Local filmmaker Rex Moribe explores Honolulu’s homelessness issue by giving a GoPro to the Martin family—Father Tracy, his wife Tabatha and their 3-year-old daughter, Thalia—they themselves are homeless, living in the growing homeless encampment on the makai side of Kaka’ako. Through interviews and actual GoPro footage by young Thalia on her daily routine (riding her tricycle through tents, playing with the “neighborhood kids”), Moribe filmed the Martin family between August through December 2014. He delves into the psychology of Tracy, the patriarch (he admits to making mistakes, personal and financial, that forced them to live on the streets), follows Tabatha to her daily job as parking attendant at a recreation center, and captures a slice of life in Kaka’ako, a hotspot for the homeless in Honolulu.
At the midpoint of the film, the filmmaker brings it full circle, editing in scenes from the 1980 documentary THE SAND ISLAND STORY, directed by Victoria Keith and Jerry Rochford, where the filmmakers chronicle the attempts of Sand Island residents to forestall eviction by the State.
Homelessness, as well as the cost of living in Hawaii, is perhaps the most important political issue today. DEAR THALIA is a film that attempts to capture the story of one family’s struggle to survive in paradise, day-by-day. Sometimes, there is a need to put a human face, especially the face of a young 3-year old girl, in front to ignite a call-to-action.
— Anderson Le