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Big Island Film Festival Now Accepting New Films

Submissions will open September 1, 2015 for Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid Hawai‘i (BIFF), accepting new, narrative films for its 11th Annual event, May 26-30, 2016. BIFF is also hosting an original screenplay contest, with entries juried by a panel of industry professionals.

Some of the participants and winners of the 2014 Big Island Film Festival

Some of the participants and winners of the 2014 Big Island Film Festival

Acclaimed by NBC story consultant Jen Grisanti in The Huffington Post, Peter Caranicas in Variety.com, and numerous MovieMaker Magazine kudos, BIFF offers the film community in Hawai’i and beyond an easygoing island environment for networking, movie-watching under the stars, food and music happenings and more.

Deadlines. Narrative short films (30 minutes or less) and feature length (60 minutes or more) completed after January 1, 2015 will be considered. Deadlines are:

  • Early Bird – November 1, 2015. Early Bird Entry Fees: $50 Feature, $40 Short, $30 Student
  • Regular – January 1, 2016. Regular Entry Fees: $60 Feature, $50 Short, $35 Student
  • Late/Final February 1, 2016. Late Entry Fees: $70 Feature, $60 Short, $40 Student

All films shot in Hawai‘i or created by filmmakers who live in Hawai‘i receive a 25% discount on entry fees (verification required), with direct submission—as do BIFF alumni from everywhere.

BIFF uses www.FilmFreeway.com for its film submissions and screenplay contest entries. An easy and affordable process, Film Freeway offers free HD online screeners, Vimeo and YouTube integration, and more.

Awards

“Golden Honu Awards” will be presented to the Best Feature and Best Short in Family, Student, Animated, Foreign, Hawai‘i and Audience Choice categories at a special Awards Brunch to honor the filmmakers and their works on Monday, May 26, 2016.

Ariel Kebbel was awarded a Golden Honu last year.

Ariel Kebbel was awarded a Golden Honu last year.

The Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i is a celebration of narrative filmmaking, with free family films under the stars, international features and shorts, stellar social events, celebrity receptions, screenwriting workshops, film awards and much more in an outstanding island setting. Anchor sponsors include: The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, The Shops at Mauna Lani, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority/Hawai‘i County Department of Research and Development CPEP, and many other generous sponsors and supporters. For submission rules and application visit www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com or call 808-883-0394.

Two Accidents Kill Big Island Man and Visitor from China at a Waikoloa Resort

A 34-year-old man died Wednesday (July 22) as the result of an industrial accident at a Waikoloa resort.

69-400 Waikoloa Beach Drive

69-400 Waikoloa Beach Drive

South Kohala officers responding to an 8:44 a.m. call learned that a subcontractor had been doing renovations at the resort on the 69-400 block of Waikoloa Beach Drive when he suffered a fatal electric shock. He was taken to North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:40 a.m.

He has been identified as Aaron Barrett of Honokaʻa.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

AND

A Chinese national apparently drowned Wednesday (July 22) at a Waikoloa resort.

South Kohala police officers responded to a 12:36 p.m. report of a possible drowning at a resort on the 69-400 block of Waikoloa Beach Drive and found a man unconscious on the shore with medics attempting cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. The medics were unable to revive him. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:30 p.m.

He has been identified as 44-year-old Cong Guo of Shanghai, China.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

Waikoloa Beach Resort Restaurants Earn National Acclaim

In June, Lava Lava Beach Club, the oceanfront restaurant at Anaehoomalu Bay, and Kamuela Provision Company (KPC) at the Hilton Waikoloa Village, won recognition on a national level from premier restaurant reservations provider, Open Table.

Kamuela Provision Company in Hilton Waikoloa Village and Lava Lava Beach Club, among the Top 100 Al Fresco Dining experiences, according to Open Table. (Courtesy photos)

Kamuela Provision Company in Hilton Waikoloa Village and Lava Lava Beach Club, among the Top 100 Al Fresco Dining experiences, according to Open Table. (Courtesy photos)

In selecting its “Top 100 Best Al Fresco Dining in America,” more than five million reviews were surveyed from over 20,000 restaurants nationwide, between May 1, 2014, and April 30, 2015. To be included, restaurants were evaluated for excellence in outdoor dining experience, as well as overall service and food/beverage quality.

“The quality of restaurants within our destination resort is outstanding,” said the Resort’s Vice President Scott Head. “It’s great to know that reviews from visitors around the country are reflecting what we’ve known from the beginning. The combination of our Island’s beautiful settings, its first-class fresh foods from local sources and a warm, natural service style makes them winners. I am proud to congratulate Lava Lava Beach Club and Kamuela Provision Company.”

Statewide, 17 Hawaii restaurants made the list, eight from Hawaii Island. Earlier this year, CNN named Lava Lava Beach Club as one of Hawaii’s Top 10 Best Beach Bars.

Lava Lava Beach Club

Lava Lava Beach Club

Established in 2012, Lava Lava Beach Club is presented by the Von Platen Luder family of restaurateurs that includes the venerable Huggo’s in Kailua-Kona. They also offer overnight accommodations in four beach front cottages. For information and reservations, call 808-769-5282 or visit www.lavalavabeachclub.com.

Kamuela Provision Company’s signature Hawaii Regional Cuisine features prime steaks and fresh local produce and seafood is served in a matchless ocean sunset setting. For reservations, call 808-886-1234 or visit www.hiltonwaikoloavillage.com.

Waikoloa Beach Resort is a complete destination resort that encompasses two championship golf courses and over 3,000 guest rooms in two upscale hotels, and seven luxury condominiums and vacation home properties. The Resort also includes award-winning Queens’ MarketPlace and Kings’ Shops, offering a wide variety of shopping opportunities, services and dining experiences, plus free entertainment and cultural programs. For more information visit www.WaikoloaBeachResort.com or call (808) 886-8822.

Police Officer and Woman Shot – Man Barricades Himself in North Kohala

At 7:48 p.m. Monday (July 13), patrol officers responded to a report of a domestic disturbance at a home on the 53-4200 block of Akoni Pule Highway in Halaula, North Kohala.

53-4200 Block Akoni Pule Highway

53-4200 Block Akoni Pule Highway

Responding officers contacted several neighbors in the area who reported loud yelling and screaming coming from the residence. Several people were then seen running from the house as officers approached from the driveway. A gunshot was fired at the officers, striking one officer in his right forearm.

A woman from the house approached the officers and said she had been shot in her outer thigh by her boyfriend.

Both the officer and the woman were taken to North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital for treatment of their injuries.

The 37-year-old man barricaded himself in the house and remains there. He is believed to be the only occupant.

The Hawaiʻi Police Department’s Special Response Team responded and neighboring residents were evacuated as a precaution.

The wounded 43-year-old officer is a 14-year veteran with the Hawaiʻi Police Department. He is listed in stable condition. The 32-year-old woman is also listed in stable condition.

Detectives with the Area II Criminal Investigations Division are continuing the investigation.

Because of this ongoing incident, Route 270 in North Kohala is closed in both directions near the 25-mile marker.

“Summer Is Upon Us” – Free Fashion Show at Queens’ MarketPlace

Queens’ MarketPlace brings summer styles and fashion fun together for the whole family, with a free event, the “Summer Is Upon Us” Fashion show on Sat., May 23, 12:30-2:30 p.m. at the Coronation Pavilion. Presenting the “hottest” and trendy fashions for teens, men, women and children, the show is designed to help the whole family get ready for the beach, surf and sun.

The shopping center’s featured retailers that will be showcased include Volcom, Local Motion, Mahina, Quiksilver/Roxy and Kona Surf N’ Sandals. Wearing these top designs will be models representing Larson Talents Hawaii, with makeup and hairstyles by Salon 808.

Sandy and Kapena

Sandy and Kapena

Adding to the fun, MC for the day will be The Wave’s own Sandy and Kapena, with award-winning DJ Tiger playing the hits.

“The school year is almost over and families like to spend a little more time together,” said Sales & Operations Manager Margo Mau Bunnell. “Maybe you’re planning a vacation, working more beach time into your schedule, or talking about summer parties and graduations. However your summer is shaping up, we’ve got a terrific selection of styles at Queens’ MarketPlace, to help you and your family look their best.”

The “Summer Is Upon Us” fashion show is free and open to all. For more information, visit www.QueensMarketPlace.net or call 886-8822.

Since it opened in 2007, Queens’ MarketPlace in Waikoloa Beach Resort has earned a reputation among visitors and kama‘āina as “the gathering place of the Kohala Coast,” full of shopping opportunities, services and great food, along with entertainment and movies under the stars and large-scale concerts in Waikoloa Bowl at Queens’ Gardens.

Big Island Chocolate Festival Announces Winners

Culinary entries from across the state were tapped winners at last night’s Big Island Chocolate Festival. Chefs, chocolatiers and students were critiqued on taste, texture, appearance and creativity by a team of celebrity judges during the three-day festival.

Professional winners of the BICF gala were from left: Hilton Waikoloa Village Chef Dayne Tanabe, Gini Choobua of Likao Kula Farm, Nat Bletter of Madre Chocolate, Fairmont Orchid Pastry Chef Daniel Sampson and Executive Fairmont Orchid Chef Hubert Des Marais.

Professional winners of the BICF gala were from left: Hilton Waikoloa Village Chef Dayne Tanabe, Gini Choobua of Likao Kula Farm, Nat Bletter of Madre Chocolate, Fairmont Orchid Pastry Chef Daniel Sampson and Executive Fairmont Orchid Chef Hubert Des Marais.

Event host The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i was cited in three categories for best plated dessert, bean to bar and the People’s Choice award. The Hilton Waikoloa Village earned best savory while Madre Chocolate took top bonbons.

Likao Kula Farm of Holualoa bested 11 entries to win the inaugural cacao processing category.

“The processing of the cacao bean—its fermenting and drying—is an important step in the flavor and quality of chocolate and we’re happy our local growers competed in this new competition category,” said Farsheed Bonkadar, president of the Kona Cacao Association.

UH-Maui College won the morning community college culinary competition led by Chef Instructor Teresa Shurilla (with plaque). Students from left are Devin Galloway, Noelle Bender, Yi Song, Taylor McGraw and Clarissa Logsdon.

UH-Maui College won the morning community college culinary competition led by Chef Instructor Teresa Shurilla (with plaque). Students from left are Devin Galloway, Noelle Bender, Yi Song, Taylor McGraw and Clarissa Logsdon.

Culinary students from University of Hawai‘i-Maui College won the morning student competition besting second place Hawai‘i Community College-Hilo and third place Hawai‘i Community College-West Hawai‘i. Students prepared elaborate plated desserts using chocolate.

Commenting on the competitions, Bonkadar added, “The caliber of entries continues to improve and it’s rewarding to see how both student and professional culinarians use chocolate in both sweet and savory recipes.”

Heading the team of judges for the two competitions were celebrity chefs Stanton Ho, Guittard’s Donald Wressell, Valrhona Chocolate’s Derek Poirier and Sam Choy of Keauhou’s Kai Lanai restaurant. Other team judges included Elizabeth McDonald of Maui’s B3 A Beach Bunny Bakery; Ricky DeBoer of The Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui; Steven Arakaki of Kukio Golf & Beach Club; Chris Speere of UH-Maui College and Daniel Sampson of The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i. Teresa Shurilla of UH-Maui College oversaw the judging.

The real winners of the fourth annual festival are two beneficiaries: the Equip the Kitchens campaign for the future Hawai’i Community College-Palamanui and Kona Pacific Public Charter School.

Presented by the Kona Cacao Association, the Big Island Chocolate Festival not only heralds Hawai’i’s growing cacao industry, but also the culinarians who masterfully create foods featuring chocolate.

In addition to last night’s gala, the three-day festival offered a full lineup of chocolate decadence from planting to plating: a Kona cacao farm tour, plus growing and processing seminars and how-to culinary demonstrations.

Visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com for updates on next year’s event.

The mission and goal of KCA is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawai‘i by presenting BICF as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. For information, visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com.

 

Stars From “The Vampire Diaries” Meet “Blue Bloods” & Rough Riders at the Big Island Film Festival

Only in Hawai‘i can a bloodthirsty vampire come together with a blue-blooded policeman in peace, for movies under the stars and music by Henry Kapono, John Cruz and Brother Noland.

Ariel Kebbel

Arielle Kebbel

Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i (BIFF) invites the  community to meet actress Arielle Kebbel (“Lexi” from “The Vampire Diaries”) and actor Will Estes (“Officer Jamie Reagan” from “Blue Bloods”) during the tenth annual festival May 21-25, 2015.

Will Estes

Will Estes

The BIFF wraps with Best of the Fest, starring the new Rough Riders trio in concert on Monday, May 25.

Kebbel, 30, grew up in Florida and started her acting career with “CSI” in 2003. Numerous TV credits include “Gillmore Girls,” “Life Unexpected,”  and “90210,” before taking the role of “Lexi” in “The Vampire Diaries.” Kebbel is presently working with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson on a new HBO series, “Ballers,” about professional football.

Estes, 36, costars as Officer Jamie Reagan, son of Police Commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) on “Blue Bloods.” His career began at age 6 on “Santa Barbara,” and in 1989 he was chosen to star in “The New Lassie,” using his real name, Will Nipper.  His prolific career has included “Kirk,” “Full House,” and other TV roles, and films such as his most recent, “The Dark Knight Rises.”

The public is invited to exclusive soirées in honor of Kebbel and Estes on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, 5-7 p.m. at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i. Events begin in the Lehua Theatre with a video retrospective of the actor’s career, in-depth interview and Q&A, then stroll into Wailana Gardens for elegant pupu reception, with beverages including Kona Brewing Company beers and Pau Maui Vodka, and an opportunity for informal networking in a luxury resort setting. Advance tickets are required ($35).

Kebbel and Estes will also attend the exciting Golden Honu Awards Brunch on Monday, May 25, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. in the Kilohana Room. The elegant brunch buffet, with beverages including Pau Maui Vodka, is open to the public with advance reservations required ($50).  Winning films and Audience Choice Feature and Short will be announced during brunch.

Audience Choice films will be presented Monday evening at Best of the Fest—kicking off with the Hawai‘i Island concert debut of new and exciting trio The Rough Riders, Henry Kapono, John Cruz and Brother Noland.  The powerhouse trio named themselves for legendary paniolos who took the Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo by storm over 100 years ago.

More highlights of BIFF include free family films at The Shops at Mauna Lani, daytime movies in the cool Lehua Theatre and nightly double features at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i Plantation Estate, screenwriting workshops and numerous opportunities to meet and interact with filmmakers and film-lovers from near and far.

Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i is a celebration of independent narrative films and filmmaking, taking place May 21-25.  Major sponsors include The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, The Shops at Mauna Lani and Hawai‘i County CPEP/Hawaii Tourism Authority.  For complete schedule information and tickets, visit www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com or call (808) 883-0394.

Big Island Chocolate Festival NEXT WEEKEND!

Show the gal in your life how much you care Mother’s Day weekend with tickets to the decadent Big Island Chocolate Festival gala 5:30-9 p.m. Saturday, May 9 at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i.

Big Island Chocolate Festival 057
Indulge in both savory and sweet chocolate creations by top chefs complemented by the harp and violin duo String Beings, fine wines and handcrafted ales, Bacardi cocktails, chocolate sculpting, chocolate body painting and dancing.

Among the culinary offerings, festival host The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i is serving savory cocoa nib-crusted beef long rib with white corn and pickled roots, plus Waialua Estate chocolate pate with caramelized pineapple for dessert.

In addition, Hawai‘i Community College students offer an all-you-can-eat cuisine bar with a Chicken Mole Rice Bowl, make-your-own spinach/strawberry salad and tasty tofu and fish poke. Big Island Candies joins this year’s festival sharing buttery shortbread cookies topped with luscious Amoretti cookie spreads.

Big Island Chocolate Festival 020

Fun includes voting for your favorite culinary station while chefs, chocolatiers and cacao growers also vie in a variety of contests judged by a stable of celebrity chefs: Internationally acclaimed Derek Poirier of Valrhona, Donald Wressell of Guittard. Top 10 Pastry Chef in America Stanton Ho and Kona’s own Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine founder Sam Choy.

Awards will also be presented to statewide college culinary students competing in a chocolate food competition earlier that day.

The festive gala caps three days of choc-licious fun and hands-on learning opportunities presented by the Kona Cacao Association. All activities are open to the public and benefit the “Equip the Kitchens” campaign for the future Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and a capital campaign to build a community kitchen at the Waldorf-inspired Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.

Big Island Chocolate Festival 012

Gala admission is $75 with VIP tickets for $100. Find gala and festival seminars details, plus tix info at www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com. Get updates on facebook and #BIChocoFest. Questions? Phone 808-324-6100.

Special room rates of $299 including breakfast for two are offered by The Fairmont Orchid. For accommodations, book with the hotel at 808-885-2000 and mention “Big Island Chocolate Festival.”

The Big Island Chocolate Festival is presented by the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. The mission and goal of KCA is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawai‘i by presenting BICF as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. For information, visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com.

New TripAdvisor Accolades for Waikoloa Beach Resort

TripAdvisor.com, the world’s largest travel site, has ranked Waikoloa Beach Resort as 7th on its list of “Top U.S. Destinations for Vacation Rental Stays.” Based on TripAdvisor reviews, the luxury Kohala Coast resort bested Las Vegas, Nevada and two other Hawaii destinations.  Hilton 1

Along with the Top 10 list, TripAdvisor also published results of its recent survey of 1,800 travelers. According to that study, 59 percent of participants plan to stay at a vacation rental this year. Vacationers value cost-savings, space and quality amenities, and place a high priority on having a kitchen.

Hilton 2“Vacation rentals are becoming increasingly popular as more travelers discover the outstanding amenities, comfort, and value a rental can offer,” said Brooke Ferencsik, director of communications for TripAdvisor. “With summer the most popular time for vacation rental stays, savvy travelers should book early for the best options.”  Hilton Waikoloa Village Skyview

With a wide range of vacation rental units within its 1,350 acre boundaries, as well as 30+ dining options, two shopping centers, two golf courses, two resort hotels and a full schedule of entertainment and activities, Waikoloa Beach Resort has earned recognition as one of Hawaii’s top destinations. Last December, the property was ranked 8th on TripAdvisor’s list of “Destinations on the Rise” in the United States.

If you look closely you can see a hot tub in the cave pool

If you look closely you can see a hot tub in the cave pool

“To be named on two significant TripAdvisor lists in such a short time is very exciting for us,” said Scott Head, Vice President of Resort Operations. “We have worked hard to create a Waikoloa Beach Resort experience that works well for visitors, island residents, resort homeowners and vacation rental guests as well.  This kind of recognition shows that offering a variety of excellent choices in dining, shopping, golf, activities and accommodations are a formula that works, that people enjoy and are happy to visit again.”

Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid Announces Official 2015 Film Selections

Now in its tenth year, the Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i (BIFF) has announced its 50 Official Selections, to be screened May 21-25, 2015. BIFF, the “talk story” film festival is a celebration of films and filmmaking in a luxury resort setting.

Photo by Kirk Aeder

Photo by Kirk Aeder

A busy five-day schedule includes free family films at The Shops at Mauna Lani, plus a new food event, “Taste of the Movies,” on Friday, May 22, to honor BIFF’s tenth anniversary with ten top chefs presenting movie-themed cuisine. At The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, film buffs enjoy daytime movies and nightly double features with no-host bar and pupus, plus celebrity social events, workshops and more. Closing night Best of the Fest features The Rough Riders in concert: Henry Kapono, John Cruz and Brother Noland—all three BIFF alumni.

Jackson Rathbone at the 2014 BIFF.

Jackson Rathbone at the 2014 BIFF.

The lineup of new, independent narrative films includes 13 made in the state, six from Hawai‘i Island itself. Returning to BIFF with a new sci fi thriller, Cousins Brothers Productions of Honoka‘a will present “Hangar 52 ‘We Are Not Alone.’”
Hangar52

Kona filmmakers represent, with the new feature “Project Z” by Richard Gonzalez and the short family film “Lost Dog” by Rockwood; both longtime BIFF alumni and supporters.

“2015 is shaping up to be a great year for short films, as well as our usual fine crop of feature films. The quality is outstanding,” said BIFF Executive Director Leo Sears. “A short film only has 30 minutes or less to tell its story. It is an art of filmmaking that requires special skills. It’s not easy to do.”

Big Island Film Festival Class of 2014

Big Island Film Festival Class of 2014

Other Hawaii-made shorts include “Līhau’s Journey,” starring Leiomalama Solomon and directed by Ari Bernstein of Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy, set in the spectacular Waimea countryside, Willy Navarro’s new work “Projection” and, from Oahu, Erin Lau presents “Day Pass,” filmed on Hawai‘i Island. From Maui, Brian Kohne and the Believers of Nonsense present the world premier of their animated short, “Nothing Goin’ On But the Rent.” And, based on a story by Waikoloa author Catherine Tarleton, “The Fishing Club” by Shooters Productions is a short film starring Robert Kekaula and Keali‘i Reichel.

Keali'i Reichel and Robert Kekaula star in "The Fishing Club" based on a book by big island author Catherine Tarleton

Keali’i Reichel and Robert Kekaula star in “The Fishing Club” based on a story by Big Island Author Catherine Tarleton

Hawai‘i is well-represented in the family feature film category as well. One in particular, “Under the Blood Red Sun,” based on Graham Salisbury’s award-winning novel. Set on Oahu during WWII, two young boys grow up quickly after the raid on Pearl Harbor, and help each other deal with its impact on their families, Japanese and American. Directed by Tim Savage and starring Kyler Sakamoto, the film has already garnered numerous awards and accolades.

Under the Blood Red Sun

The Official Selections for BIFF 2015 are:

  • 34th Street Christmas
  • A Standing Still
  • Arthur
  • Bereave
  • BIRTHDAY
  • Butterflies
  • Captive
  • Day Pass
  • Demon Within…
  • Dig Two Graves
  • Dishonestly Yours
  • Flowers
  • Hamlet’s Ghost
  • Hands Off My Child
  • Hangar 52 “We Are Not Alone”
  • HoneyGlue
  • Hotwire
  • If The Trees Could Talk
  • I KNOW YOU
  • Jilel – The Calling of the Shell
  • Līhauʻs Journey
  • Listening
  • Lost Dog
  • Mother Earth
  • N. King
  • Nobody
  • Nothing Going On But The Rent
  • Our Father
  • Out of the Basement
  • Patterson’s Wager
  • Prick
  • Project Z
  • Projection
  • Seahorses
  • Sin Frontera (Without Boundary)
  • Substance
  • SURE THING
  • Take a Stand
  • The Cat’s Cradle
  • The Devil Goes Down
  • The Fishing Club
  • The Hit
  • The Lei Makers
  • The Less Fortunate
  • The Morning After
  • The Rabbit
  • The Story of M
  • The Sun Devil and the Princess
  • Under the Blood-Red Sun
  • Wildlike

A limited number of ballots will be given to audience members during each screening. Votes are tallied at the end of the festival, to determine the Audience-choice Feature and Short to be screened at Best of the Fest on Monday, May 25. An exciting closing night event, Best of the Fest will kick off with a concert by the Rough Riders: Henry Kapono, John Cruz and Brother Noland. The evening includes a silent auction for Fisher House at Tripler Army Medical Center, and a portion of each ticket sold goes to Hawai‘i Island Food Basket.

BIFF Leo on StageThe Big Island “Talk Story” Film Festival is a celebration of independent narrative films and filmmaking, taking place May 21-25. Major sponsors include The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i and The Shops at Mauna Lani and Hawai‘i Tourism Authority/Hawai‘i County CPEP. For complete schedule information and tickets, visit www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com.

 

Michigan Man Dies After Police Car Hits Bicycle – Cop Arrested

A Michigan man died early Sunday (March 1) from a vehicle-bicycle crash in South Kohala.

HPDBadgeHe has been identified as 63-year-old Jeffrey C. Surnow of West Bloomfield, Michigan.

Police have determined that Surnow was riding a bicycle east on Waikoloa Road near the 11-mile marker when he was hit by a vehicle driven in the same direction by an on-duty police officer assigned to the South Kohala District. The officer who struck Surnow reported the crash around 6:25 a.m. Sunday.

Surnow was taken to North Kohala Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 10:25 a.m.

Traffic Enforcement Unit officers initiated a negligent homicide investigation and arrested the officer, 30-year-old Jody Buddemeyer, on suspicion of negligent homicide. He was later released pending further investigation.

The Office of Professional Standards will conduct an administrative investigation as is standard practice in any officer-involved fatality. The officer was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

Police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or Officer Christopher Kapua-Allison at 326-4646, extension 229.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential

Free Festivals at The Shops at Mauna Lani

The Shops at Mauna Lani invites the community to two exciting events in February: Polynesian Cultural Festival on Monday, Feb. 16, 5:30- 8 p.m. and Fortune Festival on Friday, Feb. 27, 5-8 p.m. Both evenings feature a variety of cultural activities, entertainment, food booths and family-friendly fun.

First up, the new Polynesian Cultural Festival is a monthly interactive event that offers a chance to experience the music and dances of Tahiti, Samoa, Aotearoa and Hawai‘i “up close and personal.”  Participants will be able to wear the fiercesome face-paint of Maori warriors while they pound Tahitian drums, and even take the Samoan fire knife for a spin. More peaceful pursuits like coconut leaf weaving, Konane (checkers) and hula lessons are available, plus poi ball twirling for the keiki.
Mauna Lani Fire Knife

The event is capped off with The Shops’ popular Polynesian Hula and Fire Knife Dance show by performing group Te ‘E‘a O Te Turama. With vivid costumes and vibrant rhythms from across the islands, male and female dancers bring island stories to life and ignite excitement with a fiery finale. The Polynesian Cultural Festival takes place at The Shops on the third Monday of each month, 5:30-8 p.m.

Later in February, the Fortune Festival honors the Year of the Goat with colorful Chinese celebrations, food, music and more.

Mauna Lani Lion Dance

A powerful hundred-foot Dragon will parade through the shopping center while firecrackers frighten off any evil spirits, and the traditional Lion Dance, with drums and cymbals, lets onlookers “feed” the Lion for good fortune in the year ahead. A Chinese fortune teller, martial arts demonstration, fire-blowing and costume contests for children and adults, plus Asian-inspired cuisine, crackling shrimp chips, and a beer and wine garden add to the festivities.

“We’re so happy that people are discovering The Shops as a fun and interesting place to be,” said General Manager Michael Oh. “In addition to our great stores and restaurants, these two festivals in February add a lot of excitement to the center, and we hope the whole community will come and enjoy. Bring the kids, kick off date night, meet friends for a pau hana—there’s a lot to like about The Shops at Mauna Lani.”

Taste of the Hawaiian Range Turns 20

Marking 20 years of celebrating Hawai‘i’s local products and the people who produce them, Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range is Friday, Oct. 9 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

The Taste of the Hawaiian Range is one of my sons favorite events!

The Taste of the Hawaiian Range is one of my sons favorite events!

Attendees will enjoy delectable dishes using pasture-raised beef, pork, lamb, goat, mutton and wild boar—plus a cornucopia of fresh island fruit, veggies, honey, spices and beverages.

While confirmations are still coming in for the nearly 40 invited restaurants and their chefs, the culinary lineup already reads like a who’s who of good eats. Headliners for the Taste evening gala to date include Bravo’s “Top Chef” Fan Favorite Sheldon Simeona of Maui’s Migrant Restaurant; Kevin Hanney of Oahu’s 12th Avenue Grill, the 2015 Hale Aina Best Restaurant of the Year; and the host of TV’s “Family Ingredients,” Ed Kenny of Honolulu’s Town Restaurant.

Students at a workshop

Students at a workshop

Hawaii Regional Cuisine founders Roy Yamaguchi and Peter Merriman will lead the pre-gala’s educational offerings, which are open to the public. Chef Yamaguchi of Roy’s instructs the 2015 edition of Cooking Pasture-Raised Beef 101 at 3 p.m. while Peter Merriman of Merriman’s Restaurants offers an informative presentation geared for college culinary students at 1:30 p.m.

The time for this year’s Taste gala is 6-8 p.m. and the annual agricultural showcase will again sprawl both inside and out of the Hilton Waikoloa Village. Culinary adventure seekers can taste and enjoy all the cuts of pasture-raised beef—everything from tongue to tail—prepared expertly by Hawai‘i chefs.  Enjoy familiar cuts like sirloin tip and ribs, plus beef cheek and the infamous “rocky mountain oysters” or bull testicles.

The line to get in

The line to get in

While “tasting,” attendees can meet Hawai‘i’s food producers at booths and talk story with the ranchers and farmers who make a living growing our food. They can also enjoy exhibits presenting topics related to local agriculture and food sustainability, including the University of Hawai’i’s Mealani Research Station—where Taste began!

Anniversary festivities will include honoring the event’s 20-year participants and others who have been major Taste supporters.

Doesn't this look good?

Doesn’t this look good?

“We had 16 participating restaurants at the first Taste,” shares Dr. Russell Nagata, event chairperson and administrator of Hawai‘i County Extension Services for the University of Hawai‘i College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR). “We invited all of them, who are still in operation, to participate in our anniversary event.”

Pre-sale tickets for Taste are $45 and $60 at the door. Entry to Cooking 101 is $10 while the 1:30 p.m. class is free. Tickets go on sale in July at island-wide locations and online. Watch for ticket giveaways on Facebook at Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Twitter #TasteHI.

For general event information, phone (808) 969-8228.

Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication or a modification of policies and procedures to participate in this event should contact Russell Nagata at 808-969-8228 no later than September 7.

 

Lunch With Mayor Kenoi and Select Cabinet Members

Mayor Billy Kenoi and select cabinet members discuss opportunities and challenges for West Hawaii’s economy at the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce 2015 Focus Luncheon 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24 at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.

The Manta Ray Super Pool & Slide is a centerpiece at Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa.

The Manta Ray Super Pool & Slide is a centerpiece at Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa.

Sponsored by the Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union, the annual luncheon offers a unique opportunity for the local community to meet with county department representatives in a casual setting.

Attendees have the chance to have lunch with members of a specific department as well as pose questions to the mayor and cabinet heads. Issues discussed may include update of the Keauhou Aquifer; the county’s solid waste management plan; and the quest to reopen the Kona International Airport international arrivals facility.

Cost for the luncheon is $46 for Chamber and Rotary members, $56 for non-members. No walk-ins allowed. For more information and/or to register, visit kona-kohala.com or call the Chamber office at 808-329-1758.

Big Island’s Best Artists Get Ready for 10th Annual Building and Design Expo

Renowned local artists Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker along with Alex Gupton and Penny Gupton – winners of “The Best of The West” award for 2014 will be some of the high profile celebrity exhibitors showing off their best work at the 10th Annual Building and Design Expo put on by The Kohala Kona Chamber of Commerce.

Alex Gupton and Brad "Tiki Shark" Parker show some of their art.

Alex Gupton and Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker show some of their art.

This free open to the public event is being help at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa. Starting this Friday evening from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m, Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Tiki Shark Art Inc along with its partner Kona Oceanfront Gallery are cosponsors of this year’s Expo.

“This is the first time we are participating at this event” commented Abbas Hassan Senior VP at Tiki Shark Art Inc “I am sure the artists will add a certain flair that the attendees will certainly enjoy” he added.

“I am putting my best artists to work as a team this weekend” said Mark Hanna – Owner of Kona Oceanfront Gallery. “Its not very often this kind of talent comes together to put on a show for the public….it’s going to be an event not to be missed!”

Be sure to stop by Booth Number 26 and 31, say Aloha to the Artists and let your imagination run wild! Plus pick up some limited edition art made available especially for this event for your home, office or the special someone for Valentine’s Day!

For more information and details of the event, please contact: Jill Weiss – Kona Oceanfront Gallery, 808 334 0037.

10th Annual Building and Design Expo

The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce will hold its 10th annual Building & Design Expo February 6 – 8 at the Keauhou Convention Center at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa.Building and Design ExpoFriday evening the expo is open to the public from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. and includes a musical performance by Randy Ressler. Saturday expo hours are from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Visit over 40 exhibits featuring home design, construction and remodel ideas including home decorating; fine art; windows and doors; flooring and window treatments; kitchen and baths, home energy products and more. The booths will present products, services and information relating to the building and improvement of homes, apartments and condos. Enter to win giveaways and drawings at vendor booths.

Attendees can also enter to win a grand prize: a 2-night stay at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa.

For additional information regarding the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce Building & Design Expo, go to www.kona-kohala.com or call the Chamber office at 329-1758.

Lion Dance, Taiko Drums Launch the New Year at Asian Fest

Queens’ MarketPlace invites the community to kick off the Year of the Sheep with a driving beat, delicious food and dramatic color, Friday, Feb. 6 at Asian Fest, 5-8 p.m. The complimentary event features high-energy Lion Dancers, Filipino dancers, food tasting and powerful Taiko drums.

 PHOTO: Courtesy Queens' MarketPlace


PHOTO: Courtesy Queens’ MarketPlace

“We’re so lucky to have these great performers at our Asian Fest,” said Sales & Operations Manager Margo Mau Bunnell. “It’s an exciting opportunity for everyone to hear three different drumming styles from Japan and Okinawa—with thundering drums that will literally launch the New Year with a big bang.”

Hundreds of mini-firecrackers ignite about 7:20 p.m. at Island Gourmet Markets to wake up the spirits and send off good luck wishes as the lively, fabulously-costumed Lion Dancers hop, skip and jump from one end of the shopping center to the other. To the beat of rattling Chinese drums and clanging cymbals, the Lion will hungrily “eat” red envelopes, (lycee) which onlookers fill with donations for good luck in the year ahead. (Lycee provided by Queens’ MarketPlace).

Throughout the shopping center, tasting booths will feature various samplings of Asian food culture, such as Mango Sticky Rice from Charley’s Thai Cuisine, Teriyaki Pork from Island Gourmet Markets, Orange Chicken from Lemongrass Express, plus ice cream, green tea frappuccino and much more.

Asian Fest is a complimentary event provided by Queens’ MarketPlace and its businesses as a celebratory start to the new year. For more information, please call 886-8822 or visit www.queensmarketplace.net

Asian Fest Entertainment Schedule:

  • 5 p.m., Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko (Okinawan Style percussion and dance group)
  • 5:55, Hawaii Lion Dance Association: Meet & Greet
  • 6:30 p.m., Kona Daifukuji Taiko
  • 7 p.m., Visayan Club (Filipino Dancers)
  • 7:30 p.m., Hui Okinawan Kobudo Taiko
  • 7:20 p.m., Hawaii Lion Dance Association: Lion Dance (Start point at Island Gourmet Markets)

Since it opened in 2007, Queens’ MarketPlace in Waikoloa Beach Resort has earned a reputation among visitors and kama‘āina as “the gathering place of the Kohala Coast,” full of shopping opportunities, services and great food, along with entertainment and arts programs, movies under the stars and large-scale concerts in Waikoloa Bowl at Queens’ Gardens. For more information, visit www.QueensMarketPlace.net or call 886-8822.

Last Chance to Enter Films and Screenplays for 2015 Big Island Film Festival

Now in its tenth year, the Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i (BIFF) invites filmmakers and screenwriters to enter their project before the final deadline, Feb. 1, 2015. Complete rules and submission guidelines are available at www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com, for entering by mail or online via www.FilmFreeway.com.

Known as the “talk story” film festival, BIFF takes place May 21-25, 2015 at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, and presents a full slate of new, narrative feature-length and short films in a luxurious oceanfront resort setting. Specializing in narrative films, as opposed to documentaries, BIFF provides a perfect complement to Hawai‘i Island’s film festival circuit and much-needed opportunity for filmmakers locally and internationally.

For the first time, BIFF’s script contest will open the door for one winning screenplay to be considered for representation by the Paradigm Agency, one of the industry’s best, with divisions in Beverly Hills, Monterey, Nashville and New York. The contest is open to all completed narrative film scripts that meet submission guidelines.

Photo by Kirk Aeder

Photo by Kirk Aeder

Attended by returning visitors and independent filmmakers from around the world, as well as local residents who love movies, BIFF also hosts notable workshop leaders, such as NBC story consultant Jen Grisanti and screenwriter Ron Osborn of “West Wing” fame, among others.  Last year’s celebrity  honorees were Portia Doubleday of “Carrie,” and “Twighlight” series star Jackson Rathbone who enjoyed interacting with island audiences during in-depth interviews and informal garden receptions.

One of BIFF’s many success stories last year is Best Hawai’i Feature and Audience Choice Feature, “The Haumana,” by Keo Woolford, now available on DVD after an unprecedented multi-national fesitval tour.  The intriguing sci-fi hit “Time Lapse” has continued to garner  prestigious festival awards internationally, and the haunting drama of homelessness, “3:13” (now in distribution) received accolades from the film industry as well as mental health and homeless advocate organizations.  “Druid Peak,” a drama about a young man’s relationship with wolves, is just being released in theaters after winning numerous festival laurels.

Big Island Film Festival Class of 2014.  (Photo Kirk Aeder)

Big Island Film Festival Class of 2014. (Photo Kirk Aeder)

BIFF 2013 winner “Chasing Shakespeare,” directed by Norry Niven, and starring Graham Greene and Danny Glover, is now in distribution as “From Above.” Hawai‘i-made BIFF alumni films include wildly-popular comedy “Get A Job” by Maui filmmaker Brian Kohne, GB Hajim’s animated sci fi love story “Strange Frame” by HawaiiCon’s G.B. Hajim, and the poignant “Land of Eb” about South Kona’s Micronesian coffee worker community.

A celebration of narrative filmmaking, the complete BIFF experience includes not only film screenings for grown ups at The Fairmont Orchid Hawai‘i’s beautiful outdoor Plantation Estate, but free family films under the stars at The Shops at Mauna Lani, numerous networking and celebrity social events, feasts for foodies, screenwriting workshops and a closing night “Best of the Fest” with a top-rated Hawaiian music concert and movies chosen by the audience from Festival entries.  “Golden Honu” Awards will be presented to the Best Feature and Best Short in Family, Student, Animated, Foreign, Hawai‘i and Audience Choice categories at a special Awards Brunch to honor the filmmakers and their works on Monday, May 25.

BIFF would like to thank sponsors  The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, The Shops at Mauna Lani, County of Hawai‘i, Dept. of R&D: CPEP Grant/Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, Kona Brewing Company, and others.

For detailed information visit www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com, find them on Facebook, or 808-883-0394.

Dr. Kenneth Graham Named President of NHCH

The Queen’s Health Systems (Queen’s), corporate parent of The Queen’s Medical Center (QMC), named Kenneth D. Graham, MPH, RHIA, FACHE, as permanent President of North Hawaii Community Hospital (NHCH).

Dr. Kenneth Graham

Dr. Kenneth Graham

“Ken has demonstrated professional expertise and leadership while serving as Acting President of NHCH over the past year,” said Art Ushijima, President of The Queen’s Health Systems. “His significant healthcare management experience and commitment to advancing both Queen’s and NHCH missions are great assets to serving in this role.”

“It is truly an honor to join such an extraordinary team of medical professionals and to serve Queen’s, NHCH and the North Hawaii community,” said Graham. “Our hospital has incredibly talented staff and physicians; strong levels of support from dedicated volunteers and donors; and a commitment to meet the healthcare needs of our community. I look forward to building upon the legacy of the Founders of The Queen’s Medical Center and NHCH, who shared a common vision and passion to provide the best health care for the people of Hawaii.”

For the past year, Graham has served as the hospital’s acting president as the facility officially entered into an affiliation with Queen’s on January 15, 2014. In the agreement, NHCH became a corporate entity under Queen’s, similar to The Queen’s Medical Center and Molokai General Hospital.

Previously, Graham served as System Integration Advisor in the office of Queen’s President and CEO Art Ushijima, supporting hospital planning, clinical integration, corporate alignment, and neighbor-island health. He is the former President and CEO of El Camino Hospital, a 542-bed, district-owned not-for-profit hospital in Silicon Valley, as well as former CEO at Overlake Hospital Medical Center (337 beds). He held various executive positions with the Daughters of Charity Health System West (2,400 beds), Grossmont District Hospital (426 beds), and Long Beach Community Hospital (350 beds).

He is professionally certified in medical record administration (RHIA) and healthcare administration (FACHE). He earned a Bachelor of Science in Public Health and a Masters in Public Health, both from UCLA.

3.2 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Waikoloa Area of the Big Island

A 3.2 magnitude earthquake struck the Waikoloa area of the Big Island this afternoon.

32 waikoloa