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Digital Mountain ’09: It’s My Park! film contest winners announced

Melina Fagan, Kukui Keli`iho`omalu, Ulu Makuakane

Melina Fagan, Kukui Keli`iho`omalu, Ulu Makuakane


Digital Mountain ’09: It’s My Park! Film Contest Winners Announced

The winners of the fist annual Digital Mountain ‘09: It’s My Park! (DM·IX) film contest were announced and honored at a gala film festival held September 19, 2009 at the Kilauea Visitor Center.

Malina Fagan of Hilo High School was awarded The People’s Choice Grand Prize, Kukui Keli‘iho‘omalu of Pahoa High School won the Grand Prize for 7th through 9th grade, and Ulu Makuakane of Kamehameha School Kapalama Campus received the Grand Prize for 10th through 12th grade.

“I wanted to show just how beautiful the park is to me,” People’s Choice Winner Melina Fagan said. “Every time I come up here, no matter if I’m in a bad mood or whatever happened to me earlier that morning, when I come here, I feel so at peace and I just love it up here. I wanted to show that in my film and hopefully you will get to see it the way I do.”

This summer’s film festival was open to students in grades seven through twelve. The young film makers were provided with transportation to the park, digital video cameras, and instructions in film making and editing. They also had access to a media bus filled with computers and other hi-tech equipment.

“My inspiration was to show people how our family traditions have been passed down from past generations. From my grandpa to my mother, then passed down to me and my cousins, so we can take over, so we can prepare things by ourselves,” said Grand Prize Winner Kukui Keli`iho`omalu. “This was a fun experience.”

“I have been to the park many times, but what I realized while filming was how lucky I am to live on this island,” Maria Miranda of the Ka‘u Kids Film Club said. “My friends who live on the mainland don’t get to come here and explore this beautiful place we have—the volcano and its might.”

Students submitted a film up to three minutes in length with the subject “It’s My Park!” The films were viewed and voted for online and at the film festival.

“I wanted to show how the park is culturally significant and how we can use it to perpetuate Hawaiian culture,” said Grand Prize Winner Ulu Makuakane. “And also how the park preserves the plants for future generations.”

Additional prizes were awarded to:
Karina Wohlschlagel, Home School, Mountain View First Prize 7th Grade
Devan Delaney, Na‘alehu Intermediate School First Prize 8th Grade
Taylor Ignacio, Waiakea High School First Prize 10th Grade
Forrest Gale, Waiakea High School First Prize 11th Grade
Kara Dunn, Pahoa High School First Prize 12th Grade
Katelyn Mitchell, Ka‘u High School Second Prize 12th Grade
Ka‘u Kids Film Club, Na‘alehu Third Prize 12th Grade

Digital Mountain ’09: It’s My Park! was inspired by Ken Burn’s latest production, THE NATIONAL PARK’S: America’s Best Idea, a series about the creation and evolution of the National Park System.

DM·IX sponsors included The National Park Foundation, Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Hawai‘i Natural History Association, Pacific Media & Learning Trust, Friends of the Future, Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, Ka‘u Rural Health Community Association, Lyman Museum, Pacific Tsunami Museum, KapohoKine Adventures, Hawai‘i Forest & Trail, and Hawaiian Walkways.

The student films can be viewed online at

Details on the Digital Mountain ‘10: It’s My Park! (DM·X) film contest will be announced next spring.

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