LIHU‘E — The movies are returning to Kaua‘i after the island’s film industry was cut in half this past fiscal year.
County Film Commissioner Sandy Kaauwai said out-of-state filmmakers renewed their interest in July, when a change in travel restrictions permitted vaccinated individuals to bypass quarantine.
“Kaua‘i had the strictest rules at the start of the pandemic. While productions were clearly interested, they were also hesitant to commit to Kaua‘i without a guarantee of some sort,” she told The Garden Island, noting filmmakers’ interest remains steady as COVID-19 case numbers rise.
A total of 23 productions, including commercials, parts of feature films, documentaries, TV shows and digital and still advertising, took place in fiscal year 2021.
“We saw about 50% of the production spend of the previous year … Total spend was approximately $750,000 with about 72 local crew hires,” Kaauwai said.
Recent on-island film activity included the upcoming Netflix film “Red Notice,” starring Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Godot; reality television series “Deadliest Catch: Bloodline,” filmed off of Port Allen; and 10 weeks of post-production for the HBO series “White Lotus.”
Other projects included commercial shoots for brands Teva, Roxy and Toyota, an Amazon Films documentary, an Apple TV talk show and an untitled independent horror movie filmed on private property in Kilauea.
Scouting for several reality shows is ongoing, and upcoming documentaries on different subjects are pending permits.
Kaua‘i’s Hollywood connection goes back to 1934, with the filming of “White Heat.” Most recently, Disney’s “Jungle Cruise,” portions of which were shot on-island, premiered earlier this summer.
Scott Yunker, general assignment reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.