In this now annual "State of the State of Hawaii Indie Filmmaking" check-in, we speak to locally based filmmakers who are participating in this year's Festival. Along with the panelists, we encourage the audiences, who many will also be local filmmakers themselves, to have a "talk story" session on the current climate of indie filmmaking in Hawaii. Topics up for discussion include making indie films in a streaming world dominated by Netflix, budgets and resources, local government support, local film schools and curriculum and explore possibilities of a locally sustainable indie film scene, market and industry.
Dean Hamer (director, LADY EVA, KUMU HINA)
North shore-based Dean Hamer is a Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and New York Times book-of-the-year author with a long history of communicating complex ideas to diverse publics. His films with partner Joe Wilson have been supported by Pacific Islanders in Communications, ITVS and Ford, screened and won awards at film festivals including Berlin, Toronto , Los Angeles, Human Rights Watch and Hawaii International, and seen by millions of viewers on PBS, Independent Lens and Netflix. He's currently working on a follow-up to KUMU HINA based in the Kingdom of Tonga.
Ciara Lacy (Director, OUT OF STATE)
Ciara Lacy is a native Hawaiian filmmaker dedicated to making movies that challenge the creative and political status quo. Her work has shown in theaters, on television, and has streamed via news platforms and Netflix. This year, she has directed on two feature documentaries showing at HIFF, OUT OF STATE and 11/8/16. Ciara’s work has been supported by Sundance, Tribeca, Pacific Islanders in Communications, and the MacArthur Foundation, among others.
Brian Kohne (Writer, Director, KULEANA)
An award-winning music producer (BAREFOOT NATIVES, WILLIE K) and writer/director (GET A JOB, KULEANA), Brian returned home to Maui in ’05 from Silicon Valley having excelled as national director of sales and marketing, in corporate video production, sports broadcasting, and as senior user interface architect for an interactive television corporation. He is principal of MALAMA PONO PRODUCTIONS and HAWAI’I CINEMA, a marketing/publicity company.
Stefan Schaefer (Producer, KULEANA, Director, I AM BECAUSE YOU ARE)
Stefan's films have premiered and won awards at festivals such as the Berlin, Hawai’i and SxSW, among many others, and have been successfully released theatrically and on TV channels such as PBS, HBO and the Sundance Channel. Currently he and author Kristiana Kahakauwila have a Hawaii-set TV series in development with Big Beach and AMC.
Donne Dawson (Moderator)
Donne Dawson is Hawai‘i’s State Film Commissioner. For 16 years she has managed the Hawai‘i Film Office and helped build Hawai‘i’s film industry serving as a strong advocate for Hawai‘i’s talented creatives. Born in Honolulu, Dawson is native Hawaiian and has worked as a journalist, producer and communications professional dedicated primarily to the promotion of film, the environment, native Hawaiian issues, and community building.