Categorized | Entertainment, Featured

Waimea Ocean Film Festival 2015 (Jan. 1-9)


The not-to-be-missed 2015 Waimea Ocean Film Festival (Ocean Film) offers a breathtaking lineup of films, special guests, intimate coffee talks, Q&As, exhibits, receptions and morning activities, running non-stop Jan. 1-9.

The annual event opens Jan. 1, with films playing simultaneously Jan. 1-4 at multiple venues in Waimea (Kahilu Theatre, HPA Gates, Parker Theatre) and showings at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii Jan. 1-4. On Jan. 5, the festival moves to Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.

Ocean Film brings over 60 extraordinary films to the big screen this year, most of which are world, U.S., Hawaii or Big Island premieres, with many filmmakers in attendance to answer questions following the showing of each film. The format of this dynamic festival immerses participants in a greater understanding and awareness of the ocean and island culture through exceptional films, talks, exhibits and activities.

Films fall into the basic categories of ocean experience (such as surfing and paddling); ocean environment—including things we do on land that impact the sea; and island culture. Inspirational films and films that shed light on who we are, or give pause for thought, form part of the mix.

In honor of Hokulea’s current Worldwide Voyage (WWV), Malama Honua, the festival showcases a number of films and discussions around the voyage. Both Hokulea and Makalii captains and crew are working together to navigate Hokulea on the WWV, including Pwo and Hawaii Island captains Chadd Paishon, Shorty Bertelmann and Chad Baybayan, who will participate throughout the festival.

Dr. Sam Low, Ph.D. and cousin to Nainoa Thompson, brings his award-winning film The Navigators: The Pathfinders of the Pacific along with his recent book, Hawaiki Rising.

In honor of Hokulea’s arrival in New Zealand, and the ceremony honoring her as sixth waka, the festival offers Te Hono ki Aotearoa, a film about Maori waka culture.

Producer Phil Arnone returns with the KGMB production, Hokulea: Passing the Torch, which describes the voyage bringing the Alingano Maisu to Mau Pialug, the teacher who brought the knowledge of celestial navigation back to Hawaii, and the “Pwo” ceremony, which confirmed five Hawaiian captains as master navigators.

The Voyager Exhibit, which will be displayed at Kahilu Theatre for the festival, marks the 20th anniversary of Makalii, the Big Island’s voyaging canoe, sharing her history. The exhibit also includes the 8×13-foot map of the world developed as part of the festival last year, showing the WWV route, along with past voyages of Makalii and Hokulea.

The exhibit opens with a blessing and ceremony at Kahilu Theatre on Jan. 4 p.m.

Imiloa Astronomy Center also joins the festival, with a presentation on Wayfinding, using an interactive star compass guide and a full-dome star show.

Part of a heart pounding surf line-up, Behind the Lines features jaw dropping footage of British surfer Andrew Cotton at Nazarre; Thundercloud follows big wave surfers, and controversial surf history, at Cloudbreak, Fiji; Stephanie in the Water tells the story of female surf champion Stephanie Gilmore and Fading West features Switchfoot band members and surfers as they head on tour. Tierra de Patagones is a beautifully filmed story of two Argentinian brothers from Gauchos Del Mar, surfing the Patagonian frontier.

Bud Browne Film Archives Going Surfin’ and Cavalcade of Surf, with its pounding finale of epic big waves and big board North Shore wipe outs, reminds us of why Bud Browne has long been considered the godfather of the surf film genre. Anna Trent Moore, curator of the collection, brings a special exhibit of Browne’s photographs, not displayed since his passing, for a nostalgic exhibit of the 1960s surf scene at The Fairmont Orchid Jan. 1-4.

Delving into island culture, Hula: Merrie Monarch’s Golden Anniversary shares a behind the scenes look at the Merrie Monarch’s 50th Anniversary year, with filmmaker Roland Yamamoto.

Lihau’s Journey is a coming-of-age hula drama and narrative film, featuring the 150-year hula legacy of Halau O Poohala, the Solomon-Beamer halau, plus the halau’s lead dancer, Leiomalama Tamasese Solomon.

Halau members and Malama Solomon will be present, along with filmmaker and HPA faculty Ari Bernstein.

Volcanoscapes: Dancing with the Goddess shares stunning cinematography and interviews, highlighting the magical beauty, geology and power of Kilauea.

In her premiere of Wild Child, local filmmaker Alison Teal reveals the advice and knowledge she received from Hawaiians and other South Kona locals that enabled her to survive on an island for three weeks, after being invited to participate in Discovery Channel’s Naked and Afraid.

Oahu’s Stefanie Brendl brings Extinction Soup and joins local filmmaker Bryce Groark in a discussion about sharks, their importance and Hawaii’s leadership role in shark protection. Groark also speaks after the showing of Mission Blue, a film about Dr. Sylvia Earle’s life and mission, in which he appears and provides cinematography.

Still beautiful after 30 years, Dr. Earle’s 1978 film Humpback’s: The Gentle Giants, shares stunning footage and interesting information about the whales on our shores.

Presentations about Kaupulehu Dryland Forest and shoreline, as well as traditional opihi fishing practices in Milolii, share more about Hawaiian cultural practices and traditional resource management.

Find adventure via the filmed journeys of two young Australians, Cas and Jonesy, who take on the challenge of crossing the Tasman Sea and then Antarctica, in Crossing the Ditch and Crossing the Ice; while Irish filmmaker Sarah McMann brings the story of a multi-national team of six who set the record rowing across the Atlantic in One Ocean, No Limits.

Irish filmmaker John Murray delivers a series of beautifully filmed, award-winning productions about another island place and culture, including On a River in Ireland, Origins of the Irish, Skellig Michael and The Eagles Return.

Heart-warming films include Mending the Line about Frank Moore, who, after landing on the beaches of Normandy in 1944,and making it through the occupied French countryside, dreamed about returning to fish in the bucolic streams he saw; and Keep On Keepin On, which tells the story of jazz legend Clark Terry.

Mentor to Miles Davis and Quincy Jones, and among the few performers to play in both Count Basie’s and Duke Ellington’s bands, Terry was the first African-American staff musician at NBC, on “The Tonight Show,” continuing his work today as he mentors the gifted Justin Kauflin, a blind, 23-year-old piano prodigy.

The film Marshland Dreams chronicles the effort of Azzam Alwash, who spent 10 years working on the restoration of the Mesopotamia Marshes after Saddam Hussein drained them. His work returned the way of life to the Marsh Arabs, resulting in Iraq’s first national park. Dr. Alwash shares a presentation on the project and his thoughts on how water can help bring peace to the region.

Here Was Cuba relays how the world’s most powerful men brought the world to the brink of destruction and what courage, luck, clear thinking, resolve and restraint it took—at every level of command—to bring the world back.

And, the 2014 People’s Choice winner Botso returns to the festival as well, giving audiences one more chance to view this moving and beautiful film.

Sanctuary and Learning to Float both involve young men working as mentors with inner city kids and teenagers, offering them a new lease on life through surfing and by establishing a sanctuary to help injured raptors. Fresh brings new ways of looking at our food system, reporting medium-sized organic farms produce substantially more per acre then other modes of farming, and Queen of the Bees looks into the issue of our vanishing bee populations.

Art abounds at the 2015 festival. Sea Stills shares the work and inspiration of surf film photographer Ray Collins. Bonnie Cherni offers classes in ocean-inspired origami making every day at The Fairmont Jan 1-4.

Piko Hale Artisan and Fine Art Gallery in Honokaa hosts the festival exhibit, Trio of Artists, showcasing the work of artists Kathy Long, Gary Young and Tim Freeman on display through Jan. 10. Barela Art Gallery at The Shops at Mauna Lani hosts a Meet the Artist reception displaying artists Christian Enns and Chris Barela 5-7 p.m. Jan. 3. Mollie Hustace, HPA faculty member and director of Isaacs Art Center, offers tours and discussion of art works 10 a.m. Jan. 2 – 3.

Sophie Twigg-Smith Teururai, granddaughter of noted artist William Twigg-Smith, debuts an exhibit of art at The Fairmont Orchid from Jan. 1-4 and at Four Seasons Jan. 5-9. Attendees can observe festival artist Christian Enns as he paints at Four Seasons 8 a.m.–noon Jan. 5-9.

Dr. M. Sanjayan, an Emmy nominated news contributor, and executive vice president for Conservation International, returns to the festival to premiere Earth: A New Wild, a five-part series produced by PBS and National Geographic Studios, scheduled to air in February.

Dr. Christian Parenti joins the festival from NYU as a presenter in the film Extreme Realities, which investigates the link between extreme weather, climate change and threats to our national security.

The Taste of the Island Jan. 4 at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel again serves culinary delights by many of the island’s top chefs and has grown into a festival highlight, providing a special evening of aloha and welcome to filmmakers and special guests.

Selections and film synopsis from the 2014 film lineup include:

• Behind the Lines (UK/Mikey Corker*)

• ESPN Big Wave Hellmen-Episode 2 (USA/Paul Taublieb)

• Black Sapphire Sea (USA/Andy Miller and Robin Moore)

• Botso (USA/Tom Walters)

• Catch It (USA/Sarah Menzies)

• Cavalcade of Surf (USA/Bud Browne) Anna Trent Moore and Bob Sheppard*

• Chattahoochee Unplugged (USA/Rhett Turner and Jonathan Wickham)

• Crossing the Ditch (Australia/Justin Jones)

• Crossing the Ice (Australia/Justin Jones)

• Dakota (USA/Smooth Feather Productions)

• Dolphin Rescue I & II (USA/Martina Wing and E. Ryan Leinbach*)

• The Eagles Return Episodes 1, 2, 3 and 4 (Ireland/John Murray*)

• Earth: A New Wild (USA/Sanjayan*)

• Endless Ocean (USA/Sachi Cunningham*)

• Extinction Soup (USA/Philip Waller) Stefanie Brendl*

• Extreme Realities (USA/Marilyn and Hal Weiner) Christian Parenti*

• Fading West (USA/Matt Katsolis)

• Fed Up (USA/Stephanie Soechtig)

• Fresh (USA/Ana Sofia Joanes)

• Going Surfin’ (USA/Bud Browne) Anna Trent Moore*

• Hawaiian the Legend of Eddie Aikau (USA/Sam George)

• Here Was Cuba (Ireland/John Murray*)

• Hokulea Passing the Torch (USA/Phil Arnone*)

• Holo Holo Paniolo (USA/Susan Jensen, Paul Singer, John Richards*)

• Hula: The Merrie Monarch’s Golden Celebration (USA/Roland Yamamoto*)

• Humpbacks: The Gentle Giants (USA)

• Keep On Keepin’ On (USA/Alan Hicks)

• The Last Ocean (New Zealand/Peter Young)

• Learning to Float (USA/Brendan Calder)

• Lihau’s Journey (USA/Ari Bernstein*)

• Luther Kahekili Makekau: A One Kine Hawaiian Man (USA/Myrna and Eddie Kamae*)

• Malama Honua: Ohana Hokulea (USA/Naalehu Anthony*)

• Marshland Dreams (USA/John Antonelli*)

• Mending the Line (USA/Steve Engman) Frank and Alice Moore*

• Mission Blue (USA/Fisher Steven and Robert Nixon) Bryce Groark*

• The Navigators: Pathfinders of the Pacific (USA/Boyd Estus) Sam Low*

• Net Positiva (USA/Peter Cambor and Ian McGee)

• The Old, The Young & The Sea (Austria/Mario Hainzl)

• On a River in Ireland (Ireland/John Murray*)

• One Ocean: No Limits (Ireland/Sarah McCann)

• Origins of the Irish (Ireland/John Murray*)

• Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us? (USA/Taggart Siegel)

• Rail to Rail (Australia/Joel Sharpe)

• Return of the River (USA/John Gussman and Jessica Plumb)

• Revolution (Canada/Rob Stewart)

• Sanctuary (USA/Annie Kaempfer*)

• Sea Stills (Australia/Chris Duczynski)

• Skellig Michael (Ireland/John Murray*)

• Stand (Canada/Anthony Bonello)

• The State of the Planet’s Oceans (USA/Marilyn and Hal Weiner)

• Stephanie in the Water (Australia/Ava Warbrick)

• Te Hono ki Aotearoa (New Zealand/Jan Bieringa*)

• Those Who Came Before (USA/Eddie Kamae*)

• Thundercloud (Australia/Talon Clemow)

• Tierra de Patagones (Argentina/Julien and Joaquin Azulay)

• Volcanoscapes: Dancing with the Goddess (USA/Ann and Mick Kalber, Milton Garces*)

• Watershed (USA/Mark Decena*)

• What the Sea Gives Me (USA/Pierce Kavanagh*)

• Wild Child (USA/Alison Teal and Sarah Lee*)

• Wild Journeys Episodes 1, 2 and 3 (Ireland/John Murray*)

• Words, Earth & Aloha (USA/Myrna and Eddie Kamae*)

*Filmmakers attending Ocean Film and leading a discussion

The Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel is offering discounted room rates to festival pass holders from Jan. 3-10. Starbucks awards a prize to Ocean Film attendees who complete the festival’s 20-Punch card, showing they attended 20 film or presentation blocks.

For the latest updates on films and speakers, follow the festival on Facebook,… visit or email

Festival passes can be purchased via the website or at 808-854-6095.

The Waimea Ocean Film Festival is a 501c3 organization made possible through the support of patrons, sponsors and the community.

Mahalo to the 2015 Ocean Film partners: GoPro, Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, Holualoa Inn, MacArthur Sothebys, Matson, K2 Imaging, Sushi Rock, Palani French Bakers, Big Island Brewhaus, Maria Peterson Catering, Daniel Thiebaut Catering, Angela Zinc Private Chef and Catering, Big Island Traveler, Maile Charters, Blue Wilderness Dive Adventures, Blacksand Sound and Show, Starbucks Coffee, Anna Ranch, HPA, Parker School, HI Luxury, West Hawaii Today, North Hawaii News, Big Island Weekly, The Beach FM and The Wave FM.

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