Hawai'i Int'l Film Festival | November film premieres

Two films will be premiering at the upcoming Hawai'i International Film Festival (HIFF), which runs Nov. 2-12. A short I wrote and directed, entitled I AM BECAUSE YOU ARE, will world premiere on November 5th. We shot the film over four days here on Maui, with local cast and crew, including several family members. We were lucky enough to be supported by a grant/licensing deal from Pacific Islanders in Communication. After playing festivals, the film will be broadcast on PBS. 

Also screening at HIFF is Brian Kohne's feature KULEANA, which I produced and was forced to act in. The film has been racking up awards on the festival circuit and will be released theatrically in late January/early February. More news on the roll-out soon. 

Finally, still busy on the AMC TV series with Kristiana Kahakauwila. We are revising, polishing, and revising the pilot script some more. 

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Upcoming Screenings | Chicago + Maui

EVEN THOUGH THE WHOLE WORLD IS BURNING - my documentary on poet and environmental activist W.S. Merwin - will screen on May 8th in Chicago. The screening is part of the opening festivities for the American Writers Museum. Old friends Edward Morris & Susannah Saylor have created an amazing exhibit inspired by Merwin's palm forest, called "All Awake in the Darkness." More info on their great work HERE. Screening info HERE. I'll be attending with others from the Merwin Conservancy for a post-screening Q&A. 

Also, looking ahead to June, an indie feature I produced in Hawai'i, entitled KULEANA, will screen as part of the Maui Film Festival. This a period drama/mystery written and directed by Brian Kohne, and starring an amazing cast all with roots in Hawai'i - Moronai Kanekoa, Sonya Balmores, Kristina Anapau, Branscombe Richmond, Augie T, Marlene Sai...

We were lucky enough to have some of the NYC film family here for this one too - DP Dan Hersey, Costume Designer Bethanne Kelleher, sound wizard Marcin Tyszka, etc. 

KULEANA trailer can be found HERE

Tickets for the Maui Film Festival screening on Friday, June 23rd, at the Celestial Cinema can be purchased HERE

And on the 247th Day...

We pitched on July 6th. This following months of preparation with the team from indie powerhouse Big Beach. We could tell the execs in the room were captivated by the characters and show universe we described. They’d done their homework and had numerous follow-up questions. After over an hour we stepped back onto the elevator. Ding. Doors close. Back to the basement with validated parking tickets. We smiled, nodding, optimistic the prep work had paid off. Sure enough, several weeks later we heard they wanted to move forward… 

And then the wait began. The lawyers and business affairs duked it out for days, weeks, months. Months upon months. Mere seconds before hurling myself into the bottomless pit of despair, we received word that the deal had finally closed. March 17th, 2017. St. Patty’s Day, and I’m not even Irish. 247 days after our pitch at AMC headquarters in Santa Monica. 

I’m very happy to announce that author Tiana Kahakauwila and I are now writing a TV pilot for a network that has produced some of the best television of the past decade. Entitled THE ‘OHANA, our show is a contemporary drama set in Hawai’i. Last week - in our “creative kick-off call” with the AMC execs - there were numerous references to BREAKING BAD, MAD MEN, and the upcoming LODGE 49. No pressure…

Tethered to the Standing Desk... Deep in the Man Cave

Happy to report I'm working on another feature film with Yuta Silverman, who was the inspiration behind ARRANGED. Over the past eight years, due to the continued success of that film, Yuta and I have talked about many possible follow-up projects. Finally, last year, we hit on a world we were both interested in exploring. We began researching the many golem references and mythologies in Jewish lore and holy texts, and started kicking around ideas about how a modern retelling might function. Although some of the underpinnings are the same, the film will be very different than ARRANGED tonally - squarely landing in the "elevated genre" category. 

The films we've referenced in development include FILL THE VOID (because of its beautiful handling of the Orthodox faith), EX MACHINA (because of its adept melding of cutting-edge tech and strong charactes), and ROSEMARY'S BABY. The latter for many reasons, but primarily because of the way Polanski uses Mia Farrow's POV to constantly keep the audience guessing and on edge. Is this a woman going insane? Is this just an unhinged pregnant woman? Or are there really Satanists next door who want to sacrifice her baby? These films will continue to inspire me as we move from script to casting, financing and on through production. 

Another project I'm very excited about is a TV pitch the author Kristiana Kahakauwila and I took out over the summer. Developed with Big Beach (LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, LOVING, etc), it seems we've found a great production/broadcast partner for the show. Once lawyers finish their slow motion one-two-one, Tiana and I will jump into writing the pilot episode. More on all this soon.