Kaua‘i performer nabs Silver Telly

When Kaua‘i musician Norman Ka‘awa Solomon was filmed two years ago, an award for his performance was the last thing on anyone’s mind.

David “Kawika” Schmerin, a television producer and cameraman for the Wrightwood Group in Las Vegas, manned the camera while Solomon played.

On Tuesday afternoon, Kaua‘i film commissioner Art Umezu said he was informed by Schmerin that the video produced for Solomon’s “My Favorite Things” from his “Na Mele O Kaua‘i” CD, won the Silver Telly Award for Music Video of the Year for 2007.

“I could not be more proud of this achievement, and each of you are as much a part of this as I,” Schmerin states in an e-mail to Umezu announcing the selection.

Schmerin expressed his appreciation to Umezu for having the foresight that Solomon and he should meet.

“To you, Ka‘awa, mahalo for the beautiful song and the music that touched my soul,” Schmerin continued. “Each of us will be receiving a beautiful trophy to commemorate our accomplishment. The statues are about a foot tall and weigh a good five pounds. I hope you will display this trophy with as much pride as I will.”

Schmerin said he was excited to receive the award because that video was the first project he produced in more than five years.

“I did so because I felt it in my heart even though Ka‘awa then was a complete stranger,” the Las Vegas-based producer said. “Truth be told, I am not such a nice guy. I really do not know why I put so much effort and work into making the video as I did. I never expected for anything to come from my labor except the ‘thank you’ from some guy I met in Hawai‘i.”

“Instead, that video got picked up by Apple, and for three days, Ka‘awa was bigger than John Lennon,” Schmerin said.

He added that following his work on the Solomon piece, Sony picked it up for the 2006 National Association of Broadcasters convention. That piece of good fortune was followed by the recent announcement of the Telly Award.

Schmerin explained the Telly Awards, while not as famous, are the same as the Oscars for feature films, the Grammys for popular music, or the Emmys for network TV.

“For me, in my little world, this is as big as one can get,” he said. “I have, in my past, won three Bronze Telly awards for second place, but this is my first-ever First Place Silver Telly.”

Earlier this year, Schmerin and his wife Jennifer were on Kaua‘i for a two-week filming tour, working on filming “b-roll” footage for the 2007 NAB convention which concluded last week in Las Vegas.

While here, he introduced the Sony “prosumer” high definition camera he was using to video class students at the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School.

“He liked doing that,” Umezu said. “He spent more than an hour with the students, explaining the camera, answering their questions, and just helping them stay focused on their interest in video.”

Umezu said that following the couple’s visit with CKMS teacher Kevin Matsunaga, he surprised them all when he sent them Las Vegas CSI T-shirts and some computer mice that featured working right-hand click buttons.

Footage, including portions of the 2007 Miss Kaua‘i/Miss Garden Isle scholarship pageant featuring the Excel dancers, were a part of this year’s Sony booth at the NAB convention, Umezu said.

“God has smiled on this video, and I know not why,” Schmerin said. “Most important, Ka‘awa and his family are now like my family.”

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@kauaipubco.com.

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