A global issue

WAILUA — When filmmaker Dean Lyon lived in New Zealand, the drive from his house to the studio was along a rough backroad.

“I kept saying to my investors, ‘I want a Hummer 2,’” he said. “(Then) I went and saw ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ and I went out and bought a Prius.”

His hope is to draw the same type of reaction out of others with the production of a 3D IMAX documentary film about Kauai’s diseased coral reefs.

“I’m really thinking about it being this, you know, life-changing event that you came to see our film,” he said. “And you were given hope and a mission when you leave.”

Working with a new Kauai organization called Prosperity For Humanity, a group of North Shore volunteers led by Lori Miller, Lyon is moving forward with his plan. The Florida resident is on Kauai this week to share his vision for the film with the community and network with those who want to be involved.

PFH will host a public forum from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the main pavilion at Lydgate Beach Park. Lyon, best known for his work as visual effects supervisor of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, will give a brief presentation and answer questions about the documentary.

While still in the development stage, Lyon said he is excited about the opportunity to involve the entire community and has quickly realized that the issues on Kauai are of global concern.

“Perhaps we start on Kauai and we use Kauai as our headquarters, because of the fact that the reefs are deteriorating here much faster it seems than other places,” he said “But then why don’t we look at it as a global picture? Perhaps even go a bit further and turn it into a discussion of the ocean where the coral reefs become the main focal point.”

When making a film, Lyon said a major challenge is moving each audience member.

“Wouldn’t that be nice to be able to tell people that normally wouldn’t care, ‘This is important,’” he said.

And that’s exactly his plan — to leave viewers, near and far, wanting to come together for change.

During Wednesday’s public forum, Lyon will discuss his vision for helping to bring this important message to the world through the eyes of na keiki, and the wisdom of Hawaiian people.

“We are thrilled that Dean will be leading this journey,” Miller said in a release. “Dean is an amazing visionary and as with all epic voyages, we need many good people on this adventure to help it manifest. This is a grassroots effort and intended to provide opportunities for those who wish to participate.”

Kauai consultants Na Hoku Welo will help navigate this mission by providing insight and guidance with their knowledge of Hawaiian culture, history, language, aina-based genealogy, education and multimedia, the release states.

The budget for the film is $7.8 million. Funding will be raised through fundraisers and donations.

More than anything, Lyon said he wants to give back. Many times, big Hollywood movies go into a locale, “blast around” and “make roads,” and leave with “nothing to show for it,” he said. And while he’s been part of that in the past, that is not Lyon’s plan this time around.

“It seems like it would be cool for us to kind of edge our way in, do things right in Hawaii and bring prosperity with us, and really feel like we’ve done something that makes the world a better place,” he said. “And so we’re really making sure that we get that message out. That people understand that we’re not about politics or the controversy, we’re not anti-military and we’re not anti-space. We want to just kind of take it all with a grain of salt and analyze it and give the proper message back out.”


Chris D’Angelo, environment writer, can be reached at 245-0441 or cdangelo@thegardenisland.com.


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