HONOLULU — After coming back from a trip to New Zealand, two local boys inspired by an authentic Maori film created their own Native Hawaiian film in Hawai’i, which is recently a winner of the Oscar-qualifying award at Imagine Native, and this feature film script has been accepted into the inaugural indigenous Black List.
“I was on a road trip in New Zealand in 2019, and I attended the Maoriland Film Festival,” said Alika Maikau film director and writer of the short film “Moloka’i Bound.” “We were inspired by the caliber of the amazing Maori films that we (have) seen.”
According to Maikau, “Moloka‘i Bound” is now a feature film and will stream online within two months from now.
“It’s not available right now in the public, it is still playing in film festivals. Look out for it,” Maikau said. “I hope they take an unexpected journey and come away from it with the deeper insights into some of the complicated dynamics of a father and son relationship.”
When his friend, producer and cinematographer Chapin Hall, had eight days until he left for Los Angeles, Maikau said, he wrote the script of this feature film in seven days last year. The film only took seven hours to make, Maikau said. The editing cost around $2,500, the most cost of all of the production. Maikau said he had three actors and always welcomed their input.
“I would like to thank Chaplin for encouraging me to attempt this film when I was hesitant to do so,” Maikau said. And to everyone that supports Hawaiian cinema. I just say it’s an incredible time for Native Hawaiian cinema. There are a bunch of upcoming filmmakers that are starting to be recognized for their unique voices and perspective. I look forward to seeing the next generation and what they can do; I think we can do a lot.”
Maikau went to film school at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.
Maikau’s public relations spokesperson said that in 2017, Maikau earned a mento
rship under Joe Robert Cole (“Black Panther”), who oversaw the development of what would become his short, “Mauka To Makai,” which premiered at the end of 2018 and was awarded Best Made In Hawai’i Short at the Hawai’i International Film Festival.
According to Maikau’s spokesperson, “Filmmaker Magazine” published an article in 2019 entitled “Made Visible,” where they went on to say about Mauka brings “to the screen a world little seen even in Hawaiian films, it wove a universal tale of economic struggle and longtime friendship into a proudly local, indigenous setting.”
Maikau followed up Mauka with “Moloka’i Bound,” which premiered at ImagineNative 2019 and won the award for “Best Short Work,” granting them Oscar Consideration for the 2021 Academy Awards, In November he will serve on the Hawai’i International Film Festival Short Film Jury.
“That was totally surreal and unexpected,” Maikau said. “There (were) so many indigenous films, it was a total honor.”
Maikau’s public relations spokesperson said Hall is based in Hawai’i and Los Angeles.
Hall has practiced the visual arts, having formally studied sculpture and art history at the prestigious School of the Art Institute of Chicago, following his mother’s footsteps into still photography, assisting legendary documentary cameraman Bob Richman, and finally picking up a motion picture camera himself.
Hall’s recent work includes the feature documentary, “Out of State,” broadcast nationally in the U.S. on PBS’ famed non-fiction program, Independent Lens. The film follows Native Hawaiian inmates of The Saguaro Correctional Center, a private prison for male inmates from the state of Hawai’i but located far across the Pacific Ocean, in Eloy, Arizona.
As Maikau takes it all in, he discussed what’s next for him.
“We actually expanded the short film into a feature film,” Maikau said. “I would love to film in Kaua’i, it is almost the island that I visited the least. I would love to explore and get to know Kaua‘i better.”