The not-to-be-missed 2015 Waimea Ocean Film Festival (Ocean Film) offers a breathtaking lineup of films, special guests, intimate coffee talks, Q&As, exhibits, receptions and morning activities, running non-stop January 1-9. The annual event opens January 1, with films playing simultaneously January 1-4 at multiple venues in Waimea (Kahilu Theatre, HPA Gates, Parker Theatre) and showings at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i January 1-4. On January 5, the festival moves to Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.
Ocean Film brings over 60 extraordinary films to the big screen this year, most of which are world, U.S., Hawai‘i or Big Island premieres, with many filmmakers in attendance to answer questions following the showing of each film. The format of this dynamic festival immerses participants in a greater understanding and awareness of the ocean and island culture through exceptional films, talks, exhibits and activities. Films fall into the basic categories of ocean experience (such as surfing and paddling); ocean environment—including things we do on land that impact the sea; and island culture. Inspirational films and films that shed light on who we are, or give pause for thought, form part of the mix. In honor of Hokule‘a’s current Worldwide Voyage (WWV), Malama Honua, the festival showcases a number of films and discussions around the voyage. Both Hokule‘a and Makali`i captains and crew are working together to navigate Hokule`a on the WWV, including Pwo and Hawai`i Island captains Chadd Paishon, Shorty Bertelmann and Chad Baybayan, who will participate throughout the festival.
Dr. Sam Low, Ph.D. and cousin to Nainoa Thompson, brings his award-winning film The Navigators: The Pathfinders of the Pacific along with his recent book, Hawaiki Rising. In honor of Hokule`a’s arrival in New Zealand, and the ceremony honoring her as sixth waka, the festival offers Te Hono ki Aotearoa, a film about Maori waka culture. Producer Phil Arnone returns with the KGMB production, Hokule`a: Passing the Torch, which describes the voyage bringing the Alingano Maisu to Mau Pialug, the teacher who brought the knowledge of celestial navigation back to Hawai`i, and the “Pwo” ceremony, which confirmed five Hawaiian captains as master navigators.
The Voyager Exhibit, which will be displayed at Kahilu Theatre for the festival, marks the 20th anniversary of Makali`i, the Big Island’s voyaging canoe, sharing her history. The exhibit also includes the 8×13-foot map of the world developed as part of the festival last year, showing the WWV route, along with past voyages of Makali`i and Hokule`a. The exhibit opens with a blessing and ceremony at Kahilu Theatre on January 4 p.m. Jan. 1. ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center also joins the festival, with a presentation on Wayfinding, using an interactive star compass guide and a full-dome star show.
Part of a heart pounding surf line-up, Behind the Lines features jaw dropping footage of British surfer Andrew Cotton at Nazarre; Thundercloud follows big wave surfers, and controversial surf history, at Cloudbreak, Fiji; Stephanie in the Water tells the story of female surf champion Stephanie Gilmore and Fading West features Switchfoot band members and surfers as they head on tour. Tierra de Patagones is a beautifully filmed story of two Argentinian brothers from Gauchos Del Mar, surfing the Patagonian frontier.
Bud Browne Film Archives Going Surfin’ and Cavalcade of Surf, with its pounding finale of epic big waves and big board North Shore wipe outs, reminds us of why Bud Browne has long been considered the godfather of the surf film genre. Anna Trent Moore, curator of the collection, brings a special exhibit of Browne’s photographs, not displayed since his passing, for a nostalgic exhibit of the 1960s surf scene at The Fairmont Orchid Jan. 1-4.
Delving into island culture, Hula: Merrie Monarch’s Golden Anniversary shares a behind the scenes look at the Merrie Monarch’s 50th Anniversary year, with filmmaker Roland Yamamoto. Lihau’s Journey is a coming-of-age hula drama and narrative film, featuring the 150-year hula legacy of Halau O Poʻohala, the Solomon-Beamer halau, plus the halau’s lead dancer, Leiomalama Tamasese Solomon. Halau members and Malama Solomon will be present, along with filmmaker and HPA faculty Ari Bernstein. Volcanoscapes: Dancing with the Goddess shares stunning cinematography and interviews, highlighting the magical beauty, geology and power of Kilauea. In her premiere of Wild Child, local filmmaker Alison Teal reveals the advice and knowledge she received from Hawaiians and other South Kona locals that enabled her to survive on an island for three weeks, after being invited to participate in Discovery Channel’s Naked and Afraid.
O‘ahu’s Stefanie Brendl brings Extinction Soup and joins local filmmaker Bryce Groark in a discussion about sharks, their importance and Hawai`i’s leadership role in shark protection. Groark also speaks after the showing of Mission Blue, a film about Dr. Sylvia Earle’s life and mission, in which he appears and provides cinematography. Still beautiful after 30 years, Dr. Earle’s 1978 film Humpback’s: The Gentle Giants, shares stunning footage and interesting information about the whales on our shores. Presentations about Ka`upulehu Dryland Forest and shoreline, as well as traditional ‘opihi fishing practices in Miloli`i, share more about Hawaiian cultural practices and traditional resource management.