Honolulu Advertiser

Lineup for Lahaina's film festival worth the wait
Posted on: Friday, August 11, 2006

By Moon Yun Choi

For the past five years, filmmaker Kenneth K. Martinez Burgmaier and his collaborators have put on the MauiFEST Hawaii-Hana and the Molokai Film Festival. With the success of both, and based on requests from Maui's west-side residents, they've decided to bring film, music and cultural performances to Lahaina.

Burgmaier and Uncle Boy Kanae, one of the directors and cultural producers, are principal organizers behind the first MauiFEST Hawaii Lahaina Film Festival, which takes place tomorrow. They plan to make the free festival an annual event.

"Filmmaking is our passion, and (we) create venues to show works of Hawaiian culture," said Burgmaier.

In addition to the nine award-winning Polynesian films that will be screened, musical performances by local musicians, hula, taiko drumming and Fijian dance are on the schedule.

Burgmaier has been quietly collecting awards and accolades without much hoopla. He has produced several Hawaiian documentaries, on subjects including Keola Beamer, Frank DeLima and "Wa'a Ho'olaule'a" ("Festival of Canoes").

The documentary on Beamer, "Ki Ho'alu — Keola Beamer — Loosen the Key" ran nationally on PBS.

"Quattro Noza" (2003), which explores the subculture of street racing, won an award for best cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival. "Quattro Noza" has been shown on national television and been picked up by Lions Gate Entertainment for distribution.

The filmmaker will be showing his films on Beamer and the Festival of Canoes at the Lahaina festival.

The following films have been selected for screening at the festival:

  • "The Land Has Eyes," written and directed by Vilsoni Hereniko. The award-winning film tells the story of a Fijian girl who tries to right a wrong afflicted on her father.
  • "Rolling Down Like Pele," directed by Laura Seaward Margulies, combines animation and live action to focus on hula and chant.
  • "Ipo Le Manu," directed by Daniel Boulos, tells the animated story of Queen Kapi'olani reuniting a prince and princess.
  • "Fish Bowl," directed by Kayo Hatta, is the last film made by the deceased filmmaker. Based on a Lois-Ann Yamanaka story, it's about an adolescent friendship.
  • "Dreams of a Pagan Tattooed Savage," directed by Robert Pennybacker, asks: What do people see when they look at a Hawaiian face? This film attempts to foster a deeper understanding of a Pacific-island cultural identity by attacking stereotypes forced upon Native Hawaiians.
  • "The Red Hibiscus," also directed by Pennybacker, is about the search for a jazz diva and Hawaiian culture in the heart of Honolulu's Chinatown.
  • "Ki Ho'alu — Keola Beamer — Paniolo Version" won best documentary award at the New York International Independent Film Festival, the Temecula International Film Festival and the Houston International World Film Festival. Directed by Burgmaier, the film takes a look at the paniolo through Beamer's eyes and music.
  • "Passing the Gift: Malama Honokowai," directed by Kat Tracy, shines a light on efforts to restore Hawaiian culture in Honokowai Valley on Maui's west side.
  • "Wa'a Ho'olaule'a" puts a spotlight on master canoe carvers and surfboard shapers from New Zealand, Tahiti, Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, the Big Island and Maui. It also features Hawai'i musicians such as Brother Noland, Richard Ho'opi'i and Palani Vaughn. It was filmed in Lahaina at the International Festival of Canoes.