Kaua’i-made movie set for February national release

After over two years of post-production work and film festival showings the Kaua’i-made independent film “To End All Wars” is now reportedly slated for national release in February.

The film was shown this week at a showcase theater in Hollywood to qualify for consideration for an Academy Award, and is expected to go into national distribution in February, said the film’s screenplay writer Brian Godawa in a radio broadcast from Southern California.

“To End All Wars” tells the story of British soldiers imprisoned in one of the infamous Japanese Army railroad building camps in Thailand during World War II.

Unlike the Academy Award-winning 1950s film “The Bridge on the River Kwai,” soldiers in the film are trapped until the war ends, rather than escape from their misery in a blaze of glory. The struggles of overcoming appalling prison conditions and brutal treatment through faith is at the heart of the story.

The feature film features an international cast. Over 200 Kaua’i-based cast and crew members worked on the film in May and June of 2000 in valleys mauka of Koloa and other locations on Kaua’i.

The film was previewed at the Waimea Theater in Nov. 2001 as a special feature of the annual Hawaiian Island Film Festival.

The list of stars traveling to Hawai’i for the festival included Robert Carlyle and Ciaran McMenamin of Scotland, Sakae Kimura and Masayuki Yui of Japan, and Keifer Sutherland from California. A resurgence in Sutherland’s career is helping to promote the film; Sutherland is the star of Fox TV’s popular “24” action cable TV series.

The filming of “To End All Wars” was a boost to the Kaua’i economy. Its producers spent $5.5 million during the location filming, and paid for 5000 hotel room nights, plus hired 66 people on a daily average.

“To End All Wars” director David Cunningham was raised in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island. “Beyond Paradise,” his first feature film, was a coming of age story about local students at Konawaena High School in Kona.

Updates on the film and stills from its production can be viewed at the “To End All Wars” Web site, which was created by Kaua’i webmaster Peter Heckmann. The Web address is www.toendallwars.com.

– TGI Editor Chris Cook can be reached at mailto:ccook@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 227).

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