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Wednesday, October 01, 2014         

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If you want an executive producer to cast you as the next Catwoman, then it's best to consult a cat. Camren Bicondova watched her own cat, Mr. G, and landed the role of Selina Kyle — aka Catwoman — on "Gotham."

Ten years ago the cast of the mind-blowing ABC drama "Lost" could walk through Waikiki unrecognized, save for Dominic Monaghan because he was in "The Lord of the Rings."

Gordy Hoffman, an award-winning screenwriter, an instructor at the University of California at Los Angles film school and founder of the popular BlueCat Screenplay Competition, says he's passionate about inspiring storytellers and will be on Oahu this week to lead four workshops.

Nothing tests a relationship like travel, but Kauai surfer Bethany Hamilton and new husband Adam Dirks believed in each other so much that they gave their marriage the ultimate test: They entered "The Amazing Race."

When the videojournalists at Waianae Intermediate planned to produce a story about a transgender classmate for "Hiki No," the student news show on PBS Hawaii, Robert Pennybacker held his breath — but only for a moment.

Kailua's Jonah Ray has come a long way from the nights when he played in punk bands and read funny poems between sets. Back then, in 2001, Ray enjoyed wailing on the drums, but what he wanted most was to make people laugh.

For 15 years, producer Dana Hankins tried to turn the beloved young-adult novel "Under the Blood Red Sun" into a film, failing twice before she found financial backing last year. Now its premiere scheduled for next month.

When the state film office asked lawmakers in 2012 for money to repair the Hawaii Film Studio at Diamond Head, the request came with a stark admonishment: In its condition at the time, the facility was "an embarrassment to Hawaii's film industry and a liability to the state."

Anyone who watches "Hawaii Five-0" knows the show's high-octane stunts are as common as bad guys. There were so many last season that stunt coordinator Jeff Cadiente figures he could make a 45-minute highlight reel.

When Jason Momoa dreamed of making his first feature film, he wanted to include his friends, tell a poignant story and set it on the road.

If Adam Braff finds success as a Hollywood screenwriter, it's going to be on his own terms. That's the promise he made to himself six years ago this summer when he and his wife decided to move from Los Angeles to Hawaii. And no, success hasn't quite happened yet.

Five film and TV projects conceived in Hawaii each received $50,000 in seed money this month, including some from the state, as part of a new program to accelerate the development of creative ideas.

Chris Kahunahana's alarm goes off when most people are fast asleep — 3 a.m. — but the Kaimuki filmmaker says that's his most creative time of the day. "It seems to be the only time that my mind is free to wander and create things," he said.

Surfing is often celebrated as a bastion for free spirits and self-expression. But ask former pro surfer Cori Schumacher about that and the story she tells will break your heart.

When Barry Rivers gets excited about the films in his Maui Film Festival, he can sound like a man who drank too much Red Bull. But this year, as he prepares for the 15th annual edition, his descriptions are machine-gun fast.

Pre-production on the big fantasy film "Ethyrea: Code of the Brethren," which was to begin in early June on Maui, Molokai and Kauai, is three months behind schedule, but the author who created the story insists her film will be made.

A pair of Hawaii expats — filmmaker and commercial director Brett Wagner and aspiring producer Dagny Looper — have landed a screenplay on New York University's Purple List.

Filming isn't finished on the adaptation of "Under the Blood Red Sun," but the producers aren't waiting to show off their version of the popular young-adult novel set in World War II Hawaii.

Given America's insatiable appetite for everything related to food, from reality cooking shows to the social media obsession of making each meal a photo op, the idea of creating a new food program on TV is daunting, to say the least.

The actors are on vacation, production crew members have joined other local film and TV projects, and the Diamond Head soundstage is buttoned up. But even though "Hawaii Five-0" is on hiatus until July, location manager Timmy Chinn is already scouting for next season.

Tyler Rezentes, a 20-year-old aspiring director with no real filmmaking experience, thought it would be good practice to make a Web series based on the hit TV show "The Walking Dead."

No one is more eager to watch this week's episode of "Hawaii Five-0" than the band members of The Green, whose catchy tunes made them rising stars on the reggae charts.

When films have focused on issues facing transgender individuals, they often told stories filled with discrimination, violence and disrespect. Filmmakers Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson were familiar with that, having explored the LGBT community in rural America in their film "Out in the Silence."

When Henry Ian Cusick describes his new character on the CW series "The 100," it's easy to understand the attraction. As Kane, he has a say on the survival of the human race. Who could resist a role like that?

Most days the cast and crew are just as busy as their counterparts on any other show, but "Five-0" honcho Peter Lenkov decided to reach out anyway. The executive producer invited a small group of devoted fans to meet him March 1 for breakfast (mostly pancakes) at Wailana Coffee Shop in Waikiki.

The most popular underground film contest in Hawaii "Showdown in Chinatown" is poised to start its season of challenges Saturday with a huge new venue that should allow organizers to pack the house without having to seat people with a shoehorn.

The last time we saw Jason Momoa, the Hawaii-born actor was a sword-swinging anti-hero in the 2011 feature film "Conan the Barbarian." It was an encore of sorts from a genre that also turned him into Khal Drogo, the brutal horse-riding warlord of HBO's "Game of Thrones."

Students at the University of Hawaii are having face-to-face discussions this month with one of the great storytellers in film: John Sayles. Among independent filmmakers and art house aficionados, he's royalty, the American godfather of the genre.

Hilo may seem like a sleepy town to a lot of people, but if Chris McKinney and Walter Dods III get their way, it will be the backdrop of a cable TV drama that paints a dark portrait of Hawaii.

Spending by film and television productions in Hawaii dropped 7 percent last year, but industry insiders here feel 2013 was a strong year and that recent increases in the state's tax credits will bear fruit over the next 12 months.

Writer Ed Rampell likes to share the story about a conversation he had with two-time Oscar-winner Alexander Payne, the director/screenwriter whose 2011 movie "The Descendants" showcased Hawaii in its most accurate light to date.

Jordan and Aaron Kandell are identical twins, so it's no surprise that they've been thinking many of the same thoughts since they were born. They chose the same sports at 'Iolani School, the same school clubs, too.

If the story of the Navy SEALs in the new film "Lone Survivor" sounds familiar to you, it's because five of the elite warriors who died in the mission and failed rescue were based at Pearl Harbor, and a sixth — the lone survivor, Marcus Luttrell — was also stationed here.

Turning someone else's work of fiction into a movie script is one of the least glamorous and most demanding jobs in filmmaking. Think late nights, too much coffee and writer's block.

Los Angeles librarian Christina Rice has been a film buff for years, with a special affinity for films from the 1930s and '40s. But that didn't prepare her for Ann Dvorak, a forgotten star who was living on government assistance in a run-down Waikiki neighborhood when she died in 1979.

He wound up with only a single day in front of the cameras, but it was enough to put Hawaii actor Joji Yoshida in the middle -- literally -- of one of this fall's most talked-about films -- and in a scene opposite the star of the movie.

There's a moment near the end of a new documentary on the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Ino­uye, "Journey to Washington," that speaks volumes to Tomo Mizu­tani, president of Nitto Tire U.S.A., which sponsored the film.

That perky actress on the new Web series "Emma Approved" is Hawaii's Joanna Sotomura, and her role has given her a front-row seat to a new form of entertainment.

Finding the right actors is a priority for any filmmaker, but there was a lot riding on the casting of the two lead roles in "Under the Blood Red Sun," the indie film based on the popular young-adult novel set in World War II Hawaii.

Even with a happy ending, the story that documentary filmmaker Christen Marquez tells is profoundly sad.

The owner of Maui Film Studios thought he would benefit from a pair of film projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars: "Tar­zan," a $175 million Warner Bros. remake starring Alexander Skarsgard, and a five-film deal based on the young-adult book series "The Order of Ethyrea."

The Nielsen ratings for the season premiere of "Hawaii Five-0," which aired on a new day and time, were good. In fact, executive producer Peter Lenkov told his cast and crew they were "excellent."

Nothing attracts a crowd at a party like a shiny golden statue in your hand. Just ask animator Paul Wee, the Hawaii native who just won an Emmy for his work on the Fox series "The Simpsons."

Starting with a benefit screening tonight at the Hawaii Theatre and continuing through October and into early November on ESPN, the new documentary "Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau" will share the late surfer's story with millions of people who have probably never heard of him or even been to the beach.

Destin Daniel Cretton insists that success has not changed him. His new film "Short Term 12" is playing in theaters across the country, including a held-over run here, but he's the same unassuming guy from Maui who went to Los Angeles to make movies.

The scene was right out of a television sitcom. A huddled group of football players waiting for the coin toss. An Aloha Stadium crowd eager for the kickoff. And a woman in a muumuu and heels running onto the field, ...

The state's next generation of film and television storytellers is going to receive hands-on mentorship that money can't buy, thanks to a new program with the Hawaii International Film Festival's Creative Lab.

When it comes to drama, few things can top an angry African elephant running through a city before a barrage of gunfire finally ends the rampage.

Filmmaker Gerard Elmore likes to be surprised, at least when it comes to movies. But even he was taken aback with the realization of just how many selections in this year's ‘Ohina Short Film Showcase have a Hawaiian theme, a Hawaiian director or a Hawaiian script.

Ryan Greer doesn't view himself as a movie star, so you can't blame him for being a bit surprised by the reaction he got the other day at Dave's Ice Cream in Wai­ma­nalo.

Every Wednesday evening when "Hawaiian Eye" aired on ABC, the Big Island town of Hono­kaa would shut down and tune in to watch one of its own on national television.

In the media of sound and images, it isn't enough to simply collect old films for preservation. If you don't have a projector, you might as well have nothing at all.

From sundown to sunrise, the movie extras raced up and down Lewers Street, trying their best to look as if their lives depended on how fast they could go.

Landing inside Aloha Stadium isn't included in Makani Kai Helicopters tours, so don't go reaching for your cellphone to book a flight if you to see one of the company's Eurocopter Astars disappearing behind the north end zone this week.

There was a moment on the Discovery Channel's new reality show, "Naked and Afraid," when Alison Teal and the survivalist ex-Marine she was paired with saw the camera crew in a whole new light.

Nanette Napoleon has seen people express the same reaction so often that she has a name for it: "The "Wow! What? Factor." But the best reaction was the first one, 13 years ago, when Napoleon experienced it herself while going through microfilmed newspapers.

The searching never stops, and the realization of that can prompt Timmy Chinn to smile and shake his head. He could be driving through Hono­lulu, sitting at a restaurant or even staring at a storefront and every single time ask the very same question: How would this look on television?

In his brief time as a gonzo fisherman, "Showtime" Eric Young has caught a lemon shark from a paddleboard, free-dived beneath the ice-capped waters of the St. Lawrence River for small-mouth bass and used his hand for bait while wrestling a catfish in a Tennessee lake.

If there was an award for viewing the most films in a year, Barry Rivers would certainly be a contender. The founder of the Maui Film Festival figures he watched parts or all of nearly 1,000 movies as he whittled his festival selection to 51 features and shorts.

Henry Ian Cusick is going where he's never gone before, but it won't make sense unless you consider where the actor has been. Context, "bruthah," context.

When Vincent Kartheiser sheds the Brooks Brothers suit that belongs to Pete Campbell, his uptight character on the AMC series "Mad Men," he turns into a pretty simple guy.

As he swam through the murky depths off the southeastern coast of the island of Hawaii, his underwater camera trained on molten lava entering the sea, Craig Musburger weighed his desire to shoot the best footage against the possibility of being boiled alive.

In the Australian winter of 2011, veteran surfers Tom Carroll and Ross Clarke-Jones embarked on a four-month quest to ride the largest waves their country had to offer.

When Anthony Ruivivar started working on TNT's gritty cop show "Southland," he didn't know how to answer his wife — actress Yvonne Jung — after she asked him how it was going.

The home of the world's most famous bounty hunter is an ocean-view retreat with high walls, security cameras and the trappings of an active family: photos of children, posters of his popular reality show, mementos of a well-lived life, bicycles by the garage, three dogs, a squawking rooster and a parrot.

The creative team behind the new fundraising video for the YMCA of Hono­lulu wanted something different this year and opted for an old-school approach.

When she accepted the Oscar for best supporting actress for her role in "Pollock," Marcia Gay Harden was genuinely thrilled and just a bit surprised.

Every filmmaker knows the anxiety that Destin Cretton experienced while he watched, from a dark recess of a sold-out, 400-seat theater in Austin, Texas, an audience view his movie for the first time.

If there's something Aisha Tyler does not do, then please, point it out. Her resume on IMDB.com, an online database of films and television, lists a string of credits under actress, writer, producer, director, editor, composer and more.

Just like the farmer in "Field of Dreams," who replaced his Iowa corn field with a baseball diamond, Socrates Buenger has a tight grip on faith.

Two days after the death of her brother-in-law, jazz musician Thomas Chapin, Hawaii documentary filmmaker Stephanie Castillo found herself listening to a public radio tribute. In that moment she realized she had to make a film about Chapin, a man The called "one of the more exuberant saxophonists and bandleaders in jazz."

Ever since she could hold a crayon or a pencil, Brenda Chapman was drawing something. Drawing would become a career for Chapman, a story artist and director on animated features that include "The Little Mermaid" and "The Lion King."

Of all the gin joints in town, the "Hawaii Five-0" crew finds Nick's place, and if Nick reminds you of a club manager named Rick, well, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you.

It's pilot season in Los Angeles, the time of year when new TV shows are being considered, and Brittany Ross is gearing up for the audition marathon.

For much of his long career, surf filmmaker Jack McCoy enjoyed what he calls the backstage perspective: underwater, just behind a translucent, coiling swell.

Funding repairs to the state's only film studio, an aging facility that has been described as "an embarrassment," headlines the Hawaii Film Office budget proposal, with a $5.46 million request now before the Legislature.

So many people were surprised by the good fortune that suddenly dropped onto actor-turned-producer Brian Yang and his film crew last February that even he started pinching himself.

Living as we do in an age where communication technology connects people oceans apart — and from their cellphones — it's hard to imagine the novelty of a concert that reached a global television audience.

With the online debut last month of "Hang Loose," the new feature from Kinetic Films, Hawaii filmmaker James Sereno has taken his movie marketing experiment to the masses.

Robert Pennybacker has the curiosity of a dreamer. Whenever the filmmaker is driving through the streets of Hono­lulu, his imagination takes over. He sees things — people, places, snapshots of city life — and makes up stories to go with them.

Whenever someone dies on AMC's wildly popular zombie series "The Walking Dead," it's usually with a spray of blood and gore. It happens so often, it's almost expected. But the show's creators found a way to peg the needle on the shock meter this season.

The idea that Hawaii could become a location for adult films alarmed those who cherish the state's family-friendly atmosphere, but the man who started the conversation insists he isn't going to give the islands an "XXX" rating any time soon.

For the last few weeks, as “Hawaii Five-0” introduced its third season, it looked like a ratings train wreck.

When it comes to evaluating the success of their show, the creators of ABC's "Last Resort" don't shy away from the lukewarm Nielsen numbers it has received. But they're also not shy when it comes to praising the drama they've created.

The high from his summer viral video, "Batman Maybe," a parody of Carly Rae Jepsen's megahit "Call Me Maybe," was starting to wear off when Maui-born actor Wesley Freitas had another snap-genius moment.

The staff of the Hawaii International Film Festival is quite accustomed to gauging the mood of international celebrities, so hosting Japan's biggest movie star should have been free of surprise. But Koji Yaku­sho has been so accommodating that he's become the feel-good moment of the festival.

The last film Canadian director Quentin Lee screened at the Hawaii International Film Festival, his 2009 farce "The People I've Slept With," played to an enthusiastic, adult audience. After all, it was a film about a woman who can't get enough sex.

For many indie directors, the life cycle of their short films is often short indeed: a series of screenings at film festivals — hopefully — and when that's over, continued exposure through DVD sales and rentals. Hopefully.

The motivation behind Duane "Dog" Chapman's new reality show on CMT is deadly serious. In February, when the Hawaii bounty hunter was at a convention of his peers, two bright-faced young brothers from Bakersfield, Calif., introduced themselves as newcomers to the profession.

Dan Boulos wants to change the animation scene in Hawaii with a 15-minute cartoon and a talking monkey. He says why not? Everyone loves monkeys.

There's a point in every good story where the hero must decide whether the headlong dive to glory is worth the risk of failure. For Kenji Doughty that moment arrived when he was a production assistant whose job was to monitor life jackets on the film "Battleship."

Tropical beauty may be the face of “Hawaii Five-0,” but the uncredited star of the series is an aging building on Kapiolani Boulevard that was just bought by a developer who plans to evict the show as early as next spring.

Ten years ago Rann and Gina Watumull dreamed big and started Hawaii Film Partners. They wanted to produce movies at home and take on the Hollywood studios.

Wesley Freitas, an aspiring actor from Maui living in L.A., views his music video "Batman Maybe" as a marriage made in pop culture heaven.

When the action heats up in "Last Resort," the new ABC TV series being shot in Hawaii, the crew of the submarine USS Colorado is under attack after refusing to fire its nuclear missiles at Pakistan.

If there was an Emmy for ingenuity, it would have to go to Andy Bumatai, the Hawaii comedian who mounted cameras inside his car and turned it into a rolling talk-show interview for anyone willing to ride shotgun.

Camille Komine is bracing for the power of television. When her food truck is featured Monday in the Food Network series "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," the producers of the show told her to expect sales to increase anywhere from 30 percent to 400 percent.

The committee that selects the final nominations for an Emmy doesn't usually share the reasons behind a particular choice, but "Hawaii Five-0" stunt coordinator Jeff Cadiente is pretty sure he knows why the second-season episode "Kame‘e" got the nod.

Fans squealed across the Internet last week as "Hawaii Five-0" started production of its third season with a series of unrelated events that for all intents and purposes became a social media party for the CBS crime drama.

Most men, whether married with children or single, probably have had the same fantasy at some point — the one in which they escape jobs, responsibility and their routine existence for an adventure.


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