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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.

Catching Up With Local Actress Kristina Anapau

The 2016 Big Island Film Festival held at the Fairmont Orchid was attended by the most participants ever with 58 films shown as well as celebrity salutes and receptions for Bellamy Young and Michael Gross.

This year, 2011 Golden Honu Award Recipient and Hawaii Islands own actress Kristina Anapau (“True Blood”, “Black Swan”) made a surprise guest appearance as she happened to be working on a project over on Maui and was able to get away for a couple days.

Kristina 2016(1)

I’ve continued a dialog with Kristina since I first met her in 2011 and I asked the former model if I could do a photo shoot and interview with her and she agreed.

kristina 2016(2)

I asked her what she has been up to since the 2011 Big Island Film Festival and Anapau stated:

“Since 2011? Quite a lot! I’ve completed about a half a dozen feature films, played the faerie Maurella on the HBO series True Blood for a few seasons, and appeared on a handful of other great shows like Grimm and Anger Management.

I also developed and launched a fashion product, Color It New, which has done really well. It’s an aerosolized colorant that that permanently change the color of shoes, handbags, belts, and other accessories without any chipping, cracking, or peeling— it’s pretty amazing.”

My next business endeavor is called Enlight Lifestyle and is set to launch January 2017. It’s a lifestyle website, brand, and content streaming platform focused on stylish, conscious, and informed living. Readers can visit www.enlightlifestyle.com to find out more!

kristina 2016(3)I asked her how she would recommend up and coming actors and actresses from the Big Island to get noticed by mainland filmmakers?

I’d probably recommend that they move to LA or NYC if they are really serious. You hear about fairytale “discovery” stories where an actor is spotted by an agent or producer who launches them into stardom, but in actuality, even after such a discovery, you are still going to have to move to where the action is and be prepared to put in a lot of hard work. As for getting noticed? Work on your craft, be open to opportunities as they arise…and be tenacious when it comes to achieving your goals. Often times its tenacity and not talent that causes one actor to be successful and another to not be. Oh…and write old-fashioned, pen and paper thank you notes to everyone.

Kristina 2016(4)When asked what she liked most about the Big Island Film Festival?

Leo and Jan Sears have created such a special festival over the years with BIFF.  A film I was in called Self Medicated won the Grand Jury prize at the the very first BIFF back in 2006, and I was honored with the Actress No Ka Oi Award in 2011. It’s always been a meaningful event for me and of course it’s great to get to come home!

Kristina and her father who lives here on the Big Island.

Kristina and her father who lives here on the Big Island.

I asked her what the current projects she is working on and when does she expect the film(s) to be released and Anapau replied,

“I’m currently filming a feature here on Maui! I met the director, Brian Kohne, at the 2011 Big Island Film Festival as a matter of fact. It’s a culturally rich mystery/drama set in Hawaii in 1971. A really beautiful film. I have several things lined up after we wrap on Kuleana, none of which I can talk too much about yet, but one of which shoots in Oregon, which I am very exited about. I have a lot of family in Oregon and love spending time up there.”

Kristina 2016(5)

When asked if there were any former teachers here on the Big Island that she would like to say mahalo to in particular for one reason or another she stated,

“I always want to give a mahalo to Celeste Anderson-Staton, my ballet teacher on the Big Isle who inspired me tremendously and taught me so much — wouldn’t have been cast in Black Swan without her training!  Also a mahalo to Desiree Moana Cruz for helping me so much when I was first starting out as a model at age 14!”