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Major Players in Energy Debate for Live Televised Discussion

Should the state allow a major Florida company, NextEra Energy, to buy Hawaii’s largest public utility provider, Hawaiian Electric?

PBS Hawaii Presents

This week, PBS Hawaii’s live public affairs program, Insights on PBS Hawaii, brings together some of the leading figures on different sides of this hotly contested issue.

President of NextEra Energy Hawaii Eric Gleason; Representative Chris Lee, Chair of the House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection; Jeffrey Ono, Executive Director of Consumer Advocacy for the State of Hawaii; and HECO President and CEO Alan Oshima have agreed to take part in this live unscripted discussion about the potential merger of Hawaiian Electric Industries and its subsidiaries and NextEra Energy, and the future of Hawaii’s largest power utility, on Insights at 8:00 pm Thursday, October 22. Daryl Huff will moderate the discussion. Viewer questions are welcome.

While NextEra Energy says the proposed multi-billion-dollar merger would provide a more affordable clean energy future for Hawaii, opponents have concerns over how a merger might impact consumers and Hawaii’s renewable energy goals. The proposed deal also has prompted some to examine the merits of other options, such as utility cooperatives and county-run utilities.

The one-hour program also will be streamed live at pbshawaii.org. Viewers are encouraged to phone in questions at (808) 973-1000 or (800) 238-4847; send an email to insights@pbshawaii.org ; or tweet the hashtag #PBSInsights on Twitter.

New High-Speed Private Fiber Link to Link Hawaii Film, Television & Creative Media Industry with Hollywood

With brand new private fiber technology, competitive tax incentives, state-of-the-art studios, postproduction facilities and a development fund…it’s time to rethink Hawai’i’s Film, Television & Creative Media Industry.

A new Hawai’i-based digital technology is connecting the filmscape of paradise with a secure, high-speed Private Fiber back to the heart of Hollywood and more than 400 studios across three continents.

History was just made for Hawaii-in-Hollywood as GVS Connect (http://www.globalvirtualstudio.com), together with Hawai`i's Creative Industry DBEDT Officials, State Film Office and technology experts presented a dynamic, "LIVE" multimedia demonstration that connected Honua Studios in Kailua-Kona on the Island of Hawaii, with more than 100 Hollywood influencers who gathered at Jack L. Warner's personal Screening Room #5 at Warner Brothers Studios in California.

History was just made for Hawaii-in-Hollywood as GVS Connect (http://www.globalvirtualstudio.com), together with Hawai`i’s Creative Industry DBEDT Officials, State Film Office and technology experts presented a dynamic, “LIVE” multimedia demonstration that connected Honua Studios in Kailua-Kona on the Island of Hawaii, with more than 100 Hollywood influencers who gathered at Jack L. Warner’s personal Screening Room #5 at Warner Brothers Studios in California.

This new, high-speed, private fiber technology by GVS Connect is a game-changer for Hawai’i’s creative industry. This advanced connectivity, along with Hawaii’s post and VFX incentives, will enable filmmakers to conduct POST, AUDIO and VFX via remote collaboration, as well as transfer and simultaneously edit burstable gigabytes of raw, high-definition dailies to producers and studios around the world. This private fiber technology is the industry’s leader in content sharing with a commitment to security, cost efficiency and smart-device capability.

On Wednesday, October 14, 2015, representatives from the Hawai’i State Film Office, Creative Industries; GVS Connect; tech advisors and industry influencers gathered at Warner Bros. Studio to present “Hollywood – Hawai`i Film & Media Connect,” a live, point-to-point demonstration, of real-time, high-speed data transfer between Kailua-Kona (on the Island of Hawai`i at Honua Studios) and Los Angeles.  Hawai’i’s Film, Television & Creative Media industry is now well positioned to support state-of-the-art global production, as well as export creative content developed in Hawai`i.

 This never-before-seen interactive demonstration was made possible by a NEW private fiber technology that is now available in the islands which allows burstable gigabytes of HD data to be shared in real-time with global producing entities (more than 400 studios across three continents). This new, advanced technology is a GAME-CHANGER for Hawaii's creative industries allowing filmmakers to conduct POST, AUDIO and VFX via remote collaboration.  This breakthrough invites the world to rethink Hawaii's vast multimedia and broadband entrepreneurial potential and capability.

This never-before-seen interactive demonstration was made possible by a NEW private fiber technology that is now available in the islands which allows burstable gigabytes of HD data to be shared in real-time with global producing entities (more than 400 studios across three continents). This new, advanced technology is a GAME-CHANGER for Hawaii’s creative industries allowing filmmakers to conduct POST, AUDIO and VFX via remote collaboration. This breakthrough invites the world to rethink Hawaii’s vast multimedia and broadband entrepreneurial potential and capability.

“With a strong commitment from government and private investors, Hawai’i is creating a compelling environment for filmmakers and media professionals to capitalize on the state’s growing production, post, and VFX infrastructure,” says David Cunningham, founder of GVS Connect.

Hawai’i’s competitive tax incentives, are considered among the most reliable credit programs in the country:

  • 20-25% film, digital and television rebate
  • No overall spending ceiling
  • Per production credit cap of $15 million – POST, VFX, ANIMATION, GAME DEV included
  • Above-and-below-the-line/resident and non-resident salaries/wage qualification

Hawai`i is now part of a global, collaborative media network. With Hawai’i’s first private fiber technology, a production can maximize its economic potential with global reach to its producing entities. In addition, Hawai`i has an award-winning accelerator program, called the GVS Transmedia Accelerator (http://www.gvsaccelerator.com), which fast-tracks and funds development for content creation in Hawai`i, the Creative Lab which is a feeder content development program, and a follow-on development fund available for accelerator content produced in these programs.

With a long-term vision and commitment, the State of Hawai’i has allocated millions to develop a cable-landing infrastructure that will further increase Hawai’i’s global broadband connectivity and capacity.

GVS Accelerator Lands YouTube Star & Award Winning Mentors for 2015 – 2016 Cohorts

Hawai’i Island’s own YouTube star Alex Farnham represented one of the seven companies chosen to join the 2015 – ­2016 GVS Accelerator.

fYouTube sensation Alex Farnham

YouTube sensation Alex Farnham

A number of award­ winning entertainment industry mentors, Senator Glenn Wakai, Representative Nicole Lowen, Mayor Billy Kenoi, and Council Member Karen Eoff were on hand for the announcement at Honua Studios.

The GVS Transmedia Accelerator Program (GTA Program) is a partnership between Global Virtual Studio (GVS), the Hawai’i Strategic Development Corporation (HSDC), the County of Hawai’i and the GTA Development Fund, empowers creative entrepreneurs to launch original transmedia franchises for commercial audiences with an investment of $50,000 seed capital and industry mentors for each selected start­up franchise.

Accelerator Winners

Accelerators on island for Kickoff week include screenwriters Janet and Lee Batchler (POMPEII, BATMAN FOREVER), Jim Kruger (former Creative Director at Marvel, NY Times Bestselling Author, DC Comic Writer: X­Men, Batman) Frank Tate (MTV, MindQuilt, Super Franks) Mike Frank (Disney, Pepsi, Co­founder of Level 3 Communications). The selected companies represent a diverse cross­section of media and entertainment, each incorporating multiple product platforms ranging from feature films and TV series to graphic novels and mobile apps.

The seven companies selected for the 2015­2016 cohort are:

  • CAPTIVE – Founder Team: John Shepherd, Patrick Hibler; Genre: Drama/Action­Adventure; Platforms: Feature Film, Graphic Novel, Video Game -CAPTIVE is an action adventure film about a former SAS Officer who sets off on a series of suicidal adventures, traveling the Pacific on his only worldly possession – a 50+ foot sailboat.
  • THE MEDICINE RUNNER – Founder Team: Edwin Marshall, David Cunningham; Genre: Drama; Platforms: Feature Film, Book, App – THE MEDICINE RUNNER is a story about a homeless orphan boy of mixed race and a “Haole” (white) village doctor fighting for their place in the small coffee farming community of 1920’s Hawai’i.
  • MOCKSTARS – Founder Team: Alex Farnham, Richard Farnham; Genre: Comedy/ Mockumentary; Platforms: YouTube Channel, Mockumentary – MOCKSTARS is a web­driven series starring YouTube star, Alex Farnham. Each video parodies a current celebrity, movie, song, concert or happening through original music.
  • OCEANNA – Founder Team: Laurie & Wayne Nunez; Genre: Children’s Animated Series; Platforms: TV Series, Branded Products/Merchandise, Soundtrack, Book, App/Game, DVD – OCEANNA is an animated children’s TV series about a young girl whose daydreams transform her into the underwater superhero “Oceanna: Protector of the Sea”.
  • WINGS – Founder: Kaveh Kardan; Genre: Science Fiction; Platforms: Graphic Novel (Web based), Graphic Novel (Print), Feature Film – Giant robots inhabit the wilderness in WINGS, a steampunk tale about a young female pilot who sets off to solve the mystery of her parents’ disappearance.
  • NATIVE – Founder Team: Joel Angyal, Mike Leahy; Genre: Drama; Platforms: Feature Film, Clothing Line, Music Album – NATIVE is a feature film about a troubled teenage boy given an opportunity to develop his inner­warrior by connecting to his Hawaiian roots and training in mixed martial arts (MMA).
  • SURF BREAK HOTEL – Founder Team: Stefan Schaefer, Jonathan Stern; Genre: Sitcom; Platforms: Web/TV Series – SURF BREAK HOTEL is an original comedic series about a washed­up surf pro, Byron “ALL BIZ” Waggie, who’s forced to take a job as a surf instructor at a Maui beach hotel.

The addition of YouTube star Alex Farnham to the accelerator’s ranks brings one of the fastest­growing segments of media to the Program’s mix. Farnham got his start on YouTube with “one dolla” and quickly became a sensation with 68 million views and 229,000 subscribers. His project MOCKSTARS will parody current celebrities, movies and songs. Farnham said, “I think it’s great to have something like this here ­ great for the community and for the kids growing up here.”

Kaveh Kardan, founder of graphic novel project WINGS, is a graduate of sister incubator/accelerator program, Creative Lab. Stefan Schaefer (SURF BREAK HOTEL) was also a recent alternate in the program. Creative Lab was founded in 2012 by the Hawai’i State Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism’s Creative Industries Division (CID) to accelerate the growth of Hawaii’s creative entrepreneurs through immersive, hands­on training in motion pictures, television, screenwriting, broadband, new media, interactive/technology, music and design/fashion.

In addition to the $50,000 in seed funding for development, successful graduates of the accelerator program can now tap up to $250,000 in matching funds if they raise at least 25 percent of their follow­on budget in private equity and secure product distribution. Senator Glenn Wakai stated, “This is really the recipe for economic development the State has been looking for… for a small (State) investment, we partner with private investors and good things can happen.”


The GTA Program is a partnership between the County of Hawai’i, the Hawai’i Strategic Development Corporation (HSDC), the GTA Development Fund, and the GVS Accelerator. The GTA Program is a two­time Small Business Administration award­winner as one of the top accelerators in the U.S. and is part of Hawaii’s “Startup Paradise” community. For more information visit www.gvsaccelerator.com

Public Invited to Watch Presidential Debates at UH Hilo

The public is invited to watch the 2016 Presidential debates at the University of Hawaii-Hilo’s Wentworth Bldg. off Lanikaula St.
uhh-017The next Republican debate is scheduled for 2 p.m. this Wednesday, Sept. 16…come view it from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and stick around for the discussion.  There is no admission charge but parking fees may be in effect.
The first Democratic Party Presidential debate is planned for Tuesday, Oct. 13 yet but the time of that event has not been announced. Public viewing on the UHH campus is planned for the Democratic debate as well. Call 965-8945 for more information.

Kamehameha Schools Girl Wins Hawaii Stars Competition

Hawaii Island Kamehameha Schools Middle School (KMS) student Kyra Gomes was crowned the 2015 Hawaii Stars Teen Competition champion on tonight’s broadcast of Hawaii Stars.

Kyra on Hawaii StarsGomes, a talented 8th grader at KMS Kula Waena, started her career at a young age and has been in many performances over the years.  She received rave reviews as the lead role in the Broadway Musical “Annie” that was performed at Kamehamea Schools when she was still in elementary school and recently performed at the Hilo Palace Theater in “A Century of Hapa Haole Songs”.

Kyra, daughter of Jeffrey and Wendy Gomes of Hilo, Hawaii, performed “Proud of Your Boy” from the Disney Broadway show Aladdin.  She took initiative and went outside of the box and made a creative turn in the song and changed the lyrics to “Proud of Your Girl”.

In order to advance to the finals, there were two preliminary rounds at the 50th State Fair held at Aloha Stadium.   According to sources on the scene… “she actually made the women judges cry there as well…”

Sam Choy’s in the Kitchen with the Tiki Shark

Chef Sam Choy’s traction gaining web show “Sam Choy’s in the Kitchen” will feature Brad Tiki Shark Parker and his household for its first celebrity episode.

Brad Parker photo bombs Sam Choy!

Sam Choy drops by the Parker residence.

“We have done over 10 episodes and decided to give our viewers something special this time and also see what’s really in a local celebrities kitchen” quoted Chef Choy. “We had fun and will be visiting more celebrities kitchens in future episodes” he added.

According to Producer Richard Gonzalez “the show was totally off our regular format but extremely entertaining and will be received well by our viewers”

“Sam is welcome in my kitchen anytime” quoted Brad Tiki Shark Parker. Its always a good time getting together with a Chef who is as wacky and crazy as I am!”.

Sam Choy in the Kitchen

The Celebrity episode will debut on YouTube on August 18.

Man Goes Ballistic at WalMart and Smashes 12 TV’s

A 48-year-old man has been charged with a felony after a dozen televisions were smashed while customers shopped at a “big box” store in Kailua-Kona.

Alexander Springer

Alexander Springer

At 6:49 p.m. Monday (June 15), Kona Patrol officers responded to a report of a disturbance at a store on Henry Street. They arrived to find a suspect outside the store with another customer.

Witnesses reported that the suspect, Alexander Springer, had grabbed a bat from the store and used it to destroy 12 televisions. One of the store’s customers stopped him and took him outside while waiting for police to arrive. Damages were estimated at $4,081.

Police arrested Springer, who has no permanent address, and charged him with second-degree criminal property damage, a Class C felony. His bail was set at $2,000. He was held at the Kona police cellblock until his initial court appearance on Tuesday (June 16).

2015 Big Island Film Festival Announces Winners

The 2015 Big Island Film Festival held at the Fairmont Orchid is wrapping up tonight with a concert by the Rough Riders.

Arielle Kebbel received the 2015 Golden Honu Award for "Rising Actress" from Big Island Film Festival Director Leo Sears.

Arielle Kebbel received the 2015 Golden Honu Award for “Actress On The Rise” from Big Island Film Festival Director Leo Sears.

This years celebrity honorees were Arielle Kebbel and Will Estes.

Will Estes with his Golden Honu Award for Best Actor.

Will Estes with his Golden Honu Award for Actor of the Year.

This morning at a luncheon reception, winners of this years awards were announced:

Screenplay Awards
· Finalists – Debbie the Viking, War 2.0
· First Place – Garbagemen

Golden Honu Awards
· Shorts
Best Student Short – Sin Frontera
Best Hawaii Short – The Fishing Club Movie
Best Family Short – Butterfiles
Best Foreign Short – The Rabbit
Best Short – Our Father
Best Special Effects – The Sun Devil and The Princess

· Features
Best Foreign Feature – Patterson’s Wager
Best Family Feature – Under The Blood Red Sun
Best Feature – WildLike
Barbara Award – Jilel – The Calling of the Shell Microwave Films of the Marshall Islands

Audience Choice Feature – Honeyglue

Audience Choice Short – Butterflies

2015 Big Island Film Festival 110Congrats to everyone who submitted films and were selected to participate in this years festival.  All the films were excellent!

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.

Writers, Filmmakers Learn from the Pro’s at Big Island Film Festival Workshops

Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i (BIFF) will present three contemporary screenwriting and filmmaking workshops, taught by top entertainment industry professionals, May 22, 23 and 24, 2015. Important topics in the art and business of film include creative financing, successful storytelling and the multi-faceted demands on today’s filmmaker.

Advance registration is required by May 20, at www.BigIslandfilmFestival.com, or by calling 808-883-0394.

On Friday, 9:45-11 a.m., screenwriter/producer/attorney Steve Edmiston shares 20+ years of experience in finding money for low budgets in the evolving indie filmmaking “ecosystem.” Topics include fiscal sponsorship, grant-writing, crowd-sourcing, government and non-government subsidies, “angels” and more.

Steve Edmiston

Steve Edmiston

Edmiston, a university instructor in screenwriting and film producing, presented his award-winning short film “The Maury Island Incident” at last year’s BIFF, and was inspired to return as a teacher to help up-and-coming filmmakers with their projects. His workshop follows the general filmmaker orientation and is available to the public at $25 per person.

Saturday’s workshop is “Telling and Selling Your Story,” taught by Jen Grisanti, author of “Change Your Story, Change Your Life,” writing instructor for NBC’s “Writers on the Verge,” acclaimed story/career consultant and longtime assistant to Aaron Spelling.

Jen Grisanti will be presenting again.

Jen Grisanti will be presenting again.

Since she launched her own company in 2008, Jen Grisanti Consultancy has worked with over 500 writers specializing in television, features and novels with numerous successes.

Grisanti will focus on three areas that have helped propel her writers: “Writing a Script They Can’t Ignore,” “Developing a Strong Personal Narrative,” and “Strategy, Action Plan and Creating Your Brand.” Her workshop takes place 8:30-11 a.m., at $50 per person.

Sunday features “Indie Motion Pictures: Concept to Completion,” by award-winning Maui filmmaker Brian Kohne (“Get A Job,” Kuleana”), entertainment marketing specialist, and music producer/promoter (Willie K, Hapa).

Brian Kohne Interviewing Eloise Mumford

Brian Kohne Interviewing Eloise Mumford

“Media technologies, once populated by specialists, have converged; and now, seasoned industry veterans wear multiple hats, with marketing factoring into every major creative decision,” says Kohne, who has worked in Silicon Valley with interactive television, corporate video, sports broadcasting and more. “There has never been a better time to refine, empower and unleash our own unique creative voice!”

Kohne’s workshop takes place 8:30-11 a.m., $50. Advance registration is required for workshops by May 20, at www.BigIslandfilmFestival.com, or by calling 808-883-0394.

Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i is a celebration of narrative filmmaking, May 21-25, 2015. Events include free family films under the stars at The Shops at Mauna Lani, daytime movies and nightly double features at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i (free parking), networking opportunities, celebrity receptions, awards brunch and more.

Closing night “Best of the Fest” stars The Rough Riders in concert, with Hawaiian music legends Henry Kapono, John Cruz and Brother Noland. Best of the Fest is a fundraising event for Hawai‘i Island Food Basket, silent auction for the Tripler Army Medical Center’s Fisher House for military families, and a “hana hou” screening of the audience-voted Best Feature and Best Short films of BIFF 2015.

Major sponsors include The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, The Shops at Mauna Lani, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority/Hawai‘i County CPEP and many others. For more information, complete schedule of events and to purchase tickets, visit www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com or call 808-883-0394.

National PBS Documentary Features Local Efforts to Perpetuate Hawaiian Language

What does it take to save a language? Poet Bob Holman travels across the globe to uncover answers – including a stop in Hawaii to feature ongoing efforts to perpetuate our native language. Language Matters with Bob Holman makes its Hawaii broadcast premiere Thursday, March 19 at 8:00 p.m. on PBS Hawaii. language matters

Filmed around the world, the two-hour documentary features Hawaii in the third of three acts. Among those featured: Puakea Nogelmeier (pictured in attached photo with Holman), Pele Harman (pictured in attached photo with students from Ke Kula O Nāwahīokalani‘ōpu‘u), Kauanoe Kamana, Larry Kimura, Kepa Maly, W.S. Merwin, Lolena Nicholas, Keali‘i Reichel and Kau‘i Sai-Dudoit.

Holman makes two other global stops:

  • In Australia, Holman visits Charlie Mangulda, an Aboriginal songman (poet), who is the only person left on the planet who speaks Amurdak. With linguist Nick Evans, Holman also flies to Goulburn Island off the coast of Northern Australia, where he meets a community of 400 people speaking ten languages, many endangered, all vulnerable.
  • In Wales, Holman explores the humor, rage and lyricism of the Welsh people, who brought their language back from the edge of extinction. Currently, three million people live in Wales and speak the native language.

Language Matters with Bob Holman is a co-production of David Grubin Productions Inc. and Pacific Islanders in Communications. For more information, visit the film’s website: www.languagemattersfilm.com

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.

24/7 Streaming Coverage of Pahoa Lava Flow Now Available on TV

In partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey, Hawaii County Civil Defense, and the town of Hilo, Oceanic Time Warner Cable has dedicated a channel on its digital TV lineup to provide 24/7 streaming coverage of the Pahoa lava flow as it advances on the Big Island. The company has placed two cameras mounted in a company truck on land that is being donated by Bryson’s Cinders, Inc. in a strategic location to the lava flow.

Oceanic Setting up Camera

“Oceanic sympathizes with the people impacted by the Pahoa lava flow,” said Gregg Fujimoto, President of Oceanic, “and we are honored to be able to assist the USGS and the Civil Defense in providing a consistent level of information to all the people of the state through this live coverage.”

The special programming will continue indefinitely and is available on digital channels 128/1128.

New Screenplay Contest for Big Island Film Festival

Long before the lights and cameras come to life, movie action starts on paper, with a fine-tuned craft of screenwriting. In celebration of the screenplay, Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i (BIFF) has announced its first feature film script contest, with top entries saluted at the tenth annual festival, May21-25, 2015. The winning script will be submitted to the Paradigm Agency in Hollywood for possible representation.

Some of the winners that were present to receive their awards.

Some of the 2014 Big Island Film Festival award winners.

With a signature focus on narrative films, BIFF has nurtured the art of storytelling, both on the big screen and off, presenting screenwriting and filmmaking workshops, networking and social opportunities, and audience feedback in a casual, creative setting. The new screenplay contest is a natural outgrowth of inspiration and education planted over the last decade.

Celebrity Portia Doubleday and Consultant Jen Grisanti

Celebrity Portia Doubleday and Consultant Jen Grisanti

“Because we have writers who come to our workshops every year, we know that their film ideas are taking shape, if not actually completed,” said BIFF Executive Director Leo Sears. “This could give the right motivation to actually sit down and polish, fine-tune, give your project its best shot. Paradigm is one of the top five talent agencies in the business, and, although we can’t guarantee anything, just to have them consider representing your script is a tremendous opportunity; it’s priceless.”

BIFF Director Leo Sears gives actor Tom Berrenger the "Golden Honu" award at the 2010 BIFF

BIFF Director Leo Sears gives actor Tom Berrenger the “Golden Honu” award at the 2010 BIFF

Scripts must be submitted no later than February 1, 2015, and must be between 60 and 140 pages in standard screenplay format. Professional readers will screen all submissions, by reviewing the first ten pages, to select nine semi-finalists. Of those, three finalists will be evaluated by veteran screenwriters, instructors and consultants and one winner selected.

Saturday Night Live's Kate McGinnon received a Golden Honu Award.

Saturday Night Live’s Kate McGinnon received a Golden Honu Award.

All semifinalists will receive filmmaker passes to BIFF 2015 and finalists will receive a Golden Honu Award plate and listing on Variety.com. Only the winning screenplay, announced at the Awards Brunch on May 25, will be submitted to Paradigm Agency in Hollywood for possible representation.

Jackson Rathbone at the 2014 BIFF.

Jackson Rathbone at the 2014 BIFF.

Films may be submitted by mail or email, or on line via www.FilmFreeway.com, an easy and affordable entry service for screenwriting contests and film festivals. Deadlines are January 1, 2015 (Early Bird) and February 1, 2015 (Regular). Complete rules, fee information and entry forms are available at www.bigislandfilmfestival.com.

Kristina Anapau was another Golden Honu recipient.

Kristina Anapau was another Golden Honu recipient.

Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i is a celebration of independent narrative films and filmmaking, taking place May 21-25, 2015. Major sponsors include The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, The Shops at Mauna Lani and Hawaii Tourism Authority/Hawai‘i County CPEP.  For more information, visit www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com or call (808) 883-0394.

Cosplayers Invited to Enter Epic Bowling Battle and Costume Contest at KBXtreme for Glory and Big Prizes

HawaiiCon is partnering with KBXtreme for the Big Island’s first cosplay event, ever.

HawaiiConCosplayers from around the Big Island are invited to the KBXtreme Kona Bowl on July 19th, 2014, from 5pm until closing for a family-friendly event full of bowling, tabletop gaming, and costume contests. Those looking to participate in the cosplay events can register that night. The cosplay event is free for all ages. The bowling contest is available for $6.25 or less depending on age.

For the costume contest, outfits will be judged based on originality, craftsmanship, and accuracy. The top cosplayers will win passes to HawaiiCon and other prizes. The cosplayer with the most points in bowling will also win a day pass.

All passes will allow winners to participate in the main cosplay contest at HawaiiCon in front of stars Holly Conrad and Jessica Merizan from Syfy’s Heroes of Cosplay to compete for even bigger prizes.

“Our desire is to strengthen the local cosplay community on the Big Island,” says HawaiiCon CEO, GB Hajim. “This is something the Big Island has wanted for a long time, and we want HawaiiCon to be a catalyst that keeps the cosplay community connected and involved.”

The Royal Kona Resort is supporting the event by offering rooms for $105 with single and double occupancy for those traveling. Game demos provided by Lava Top.

No weapons, including cosplay weapons, are allowed at this event.

About HawaiiCon:
HawaiiCon is a non-profit organization whose mission is to increase public awareness of science, the science fiction genre, and mythologies, past and present, which guide humanity. HawaiiCon will emphasize education and uniquely Hawaiian contributions to science, including navigation, and ensure that Native Hawaiian culture is accorded an honored place in the conversation of science and science fiction.

HawaiiCon will take place at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel on September 12-14th, 2014. Kama’aina rates are available starting at $50 a day. For a full list of Guests, Events, and other information please visit the website at http://www.hawaiicon.com.

Complete List of Society of Professional Journalists Hawaii Chapter Awards

Here is the full list of the 2013 winners and finalists of the Hawaii Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists that were recognized Friday evening at the Manoa Grand Ballroom of the Japanese Culture Center over on Oahu.

Hawaii SPJ

The ceremony and banquet was emceed by Keoki Kerr and Robbie Dingeman.  The Colorado Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists judged the 2013 contest.

Every entrant had to pay $25.00 per category to have their entry judged.


Column Writing or Blog/News

First Place – “Board Talk,” Teresa Dawson, Environment Hawai’i

Comments: “Exhaustive reporting clearly presented. sometimes excessive length, but comprehensive. Good public service reporting/writing.”


“Patti Epler columns,” Patti Epler, Civil Beat

Comments: “Ms. Epler de-mystifies journalism for readers, writes about important topics like access to open records and strong shield laws. ”

“The State of Aloha,” Ben Lowenthal, Maui News

Comments: “Nice use of historical perspective. Clear writing style.”

Column Writing or Blog/Features or Sports— First Place:

“Sharing Mana’o,” Kathy Collins, Maui News


“Afterthoughts,” Michael Keany, Honolulu Magazine

“My Job: Greens Coordinator for Films, Jewelry Takes Her Underwater, ‘Eyes and Ears’ of the Store, Caring for Kahoolawe, Family Tradition of Feather Work,” Stacy Yuen, Catherine Toth, Paula Rath, Lehia Apana, Lee Ann Bowman – Hawaii Business

Overall comment: “This category has a broad variety of entries. I think the “”Modern Cowboys”” video might fit better in another place. Very strong column-writing entries. It was tough to decide between No. 1 and No. 2!”

Government Reporting

First Place -“Hawaii Prison Problems,” Keoki Kerr, Hawaii News Now

Comments: “Terrific series of reports, eye openers.”


“The Agribusiness Development Corporation,” Teresa Dawson, Environment Hawai’i

Comments: “Impressive continuing coverage of a government body wielding a lot of money but with little oversight and media scrutiny. Great job.”

“Hawaii’s Public Records,” Nathan Eagle, Nick Grube – Civil Beat

Comments: “Great stuff. Journalists need to explain in laymen’s terms to readers about public records, and this package does a terrific and compelling job.”

Breaking News Reporting

First Place – “Tropical Storm Flossie,” Melissa Tanji, Eileen Chao, Chris Sugidono, Lila Fujimoto – Maui News

Comments: “Comprehensive deadline coverage of a storm, its impact on services, infrastructure, personal stories and emergency preparedness information for readers. Well done.”


“Plane makes emergency landing,” Chris Sugidono, Brian Perry, Lee Imada – Maui News

Comments: “Excellent footwork in getting to the crash site, sticking with pursuit of survivors and capturing the aircraft’s final plunge into the ocean.”

“Shark attack,” Chris Sugidono, Melissa Tanji – Maui News

Comments: “Diligent pursuit of a rare rash of shark attacks and in getting firsthand accounts from a tourist’s rescuers.”

Health Reporting

First Place – “The Doctor Is Out, June 2013,” David Thompson, Honolulu Magazine

Comments: “A comprehensive and highly readable story about an issue with high public impact. The author explains well the reasons for critical doctor shortages, potential solutions and programs in play.”


“Dis Enabled,” Rylan Suehisa, Hawaii Business

“Transformation at Rehab Hospital,” Stacy Yuen, Hawaii Business

Sports Reporting

First Place – “Go Bows–Will We Ever Win Again? September 2013,” David Thompson, Lance Tominaga, Dave Choo – Honolulu Magazine

Comments: “This was a great read, a thorough look at the athletic director’s efforts to improve a struggling program. The example of the replacement of the light bulbs was classic.”


“Camacho conquers Kaiwi Channel,” J.R. De Groote, West Hawaii Today

Comments: Hats off to the writer for an in-depth look at the swimmer’s accomplishment — especially after very painful jellyfish stings.

“Farmers facing shortfall,” Robert Collias, Maui News

Comments: “The school sports teams on these islands face unique travel problems, and the writer did a great job telling us about them. ”

Arts/Entertainment Writing

First Place – “Na Kumu,” Maureen O’Connell, HAWAI‘I Magazine

Comments: “Wonderful work, fine tributes to artisans who deserve the media coverage. Great photos too. Elegant piece!”


“Hula Lives: Fifty Years of Renaissance and Revival through the Merrie Monarch Festival,” Jade Eckardt, Ke‘opulaulani Reelitz – Mana Magazine

Comments: “Page design and photos strengthen this submission, which starts with solid writing.”

“The Extra, May 2013,” David Thompson, Honolulu Magazine

Comments: “Very nice story about one man’s dreams and his willingness to wait for his big break.”

Editorial Opinion

First Place – “After tough start, Rosenthal enters golden chapter of his life,” Walter Chihara, Lahaina News

Comments: “A simple but compelling account, plainly and powerfully expressed.”


“History Repeated,” Ke‘oplaulani Reelitz, Mana Magazine

Editorial Cartoon/Illustration

First Place – “Favorite Perks,” Jon Murakami, Hawaii Business

Comments: “An amusing presentation that enlivens a familiar business ranking. Lots of content in a compact space.”


“He Mana Ko Ka Leo,” Jessica Kamaka‘aina Siepp, Mana Magazine

Comments: “Haunting and well executed, complemented by clever page layout.”

“I Feel So Much Safer Now,” John Pritchett, Civil Beat

Informational Graphic

First Place – “Quality of Life”,” Kristin Lipman, Hawaii Business

Comments: “Pie charts, bar graphs, graphic tid-bits and color visuals that impart a lot of information.Graphics blend with the stories nicely to complete incredibly comprehensive package.”


“Balancing Act,” Jen Tadaki Catanzariti, Hawaii Business

Comments: “Clean way to present a lot of info in an easy-to-digest fashion.”

“The Poop Scoop: What happens after you flush,” Vincent Meadows, Molokai Dispatch

Comments: “Colorful ‘Flow’ chart tells the story visually.”

News Photography/Videography

First Place – “Heavy rains ran like rivers,” Matthew Thayer, Maui News

Comments: “Life and death in the balance. It doesn’t get more newsworthy than this well-composed, dramatic photograph.”


“10 years in fatal crash,” John Burnett, Hawaii Tribune-Herald

Comments: “Human tragedy and remorse compel viewers to lock onto this excellent photograph of a sentencing and to read the story behind it.”

“Same Sex Marriage Special Session – Jubilation,” PF Bentley, Civil Beat

Comments: “Foreground and background merge into one powerful photograph capturing one powerful issue in the news.”

Feature Photography/Videography

First Place – “One Last Look: Volcano,” Grant Kaye, HAWAI‘I Magazine

Comments: “Everything works in this photo of the continuing creation of the Earth: beauty, disfigurement, power, light and dark, detail, shape, form, tones, and ultimately, transformation.”


“Hawaiian Language Immersion Program – Student with Book,” PF Bentley, Civil Beat

Comments: “The composition and great use of depth of field bring this simple photo into powerful three-dimensional life and visual immersion.”

“Fleetwood And Company,” Matthew Thayer, Maui News

Comments: “Lighting, composition, mood, depth of field and low noise make this a concert photo deserving of special recognition.”

Sports Photography/Videography

First Place – “Va’a Va’a Va’a Voom!” Kunio Hayashi, Sonny Ganaden, Elyse Butler, Leigh Morrison, Samuel Lee, Hana Hou!

Comments: “A striking composition with all the elements of a first-rate sports photo: action, people, dramatic lighting and rich warm tones.”


“Lawai‘a,” Sterling Kaya, Mana Magazine

Comments: “A compelling photo in terms of angle, composition, tones and detail.”

“Safe Under The Tag,” Matthew Thayer        , Maui News

Comments: “Exactly what a good baseball photo should be: dramatic and human.”

Photo/Video Essay

First Place – “Women of the Water,” Johann Meya, Janelle Kalawe, Mary Alice Ka‘iulani Milham – Mana Magazine

Comments: “A great story told exceptionally well in high quality, compelling images.”


“Hele on to Hamakua,” David Croxford, HAWAI’I Magazine

Comments: “A large variety of excellent images tell the story of an entire region.”

“Hooverball hits Hawaii,” Christine Cabalo, Hawaii Marine

Comments: “The slides deftly edited into a video and the accompanying narration bring visual life and interest to an unusual but entertaining topic.”


First Place – “Va’a Va’a Va’a Voom!” Kunio Hayashi, Sonny Ganaden, Elyse Butler, Leigh Morrison, Samuel Lee—Hana Hou!

Comments: “Excellent play on Va’a, canoe, and the topic: Speed.”


“I Want Candy”/“The Daytrippers”/“Get Baked”/“Big Shrimpin”/“Dry Idea,” Derek Paiva, HAWAI’I Magazine

Comments: “The Daytrippers”: Perfect headline for a travel story written for locals and visitors with only hours to spare.”

“Prime Example; A Spoonful of Noni; Lost in Translation; Morning Board Meeting; Hawaiian Enough,” Ke‘opulaulani Reelitz, Janelle Kalawe, Malia Ka‘aihue, Mana Magazine

Comments: “ ‘Lost in Translation’: Captures the controversy over a language immersion program, the goals behind testing, and the students themselves.”

Best Reporting Using Social Media

First Place – “Lucky We Live Hawaii: What Hawaii Can Teach Us About Seizing The Day,” Chloe Fox, HuffPost Hawaii

Comments: “Enjoyable way to cover the beauty of Hawaii, though I was left wondering: why only six photos?”

Special Section

First Place – “Quality of Life,” Steve Petranik, Stacy Yuen, Beverly Creamer, Kristin Lipman—Hawaii Business

Comments: “Stunning use of graphics, photos and well reported stories to create an outstanding public service package.”


“Merrie Monarch Festival 50th anniversary,” Staff, Hawaii Tribune-Herald

Comments: “Wow. This package is very well designed and obviously comprehensive. While outsiders might not fully understand, they would after reading this special section. It’s the ‘spirit and the culture of the Hawaiian people.’”

“Accountable for Results,” Dennis Hollier, Stacy Yuen, Beverly Creamer—Hawaii Business

Comments: “The writing is descriptive: ‘bloated, inefficient and sometimes corrupt …’ Incredibly comprehensive report. Well-researched and clearly written.”

Investigative Reporting

First Place – “Living Hawaii: Why Is the Price of Paradise So High?” Kery Murakami, Nathan Eagle, Adrienne LaFrance— Civil Beat

Comments: “Amazing series. Good mix of facts, history/context and storytelling. Bonus points for the bar charts on the first story as a way of presenting big data points in a digestible format.”


“State Hospital Investigation,” Keoki Kerr, Hawaii News Now

Comments: “Fine journalism!”

“GMO Hawaii: A war is waging in the islands,” Tom Callis, Hawaii Tribune-Herald

Comments: “Wide-ranging stories give a very good overview of GMO in the state, with perspective from both sides.”

Public Service Reporting

First Place – “In the Name of the Law,” Nick Grube, Patti Epler—Civil Beat

Comments: “A clear winner in a very competitive category. The depth and breadth of this series was impressive … an extraordinary and chilling investigation into law enforcement misconduct and its ability to operate beyond public scrutiny.”


“GMOs and the Hawaiian Community,” Britt Yap, Ke‘opulaulani Reelitz—Mana Magazine

“Hawaiian Education in the DOE,” Kathryn Wagner, Alyssa Navares, Mary Alice Ka‘iulani Milham, Ke‘opulaulani Reelitz, Janelle Kalawe—Mana Magazine


Spot News Reporting

First Place – “10 years in fatal crash,” John Burnett, Hawaii Tribune-Herald

Comments: “Compelling narrative spot reporting of a painful sentencing hearing that deftly includes key elements of a tragic accident.”


“Flossie strikes,” Eileen Chao, Melissa Tanji, Lila Fujimoto, Chris Sugidono—Maui News

Comments: “A comprehensive account of a storm and the damage it inflicted that provides nearly everything a citizen should know — all done in difficult conditions.”

“Priest-Crash kills health director,” Chris Sugidono, Maui News

Comments: “Excellent spot reporting on deadline that overcame logistical challenges while taking care to insist that the health director’s death had yet to be completely confirmed.”

General News/Enterprise Reporting

First Place – “Pop Warner embezzlement,” John Burnett, Hawaii Tribune-Herald


“Food thrown out,”    Nancy Cook Lauer, West Hawaii Today

“Isle mortgage broker facing court hearing on bankruptcy,” Melissa Tanji, Nanea Kalani—Maui News

Feature Writing/Short Form

First Place – “Making it official,”    Colin Stewart, Hawaii Tribune-Herald

Comments: “Well written story on an issue of high interest.”


“Fixing pools gone amuck,” Carolyn Lucas-Zenk, West Hawaii Today

Comments: “Story brings light to an environmental issue in a community in a compelling manner.”

“Ocean swim part of an active life,” Rich Van Scoy, Maui News

Comments: “Good human interest story on changing senior adult lifestyles.”

Feature Writing/Long Form

First Place – “’I was supposed to die’” Lila Fujimoto, Maui News


“15 years later, man’s slaying still unsolved,” Brian Perry, Maui News

Feature Page Design

First Place – “Got rocks?” Brenda Jensen, West Hawaii Today


“Google: Peering into social mindset,”           Nathan Christophel     , Hawaii Tribune-Herald

“GMO Hawaii: A war is waging in the islands,” Meg Scarbrough, Hawaii Tribune-Herald


Online News Reporting

First Place – “Diane Lee’s Reporting on the Same-Sex-Marriage Special Session,” Diane Lee, Honolulu Magazine

Comments: “I like the presentation as a package, sort of a non-linear way to tell the story. I wish the layout on the landing page had better use of headline font sizes so they’d stand out more. And in the “”man on the street”” interviews, I wish they could have been done in video instead of text, just to underscore this is online journalism. But those are quibbles. Great job done in a different way, on a big news story.”


“Fo Teach Pidgin o Not Fo Teach Pidgin ? Das Da Question,” Alia Wong, Civil Beat

Comments: “Fascinating topic, though for an outsider, a little long of a package to absorb. But fascinating… and important. Also like the video support materials with the reporter’s voiceover, too.”

“Learning Hilo,” Alia Wong, PF Bentley—Civil Beat

Comments: “Nice writing, strong individual stories.”

Online Feature Reporting

First Place – “Waikiki’s Venetian Nightmare: Natural Disasters in Paradise?” Sophie Cocke, Civil Beat

Comments: “Like her Ala Wai Canal package, this is written with crisp prose, solid reporting and obvious depth of knowledge of the topic. She owns this beat. ”


“Making Waves: Tommy Russo Is ‘Fighting for Change’ on Maui,” Nathan Eagle, Civil Beat

Comments: “Always good to read about a butt-kicking journalist who loves his community.”

“Bones in Purgatory: 660 Skeletal Remains Languish in Church Basement,” Sophie Cocke, Civil Beat

Comments: “Compelling story. Only nit is wish there could have been a photo of the bones in the basement, though I can guess the church turned it down.”

Category comments: “Some fine work! Sort of wish Civil Beat wasn’t so dominant, but the quality is there….”

Best Multimedia Presentation

First Place – “Ala Wai Canal: Hawaii’s Biggest Mistake?” Sophie Cocke, Joe Rubin, PF Bentley—Civil Beat

Comments: “Wow, comprehensive and incredibly well-done. Tackles a difficult, dense subject in digestible chunks and organizes the issues well. Also like that you’re including links to ‘Ongoing Coverage.’”


“In the Name of the Law,” Staff, Civil Beat

Comments: “Solid reporting, interesting look at how law enforcement is working (or not working). Wish there were more ways to incorporate video, but the infographic is good, and the searchable database is very nice to have.”

Best Overall News Site

First Place – Honolulu Civil Beat, Staff, Civil Beat

Comments: “It’s hard to deny CB. Such great deep reporting nicely presented…”


“HuffPost Hawaii” Chloe Fox, Gabriela Aoun, Carla Herreria—HuffPost Hawaii

Comments: General Interest Site. Good reporting though w/o bylines these read a bit anonymous…

“All Hawaii News – Top Hawaii government and political news from all the islands,” Nancy Cook Lauer, All Hawaii News

Best 1-Person Online News Site/1-Person News Blog

“All Hawaii News- Top Hawaii government and political news from all the islands,” Nancy Cook Lauer , All Hawaii News

Comments: “This site glows with the passion of its creator. The writing isn’t elegant, it’s straight-on journalism and unvarnished commentary, and it’s alive with the moment and depth of knowledge and love for the state. Awesome, and an example of one future for journalism.”

Best 1-Person Online Features Site/1-Person Features Blog

First Place – “Martin Luther King, Jr. Wearing a Lei in Selma, Alabama (and Other Blogs),” Ray Tsuchiyama, Pacific Visions and Memories

Comments: “Very strong, evocative writing steeped in history. As a reader, I get drawn in and taken to the past in each piece submitted. One nit is not a criticism of the writer, but of the site that publishes him: The photos are dreadfully presented. And in the case of “”Hawaiian Eye,”” someone — if not the writer, then a producer or even an editor at the paper, should have embedded the TV show’s theme, which is easily available on YouTube.”


“Sugar + Shake: Sweets, Savories, Sips & More,” Dawn Sakamoto Paiva, Sugar + Shake

Comments: “Nice, very good foodie blog with a strong local base.”

“Social Encore,” Jermel-Lynn Quillopo, www.honolulupulse.com

Comments: “Her writing can be a little rough, but her passion and love for her home state is obvious. Like the photos too.”


Business Reporting

First Place – “Twins?” Dennis Hollier, Hawaii Business

Comments: “This crammed an easy-to-understand semester’s worth of information about how banks invest and make money into one story. Comparing the practices of these two banks was a public service.”


“Million Dollar Microbes,” Dennis Hollier, Hawaii Business

Comments: “A terrific examination and clear explanation of how much a research center can mean to a college or university. Plus, the story provided many meaningful examples of how this all works.”

“Parking In Paradise,” Michael Keany, Matt Kain—Honolulu Magazine

Comments: “My kingdom for a parking space … a well-done examination of what’s behind the high prices and aggravation, plus interesting side notes, such as the Hall of Shame. ”

Category comments: “This was a tough category to judge. All six entries stood out: interesting topics, strong research and most of all, these subjects affect readers.”

Industry or Trade Reporting

First Place – “The Everything Guide to Ahi,” Martha Cheng, Mari Taketa, Tiffany Hill, Katrina Valcourt—Honolulu Magazine

Comments: “A lively, detailed, colorful biography of an iconic fish, bolstered by dazzling art and design. The best of a highly competitive category.”


“Biofuel Industry on the Big Island,” Patricia Tummons, Environment Hawai’i

Comments: “Tales about things going wrong are hard to tell, but can be compelling when relayed with as much intelligence and detail as this entry.”

“GMOs and the Hawaiian Community,” Britt Yap, Mana Magazine

Comments: “An insightful examination of an important issue.”


First Place – “Flight Instructor,” Kunio Hayashi, Sonny Ganaden, Greg Vaughn, Leigh Morrison, Samuel Lee–Hana Hou!

Comments: “Great writing, pictures and layout! Love it!”


“The Fighter,” Kunio Hayashi, Aaron Kandell, Dana Edmunds, Leigh Morrison, Samuel Lee—Hana Hou!

Comments: “Tightly written. Very nice package.”

“Can Ben Jay Save UH Sports?” David Thompson, Honolulu Magazine

Comments: “Very strong package. It was hard to choose between this and the other winners.”

Category comments: “Very impressive entries in this category. I’d like to give an honorable mention to CEO of the Year: Stanley Kuriyama. Lots of hard work went into that piece”

Feature Writing/Short Form

First Place – “Ode to Red Cinder Road,” Derek Paiva, HAWAI‘I Magazine


“Into The Black,” Kunio Hayashi, Hunter Haskins, Leigh Morrison, Samuel Lee—Hana Hou!

“Field Notes: God Wants You to Be a Millionaire,” David Thompson, Honolulu Magazine

Feature Writing/Long Form

First Place – “From Souvenirs to Saks: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of the International Marketplace,” David Thompson, Honolulu Magazine

Comments: “Comprehensive, well researched, interesting sources and well written. A worthy tribute an icon of the past.”


“Go Fish!” Kunio Hayashi, Michael Shapiro, Monte Costa, Leigh Morrison, Samuel Lee—Hana Hou!

Comments: “Intriguing slice of life in a remote and romantic place with unusual characters well described. Conveys sense of place and lostness.”

“Georgia & Ansel in Hawai‘i” Maureen O’Connell, HAWAI’I Magazine

Comments: “Elegant story benefits from tight focus and generous display of artwork, deep research, as well as local connection.”

Page Design

First Place – “75 Places to Eat Like A Local,” Cody Kawamoto, HAWAI‘I Magazine

Comments: “Clean, professional, clear. Something I’d want to keep on hand for reference. Nice use of complementary fonts and colors.”


“Eddie Went,” Janelle Kalawe, Mana Magazine

Comments: “Very clever design. Good mix of design elements yet the package maintains a cohesive feel.”

“Boom!” Mary Pigao, Hawaii Business

Comments: “Layout really grabs the reader’s attention. Nice use of white space.”

Category comments: “Some excellent entries in this category.”

Magazine Cover

First Place – “HONOLULU Magazine, April 2013,” Erik Ries, Honolulu Magazine


“Kaho‘olawe: Kanaloa Rising” Janelle Kalawe, Olivier Koning, Ke‘opulaulani Reelitz—Mana Magazine

“Huakai: Fall 2013” Cody Kawamoto, HAWAI’I Magazine


Business Reporting

First Place – “Isle mortgage broker facing court hearing on bankruptcy,” Nanea Kalani, Melissa Tanji—Maui News

Comments: “Nanea Kalani does a service by shedding light on the shady dealings of mortgage brokers.”


“Out of its shell,” Colin Stewart, Hawaii Tribune-Herald

Comments: “A clearly-told look at a budding industry.”

“Kona Village laying off last workers,” Erin Miller, West Hawaii Today

News Page Design

First Place – “Design: Snow and Ironman preview,” Joseph Mountain, West Hawaii Today

Comments: “Nice use of photo with banner. Good headline with color splash ‘m’ in middle.”


“Ka Molokai Makahiki 2013,” Laura Pilz, Molokai Dispatch

Comments: “Colorful page with a lot going on, but not too busy to confuse reader. Liked the text flow on top of photo cutout.”

“GMO Hawaii: A war is waging in the islands,” Meg Scarbrough, Hawaii Tribune-Herald

Comments: “Good blend of stories graphics and pictures. Layout pretty conventional, but effective.”


General News/Enterprise Reporting

First Place – “Energy on Molokai,” Catherine Cluett, Molokai Dispatch

Comments: “Nice job balancing the different perspectives on this story. Lots of potential impact on the local community.”


“K-Bay Marine linguist named best in DoD,” Christine Cabalo, Hawaii Marine

Comments: “Many people may not know about this award; it is good to let locals know one of their own received it.”

Feature Writing

First Place -“K-Bay Marines reap benefits from acupuncture in pinpoint solution,” Christine Cabalo, Hawaii Marine

Comments: “Intriguing story on use of alternative medicine for soldiers.”


“Island Legend: Paniolo Jimmy Duvauchelle,” Catherine Cluett, Molokai Dispatch

Community Reporting

First Place – “Does the state’s new $7 million seawall at Ukumehame work?” Louise Rockett, Lahaina News

Comments: “A terrific investigation into whether an expensive highway project is really working, or whether it’s creating a potential public safety hazard. Good local color and anecdotes.”


“The Poop Scoop: What happens after you flush,” Jessica Ahles, Molokai Dispatch

“Ready to launch: Marine aids Kalaheo High School robotics team,” Christine Cabalo, Hawaii Marine


General News/Enterprise Reporting

First Place – “’Linsanity’ Details Rise of Asian-American Basketball Star,”          Heidi Chang, Faith Lapidus— Voice of America

Comments: “An important story about the challenges Jeremy Lin has faced, told in a very conversational way.


“Special Legislative Session (Marriage Equality)” Wayne Yoshioka, Hawaii Public Radio

Feature Reporting

First Place -“Plugged In on the Streets,” Molly Solomon, Hawaii Public Radio

Comments: “Compelling exploration of homelessness from a unique perspective.”


“Growing a New Crop of Young Farmers,” Molly Solomon, Hawaii Public Radio

Comments: “Insightful exploration of evolution in agriculture.”

“’If It Swings’: An Asian-American Jazzman’s Pioneering Career,” Heidi Chang, National Public Radio

Comments: “Well-written story on intercultural jazz movement.”


Student News Reporting in Any Media

First Place – “My Wish is to Create a Business,” Ashley Shaffer, Hawaii Business

Comments: “Strong, nice presentation too.”


“Yelp Me,” Ashley Shaffer, Hawaii Business

Comments: “Pretty interesting story on a topic that young people would be interested in.”

Student Feature Reporting in Any Media

First Place – “How I Learned to Love to Weed,” Ava Rose Prince, Environment Hawai‘i

Comments: “Wow, a high school student! Very impressive…”


“Startup in a Cup,” Ashley Shaffer, Hawaii Business

Comments: “Cool story, nice writing and layout.”

“Boom!” Ashley Shaffer , Hawaii Business

Comments: “Solid look at the gun issue in Hawai’i. Good photos too.”


Government Reporting

First Place – “PRISON GUARD SICK DAYS”   Keoki Kerr, Darin Akita—Hawaii News Now

Comments: “An astonishing analysis of the high percentage — nearly 50% — of prison guards calling in sick on Super Bowl Sunday, during March madness and a parade day for a local football player. Great explanation of the impact on coworkers and why it’s so easy to call in sick.”


“Empty City Parking Garage,” Keoki Kerr, Hawaii News Now

Business Reporting

First Place – “Business booming on Lanai with new billionaire owner,” Keoki Kerr, George Hurd, Mahealani Kahoano—Hawaii News Now

Comments: “A fine report on the changes that are coming to the traditionally closed, remote island of Lanai.”


“HE>I” Marisa Yamane, Travis Nishida—KHON2

General News/Enterprise Reporting

First Place – “Empty New City Parking Garage,” Keoki Kerr, Hawaii News Now

Comments: “This story, about a new parking garage sitting nearly empty while city workers scramble for parking elsewhere, is perfect for television. Very nicely done.”

Feature Reporting

First Place – “Hawaii’s only elevator operator hopes to lift the spirit of others,” Olena Heu, KHON2

Comments: “Interesting human interest feature with vintage slant.”


“Modern Cowboys,” Diane Ako, Tracy Arakaki—smalltalk.staradvertiserblogs.com

Comments: “Clever exploration of changing culture.”

“What a catch! Man reels in 759 lb. marlin off Kewalo Basin” Kristine Uyeno, KHON2

Comments: “Creative story on catching the big one.”

Spot News Reporting

First Place – “Haleiwa Fire,” Marisa Yamane, Taires Hiranaka, KHON2

Comments: “Vivid coverage of a wildfire threatening homes, seen through the eyes of worried residents. ”


“Palolo Hikers Rescued,” Marisa Yamane, Taires Hiranaka—KHON2

Investigative Reporting

First Place – “State Hospital Investigation,” Keoki Kerr, Darin Akita, Mahealani Kahoano—Hawaii News Now

Comments: “This really is a terrific report.(Previous comments on the series from the other category.)”


“Growing tab for UH head-hunts amid budget crunch,” Gina Mangieri, Greg Lau—KHON2

Comments: “Good story. A visual approach might be helpful — even a chart that shows actual revenue numbers instead of just saying the amounts swing wildly.”

“Careless disposal puts personal info at risk,” Gina Mangieri, Greg Lau—KHON2

Comments: “Good deeper research showing the cost of a variety of personnel searches at UH.”


First Place – “Modern Cowboys,” Tracy Arakaki, Diane Ako—smalltalk.staradvertiserblogs.com

Comments: “Strong, lively video work and narration, good storytelling. This story works better as a video package than text with stills.”

Series Reporting/Documentary/Special News

First Place -“Hokule’a: Her Farthest Journey,” Kathy Muneno, KHON2


“Mysterious urn found on the beach,” Reid Shimizu, Tammy Mori, Ron Mizutani, KHON2


Board members:

  • Dave Briscoe
  • Teresa Dawson
  • Nancy Cook Lauer
  • Christy Strobel

Honolulu Star-Advertiser

  • Richard Borreca
  • Nanea Kalani
  • Stirling Morita
  • Curtis Murayama
  • Mary Poole
  • Dave Shapiro
  • Christie Wilson
  • Alan Yonan
  • Lucy Young-Oda

PacificBasin Communications

  • Jen Tadako Catanzariti
  • Dennis Hollier
  • Kristin Lipman
  • Lennie Omalza
  • Steve Petranik
  • Christi Young

Bethany Hamilton Selected for “The Amazing Race” Season 25

Hawaii Pro Surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost her arm to a shark attack,  has been selected to participate in this years CBS Television Reality Show “The Amazing Race” which kicked off this morning in Times Square in New York City.

Bethany Hamilton and her husband will compete in this years Amazing Race.

Bethany Hamilton and her husband Adam Dirks will compete in this years Amazing Race.

Here is the complete cast list, as provided by CBS:

  • Bethany Hamilton and Adam Dirks: married surfers from Princeville, Hawaii
  • Kym Perfetto and Alli Forsythe: urban bike racers from Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Amy DeJong and Maya Warren: food scientists from Madison, Wisc.
  • Lisa Thomson and Michelle Thomson: Realtor sisters from Miami, Fla.
  • Michael Ward and Scott Strazzullo: firefighters from Boston, Mass.
  • Brooke Adams and Robbie E. Strauss: dating pro wrestlers from Houston, Texas, and Woodbridge, N.J., respectively.
  • Tim Tsao and Te Jay McGrath: college sweethearts from Pasadena, Calif.
  • Isabelle Du and Dennis Hour: model and accountant, respectively, from Tustin, Calif.
  • Keith Tollefson and Whitney Duncan: engaged couple from Nashville, Tenn.
  • Misti and Jim Raman: married dentists from Columbia, S.C.
  • Shelley and Nici Porter: mother/daughter from Detroit, Mich.

My Audition for Wheel of Fortune… And Now the Wait Begins

So folks want to know about the Wheel of Fortune Audition that happened at the Hilton Waikoloa Village last night.

The sun sets at the Hilton Waikoloa Village

The sun sets at the Hilton Waikoloa Village

The room started out w/ about 200 folks that had previously sent in a video and had gotten a letter from WOF stating their audition times.

I gather that they had auditions at 10:00 AM and 3:30 PM yesterday.

They were really looking for contestants that were smiling and clapping a lot and basically enthusiastic that they were there.

We filled out applications that basically asked general questions about us.

Then they made a seating chart of who the folks were in the room.

They then called out everyone’s name in the room for a chance to play a simulated version of the game.

I was doing pretty good on my puzzle but then I chose a wrong letter.

They then called up a few more folks to ask them to do another puzzle.

They then issued us a 5 minute written test that was a lot harder then I thought it would be and the time flew by. I think I got about half the puzzles right and skipped the ones I couldn’t figure out.

We broke for about a half an hour while they graded the written tests.

We came back in the room and they showed us some old school clips of the show and then they told us that this is the hard part and that not everyone can be on the show.

They then read off a list of 12 folks that were partnered w/ “friends and family”,  then 12 individuals.

I was one of two guys that they called of the individuals to stay in the room and play some more simulated games.

I stayed and competed against a group of six folks playing two simulated puzzles. I didn’t win any of the puzzles but I got a bunch of letters correct before hitting a lose-a-turn.

After the simulated games we all sat down and they explained the process of things if we are selected to be on the show and that we would find out by the second week of August if we were selected.

They took Polaroid pictures of those of us remaining in the room and attached that to our written tests and the applications we initially filled out.

It was an interesting experience to say the least and now I sit back and wait for the “Casting Call” so to speak!

2014 Big Island Film Festival Highlights

The 2014 Big Island Film Festival at the Fairmont Orchid wrapped up last night.

Here is a video of the pictures I compiled:


Mahalo to everyone that came and participated this year!

Portia Doubleday Receives Golden Honu Award at Big Island Film Festival

Last night at the Big Island Film Festival, there was a celebrity salute and reception for actress Portia Doubleday.

Big Island Film Festival Founder & Executive Leo Sears presents Doubleday with a Golden Honu Award

Big Island Film Festival Founder & Executive Leo Sears presents Doubleday with a Golden Honu Award

Portia was awarded a “Golden Honu” award for being a “Star to Watch”.   She answered questions from folks attending the Festival and then afterwards people got to meet with her and have a reception that was sponsored by Kenwood Wines and the Fairmont Orchid.

The reception sponsored by Kenwood Wines and the Fairmont Orchid

The reception sponsored by Kenwood Wines and the Fairmont Orchid

Portia most recently co-starred opposite Chloe Moretz in CARRIE as bad girl Chris Hargensen and has a cameo opposite Joaquin Phoenix as the sex surrogate in Spike Jonze critically acclaimed film HER.

A star to watch!

A star to watch!

Portia also co-starred alongside Martin Lawrence and Brandon T. Jackson in 20th Century Fox’s BIG MOMMAS: LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON.  She starred in her first leading role opposite Michael Cera in Miguel Artera’s film YOUTH IN REVOLT, which was named one of the ten best films of the year by the National Board of Review.

Portia with Photographer Kirk Aeder

Portia with Photographer Kirk Aeder

I had an opportunity to have a one-on-one interview with Portia and here are some of the things she shared with me:

Deep Thoughts with Doubleday!

Deep Thoughts with Doubleday!

Aloha Portia welcome to Hawaii… have you been here before?

The first time I came to Hawaii was six months ago and I stayed in Maui but I love the Big Island, I went “Snubaing” today on a boat and supposedly went to one of the ten most beautiful places in the world… It’s paradise here, I love it!

So you’re here for the Big Island Film Festival, can you tell me about some of the projects you are working on?

I just got finished with a movie called “Act of All” filmed in Montreal where I play a girl and a boy and that movie should be coming out in about six months or so… I literally just got through filming it about 7 days ago so this is a really nice little vacation for me.

Where are you from in California and what High School did you go to?

I grew up in Hancock Park and went to Laces on 18th street which was a college-prep school where I did drama, choir and dance there.

What got you into acting?

I come from an acting family as both my parents were actors, my plan was that I would go to school and get my degree and then when I was trained when I was like 30 I would start acting around then… I hadn’t planned on acting as young as I am at all… it just kind of happened that way.

I went to a program at Cal Arts and Academy of Dramatic Arts and studied while I was in school and to me auditioning was just for fun as a I was a psychology major… and I just kind of jumped into the game. I’m still in school, I have been now for 6 years and I’m determined to get my degree.

Out of all the projects that you have worked on what was your favorite?

It’s really hard to say because I have a different taste in my mouth for all of them… I love what I do so I’m most comfortable on the set… I love all the projects for different reasons but I really loved doing “Carrie”.

So for all single guys out there… are you married or are you in a relationship?

Not married… I am single…. (laughs)

What do you plan on doing after you leave the Big Island?

Crying… because I’m going to miss it here… tomorrow I’ll be swimming with the dolphins.

How can fans follow you in the future?

Well I’m on Instagram at @PortiaDD. I have a twitter account but I don’t know how to use it. I think the last tweet I sent out said “I don’t know how to use Twitter”…. But I know how to use instagram.

Portia and some dude!

Portia and some dude!