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Maui-made 'Get a Job' leaves crowds in stitches

By Mike Gordon

LAST UPDATED: 2:24 p.m. HST, Aug 5, 2011

Audiences are generating buzz for a small independent movie from Maui called "Get a Job," which is on the film festival circuit.

The screwball comedy starring Willie K and Eric Gilliom — the real-life musical duo Barefoot Natives — was named best comedy at the Detroit Windsor International Film Festival in June and audience choice feature and best Hawaiian feature at the Big Island Film Festival in May.

"Detroit was the first screening outside Hawaii, and the people went nuts," said Brian Kohne, the film's writer and director. "Immediately after the screening, they were saying they couldn't wait to see it again and how could they get the DVD."

The story follows Willie K, who plays an ambitious employment agent trying to find work for Gilliom's character, "the most unemployable man on the planet, who surfs every day in a place where there are no waves," Kohne said.

The film has surprised some audience members, too. Kohne said people have told him they expected "Get a Job" to be bad because it was made in Hawaii — and then they laughed so hard they cried.

The 47-year-old Kohne, who is also the producer for Barefoot Natives, shot the film on a $200,000 budget.

"We did it on a low budget and achieved a high production value," he said. "It was entirely produced in Hawaii. The entire cast, well over 250 people, were all from Hawaii. And the crew, with the exception of five people from New York, were all from Hawaii. And by the time they got on a plane to go back, they were from Hawaii, too."

"Get a Job" premiered in October at the Hawaii International Film Festival, but it was not the final version. It screened a month later on Maui for a sold-out house of 1,100 people.

So far, there are no firm plans for Oahu screenings or a theatrical release, but the filmmaker is hoping for more audience love today when the comedy screens at the Las Vegas Film Festival.

THE CAST of AMC's fantastically gruesome drama "The Walking Dead" is working on season two in and around Atlanta, including Hawaii's Sarah Wayne Callies, who stars as the compassionate Lori Grimes.

"We're back in all our sweaty, filthy, snake-and-insect-infested glory," she said in a recent email. "I've read seven scripts so far and it's hard to put into words how excited I am about the season: The writing is stellar, I'm so proud of the work the cast is doing and our crew is nothing short of superheroes."

Production for the critically acclaimed series will continue through November. Instead of six episodes, which constituted the first season, AMC will air 13 episodes. An exact premiere date has not been announced.

Callies, a Punahou graduate, had regular roles in the Fox series "Prison Break" and the CBS series "Queen's Supreme."

But "The Walking Dead" is different. There isn't a series on television, certainly on basic cable, that is darker or more violent than this tale of a zombie apocalypse.

"The story this year is not for the faint of heart, nor are the shooting conditions, but right now there is nowhere else on Earth I would rather be," Callies said. "Well, Laie or Milolii side."

AND that's a wrap …

Mike Gordon is the Star-Advertiser's film and television writer. Reach him at 529-4803 or email

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