KAPAA — Between the hours of 8 and 10 at the Hilton Garden Inn Sunday night, a film crew waited patiently as a man dug through the trash bins in search of his lost wedding ring.
The production crew caught every expectant moment on camera as the man, who was apparently the subject of a Discovery Channel program (as one producer explained) eventually found the lost ring after digging through every garbage sack behind the Hilton.
The crew cheered the main character as they quickly broke down the makeshift set and asked for the pictures captured of the event by The Garden Island.
“You’re on private property,” a twentysomething who claimed to be the “head of media” for the production company opined, demanding that she have the copies of the photos taken of the production crew.
General Manager for the Hilton, Robert Minicola, reiterated that all the public is welcomed at the resort and that there are currently two production companies staying at the resort. Due to corporate policy, Minicola was not able to reveal the identity of the production crew doing the filming Sunday night at the resort.
“You don’t have to be a hotel guest to come and enjoy the restaurant,” Minicola said. “We have two different film crews in house doing different things. I have not a clue what they are shooting, but we have given them access to certain spots. They’re supposed to be courteous and number one they shouldn’t be filming anyone that’s a hotel guest without their approval.”
Minicola said that he has seen a spike in film crews staying at the resort of late, but is bound by a confidentiality agreements not to reveal their identity.
“We had Universal Studios here for awhile,” he said. “We had Disney before that. Right now it seems like Kauai is a hotspot for potential film, as far a television series or even movies go. It’s not only me. I think quite a few hotels have had crew members here for quite some time over the last year and a half.”
While filming on private property, a permit is not required of a production crew, if you have the permission of the owners. The production crew at the Hilton Sunday night refused to produce a permit upon request from The Garden Island Sunday evening and did not need one while filming on the property of the Hilton.
“We have several film crews on island right now doing different things, but I don’t have anything for somebody at the Hilton,” Kauai Film Commissioner Sandy Kaauwai said. “What happens is, when they apply for a permit, they apply under the name of the production company. Not like from Netflix or Amazon. Whoever they hire to produce it, that is how they apply for the permit.”
Kaauwai said if a crew is filming on county property, “you do need to have a permit depending on what area you are in.”
The county does not charge for a filming permit, but it is something that is required of a production company if filming on anything other than private property.