‘KULEANA’ Wins Audience Choice Narrative Feature in its North American Premier

‘KULEANA’ added another top prize to its growing list of successes with an “Audience Choice Narrative Feature” award in its second film festival screening; this time in Texas at the 23rd annual San Antonio Film Festival.

In ‘KULEANA’, set on Maui in 1971, a disabled Vietnam vet rediscovers the Hawaiian warrior within to protect his family, defend their land, and clear his father’s name. ‘KULEANA’ held its World Premiere screening for an attendance-record 3,100 enthusiastic viewers outdoors at the 2017 Maui Film Festival in June, where it also received an ‘Audience Choice’ Award.

Critics report of ‘KULEANA’: “An original blend of Hawaii’s history, spirituality and culture. Kuleana introduces a unique new film genre: Hawaiian Noir. While the setting may be tropical paradise, it’s set against a shocking and densely plotted mystery that twists and turns like a Raymond Chandler thriller. With its easy-going pace, lived-in characterizations, emphasis on domestic cruelties and layered, twisty storytelling, the movie this most reminded me of was Chinatown” MauiTime (6/17). And: “Kuleana is certainly a unique experience, merging unlikely genres and providing a cast of characters whom audiences can identify with no matter where they live” Arts Beat LA (8/17).

A rising star in the ’KULEANA’ all-Hawaii cast, Sonya Balmores, appears this fall in a no-nonsense role as Auran in Marvel’s INHUMANS co-produced by ABC and IMAX. A first in television, the series debuts in IMAX theaters worldwide followed by a premiere on ABC. The model/actor from Kauai will also be seen in a guest-starring role in the upcoming season of Dwayne Johnson’s HBO television series BALLERS, and in Gerard Butler’s action feature DEN OF THIEVES alongside Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson.

Balmores, writer/director Brian Kohne, and other key cast and crew will appear in support of the movie at select Film Festivals. Among them, ’KULEANA’ is slated to screen in the Tribal Film Festival in Oklahoma, the Louisville International Film Festival in Kentucky, the Guam International Film Festival, the Santa Cruz Film Festival in California, and in a November preview screening in the Hawaii International Film Festival on Oahu on its steady march toward a statewide theatrical run in Hawaii.

‘KULEANA’ is the Hawaiian word for Spiritual Responsibility. The provocative new mystery/drama was written and directed by Brian Kohne, produced by Stefan Schaefer, and stars native Hawaiian Moronai Kanekoa, Sonya Balmores (Marvel’s INHUMANS), Kristina Anapau (TRUE BLOOD), Augie T, Marlene Sai, Branscombe Richmond, and Mel Cabang. Hawaii’s legendary Willie K provides the original score with Johnny Wilson; and the hypnotic soundtrack boasts hits by Joni Mitchell, Procol Harum, Tony Orlando and Dawn and others, with classic Hawaiian recordings of the sixties by Genoa Keawe, Lena Machado, Sunday Manoa, Sons of Hawaii, Marlene Sai, and Myra English.

‘KULEANA’ Trailer (2017) from Hawai’i Cinema on Vimeo.

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