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Award-Winning Hawaiian Mystery ‘KULEANA’ Set for North American Premier

‘KULEANA’ is the Hawaiian word for Spiritual Responsibility. ‘KULEANA’ is also a provocative new mystery/drama written/directed by Brian Kohne that stars Moronai Kanekoa (Gary Kubota’s one-man show LEGEND OF KO’OLAU), Sonya Balmores (Marvel’s INHUMANS), and Kristina Anapau (TRUE BLOOD, BLACK SWAN). ‘KULEANA’ holds its North American Premiere August 1 at 6pm in the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts as an opening night selection in the 23rd San Antonio Film Festival. A Hula performance will precede the screening, the Texas Premiere of WIND RIVER, starring Jeremy Renner, follows at 8pm.

In ‘KULEANA’, set on Maui in 1971, a disabled Vietnam vet must rediscover the Hawaiian warrior within to protect his family, defend their land, and clear his father’s name. ‘KULEANA’, presented by Hawai’i Cinema, held its World Premiere screening for an attendance-record 3,100 enthusiastic viewers outdoors at the 2017 Maui Film Festival in June, and was honored with an Audience Choice Award.

Critics report of ‘KULEANA’: “An original blend of Hawaii’s history, spirituality and culture. Kuleana introduces a unique new film genre: Hawaiian Noir. While the setting may be tropical paradise, it’s set against a shocking and densely plotted mystery that twists and turns like a Raymond Chandler thriller.” And: “With its easy-going pace, lived-in characterizations, emphasis on domestic cruelties and layered, twisty storytelling, the movie this most reminded me of was Chinatown.”

‘KULEANA’ is written and directed by Brian Kohne, and produced by Stefan Schaefer. The unrated 95-minute mystery/drama stars native Hawaiian Moronai Kanekoa, Sonya Balmores of Marvel’s TV series INHUMANS, Kristina Anapau of TRUE BLOOD, and island entertainers Marlene Sai, Augie T, and Branscombe Richmond. The legendary Willie K provides an original score with Johnny Wilson; and the soundtrack boasts hits by Joni Mitchell, Procol Harum, Tony Orlando and Dawn and more, with classic Hawaiian recordings of the sixties from Genoa Keawe, Lena Machado, Sunday Manoa, Sons of Hawaii, Marlene Sai, and more.

The San Antonio Film Festival runs Tuesday August 1, to Sunday August 6, with an array of shorts and features, workshops and panels, VIP events, and fun for all ages. Tickets are on sale at the Tobin Center Box Office. For more information, visit: SAFilm.com.


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

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.

“Get A Job” – Kamaaina Rates Now Available

*Editors note* I just got my copy of Get A Job on DVD.

Even my dogs want a piece of the action!

“GET A JOB,” Hawaii’‘s first award winning major motion picture comedy starring Willie K, Eric Gilliom, Augie T, and many of the island’s top entertainers and musicians, is now available on DVD and is quickly becoming the hottest christmas gift and stocking stuffer in Hawaii and beyond.

Both the Movie and Soundtrack are available for purchase online at www.GetAJobMovie.com, and fans can save 10% on their purchases by using the special discount code “KAMAAINA.”

Get a Job... The Movie

Honolulu Star-Advertiser film critic Burl Burlingame says the movie is “Undeniably funny.” Impressed by the quality of the all-Hawaii production team, he adds “… in sheer filmmaking technique, it’s a masterpiece.”

Entertainer and Honolulu Midweek reporter Kaleo Pilanca observes “This movie is for everybody or anybody who wants to laugh and not take life too seriously.” Asked if he would buy the DVD, he replies “Yes. I would send it to all my relatives who live on the mainland. This would help them with homesickness.”

Regarding the motion picture Soundtrack in his Island Mele column, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Jon Berger raves “‘Get A Job’ sings with fun, creativity, and versatility.”

Maui Time’s Anu Yagi states “GET A JOB” has broken boundaries, proving it’s possible to create a quality Hawaii story, by Hawaii people.” She continues, “From the flicker of the first few frames, “GET A JOB” is going to change everything anyone’s ever thought about locally made films.”

Producer Brian Kohne… with Big Island Film Festival Director Leo Sears and Actor/Musician Eric Gilliom

“(Writer/director) Kohne took inspiration from vintage screwball comedies like ‘It’s a Mad Mad World,’ where chaos is the starting point and things get crazier from there,” reports Maui News film critic Rick Chatenever. “It’s a madcap comedy, a throwback to the zaniness of Hope and Crosby, Martin and LEwis, Abbott and Costello.”

“GET A JOB” on DVD stars Willie K, Eric Gilliom, and Augie T, Jake Shimabukuro, Carolyn Omine, Henry Kapono, Amy Hanaiali’i, the late Charles Ka’upu, Ernie Cruz Jr., Kealoha, and Kathy Collins, with cameos by Mick Fleetwood, Willie Nelson, and Pat Simmons of the Doobie Brothers. The movie was written/directed by Maui’s Brian Kohne, produced by Stefan Schaefer, and features a tropical soundtrack by the Barefoot Natives. Produced entirely in Hawaii by islanders, the ground breaking feature film previously screened in theaters throughout Hawaii, on the mainland, and in countries such as Spain, India, and Cambodia, winning top prizes in many of the Festivals in which it competed. The movie is available for purchase at www.GetAJobMovie.com.

Big Island Film Festival Announces Huffington Post Blogger Gristani and Maui Filmmaker Kohne for Workshops

The Big Island Film Festival is proud to announce an exciting lineup of professional screenwriting and filmmaking workshops during BIFF 2012, May 24-28 at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i and The Shops at Mauna Lani.  Limited space will be available on an advance registration basis, for workshops presented by Story/Career Consultant Jen Grisanti and Maui hit filmmaker Brian Kohne, on Thursday, May 24 at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i Amphitheatre.

Jen Grisanti

Jen Grisanti – A Story/Career Consultant, Writing Instructor for Writers on the Verge at NBC, former 12-year studio executive, Jen Grisanti is a Blogger for The Huffington Post and author of the new books, Story Line: Finding Gold In Your Life Story and TV Writing Tool Kit: How To Write a Script That Sells.  After starting her career as an assistant to Aaron Spelling in 1992, and with him as her 12-year mentor, Grisanti climbed the ranks to become VP of Current Programs at CBS/Paramount.


Jen Grisanti Consultancy Inc. launched in 2008 as a consulting firm dedicated to helping talented writers break into the industry. Since then, Jen has worked with over four hundred writers working in television, film and novels. Twenty-six of her clients have staffed as writers on TV shows and ten have sold pilots, two that went to series.

Grisanti’s Workshop, “How to Write TV Spec & Pilot Scripts” will help screenwriters get ten steps ahead by understanding what producers and executives are looking for in a TV spec and pilot script, including all the story components for telling the one-hour drama and half hour sitcom stories.

Grisanti says “With experience in staffing over 15 primetime shows, I will reveal secrets from the executive side and guide you to utilize your voice in your story as a way to help your TV spec/pilot scripts rise to the top of the stack.”

Brian Kohne

Brian Kohne – Named as “Person Who Made A Difference in 2011” by the Maui News, Hawaii native Brian Kohne is writer/director/editor/producer of “Get A Job,” an award-winning independent feature comedy starring islanders  Willie K, Eric Gilliom, Augie T, Jake Shimabukuro, Henry Kapono, Amy Hanaiali’i, and Mick Fleetwood. The movie won “Best of Fest” and “Best Hawaiian Feature” at BIFF 2011, along with numerous honors at festivals in the U.S. and abroad.  A Film and Art school graduate, and Music Producer of the “Barefoot Natives,” Kohne boasts a diverse work history which includes Sports Broadcasting, Interactive Television, Corporate Video, Concert Promotion, and Sales/Marketing. He is currently at work on a new independent island feature: “Brother’s Kuleana.”

Kohne’s Workshop, “From Conception to Completion: Indie Features”

“Movies were traditionally ‘made’ three times,” says Kohne.  “They were Written, Produced, and Edited. But with technological shifts, movement away from theatrical exhibition, and the evolution of distribution models, an independent auteur now ‘makes’ a movie four times. This workshop explores the necessary inter-connectivity, as Marketing/Distribution has become an integral part of the production process and equally critical to an indie’s success.”

In his interactive “Talk Story” workshop Kohne will use clips from “Get A Job” to structure the presentation and add levity.  “One of my big messages is meant to be nurturing and inspirational,” says Kohne.  “If a local knucklehead like me can do it, than you probably can too… or at least become a valued member of a team.”

Workshops cost $50 each.  Advance registration is required and participants will be accepted on a first-come first-served basis.  Workshop registration forms are available at www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com Deadline for registration is May 20, 2012.

The Big Island “Talk Story” Film Festival is a celebration of narrative filmmaking, Memorial Weekend, May 24-28.  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 (self-parking validated), stellar social events, networking opportunities, celebrity receptions, awards and a closing night “Best of the Fest” with a celebrity Hawaiian music concert, silent auction for the Wounded Warrior Project supporting America’s veterans, and the audience-voted Best Feature and Best Short from BIFF 2012.

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 and to purchase ticket online, visit www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com or call 808-883-0394.

Get A Job or Run With the Bulls… Hawaii Movie Premiers at the Marbella Internacional Film Festival

GET A JOB,” the award-winning motion picture comedy produced entirely in Hawaii and starring Willie K, Eric Gilliom, and many of the island’s top entertainers and musicians, will screen its European premiere at the Marbella Internacional Film Festival (www.marbellafilmfestival.com) at 2 p.m. on Sunday October 16, 2011. The Festival will be held October 14-16, in Marbella. Spain.

Get a Job... The Movie

With the help of longtime writing partner Ernesto Ocampo, writer/director Brian Kohne recently completed a version that features Spanish sub-titles, and is looking forward to presenting “Get A Job” in Europe. “One of Spain’s respected Directors, Pedro Almodóvar, is a master of screwball comedy.” Says Kohne. “We are excited to share our Hawaiian-style farce with the audience in Marbella, and in the process of translation we discovered the humor to be quite conducive to Spanish translation.”

In addition to Brian, “GET A JOB” star Eric Gilliom will also be attending the festival in Marbella. “Europeans are very appreciative of the art and music of other cultures, so it’s really no surprise that we are being welcomed in Marbella.” Said Eric. “So many people on Maui worked for many years to realize this project – and Brian and I are proud to represent our culture overseas on behalf of the cast, crew, and supporters of this groundbreaking project. We like to think that ours will just be the first of many movies to travel beyond our shores from Hawaii filmmakers in the coming years.”

The movie has been on a hot streak since entering the 2011 Film Festival circuit, including the win in July of “Jury Award” in the Las Vegas Film Festival, which is akin to runner up for best of show (Grand Jury Award) out of over 1000 movies that were in consideration. In fact, “GET A JOB” has won top prizes in each of the four Film Festivals in which it has screened:

  • BIG ISLAND FILM FESTIVAL (May) – “”Best Hawaiian Feature,” “Audience Choice Award.”    
  • DETROIT WINDSOR INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (June) – “”Best Comedy.”               
  • VENTURA FILM FESTIVAL (July) – “Best Comedy.”
  • LAS VEGAS FILM FESTIVAL (July) – ”Jury Award.”

“GET A JOB!” is written and directed by Brian Kohne, produced by Stefan Schaefer, and stars Willie K and Eric Gilliom. It also boasts special appearances by superstars Mick Fleetwood, Willie Nelson, and Pat Simmons of the Doobie Brothers. “GET A JOB” is an unconventional musical featuring 27 songs from the islands, including eighteen by the Barefoot Natives (www.barefootnatives.com).

A Message of Sorrow From the Director of “Get A Job” on Friend and Cast Member Charles Ka’upu

It is with great sadness I share the loss of friend and cast member Charles Ka’upu.

Brian Kohne with Kumu Charles Ka'upu.

Many of you who were on set day-one will remember the special blessing of the project he performed – I was so moved and comforted by his words in those moments that despite the obstacles we were to face, all apprehension and fear in me was alleviated. His presence and divinity was felt throughout the production, and I for one will never forget being moved, entertained, and comforted by this great Hawaiian through the years.
He also performed the most amazing and magical blessing of Malama Pono Productions in 2005 A “Dedicated To The Memory…” message and photo will be created and placed at the end of “Get A Job,” so that in our own small way the production will keep alive his memory, and honor his deep contribution to our movie.
We will post additional information on the Get a Job Facebook page with respect to further honoring of Charles Ka’upu, who forever will remain alive in our hearts and minds, and onscreen with a special poignant brilliance.
Charles, we love you…
Brian Kohne

GET A JOB! Premiers at the Hawaii International Film Festival

Media Release:

“GET A JOB!,” the hilarious, high-spirited motion picture comedy starring Willie K and Eric Gilliom and filmed and produced entirely on Maui, will have its World Premiere at the Hawaii International Film Festival at the Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18 on Saturday, October 16, 7:15pm and again will be shown on Saturday, October 23 at 3:15pm. Tickets are on sale now for both screenings. (Check www.HIFF.org for information on ticket sales.)


“GET A JOB!,” the first of several planned collaborations between Malama Pono Productions and Cicala Filmworks, is written and directed by Maui native Brian Kohne and produced by Stefan Schaefer.

The feature film also stars Oahu’s Carolyn Omine (who now writes for “The Simspons”), and comedian and radio personality Augie T. A who’s who of the top musical talent and personalities in Hawaii today rounds out the cast including Jake Shimabukuro, Henry Kapono Ka’aihue, Amy Hanaiali’i, Kealoha, Charles Ka’upu, Ernie Cruz Jr., Kathy Collins, and Alaka’i Paleka.

It also boasts special appearances by Mick Fleetwood, Willie Nelson, Pat Simmons of the Doobie Brothers, Marty Dread, and many many more. The “GET A JOB” soundtrack includes music by the Barefoot Natives, Don Tiki, Amy Hanaiali’i, the Throwdowns, Willie K, Avi Ronen, Kealoha, and Kristen Grove.

“GET A JOB!” is a contemporary comedy set on Maui. William (Willie K) is a successful employment agent whose own career is jeopardized when, over the course of one week, he repeatedly fails to find work for a 40 something year-old, Merton (Eric Gilliom), a simpleton who surfs everyday in a spot where there are no waves. He needs to “GET A JOB!” William’s problems are compounded tenfold by his longtime bridal shop employee girlfriend, Laura (Carolyn Omine), who wants desperately to be married and chooses this particular week to achieve her goal at all costs.

At week’s end, William finds himself jobless, homeless, car-less, girlfriend-less… but more resolved than ever to make the tough choices needed to find lasting joy, love and fulfillment.

“The time is right for Hawaii to unleash a project of this nature. We have the talent in front of the camera, the experience behind it, “says writer-director Brian Kohne, “and “GET A JOB!” showcases our unique sense of humor in such a way that, I believe, is indeed accessible to mainlanders and internationals alike.

On the surface this homegrown film is an outrageous ride, but beneath it beats the heart of our beautiful people and the daily struggle we face every day to live and work in the islands.”

In its listing of the film on its website, the Hawaii International Film Festival remarks: “Kohne’s play on stereotypes is gut-breaking indeed, but there’s a grander scheme to the madness in “GET A JOB”; It’s the pursuit of the American dream.”