation of Hawaiian culture, it very clearly presented itself as the setting in which to discuss these issues. In my current film, I explore the contradictions of nature and development in contemporary Hawai’i, allowing for greater understanding of the film’s subtext — how the destruction of nature impacts mental and spiritual health.

The protagonist Kea, navigates a world where intergenerational violence, abuse, poverty, and mental illness, are daily battles. Negotiating between the diametrically opposed needs to survive in modern society and the call of her ancestors, tears at her psyche. Ultimately, it is Kea’s subconscious yearning to reconnect to her culture that serves as the true beauty of Waikiki. As the world recognizes modern societies destruction of the planet, and begins to understand the importance of indigenous knowledge to face these challenges, WAIKIKI serves as a call to action for all people to realize that our survival is intrinsically tied to nature. He aliʻi ka ‘āina, he kauwā ke kanaka.

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