STATE OF THE ARTS
By Kai Andersen, Kait Hanson and Jennifer Thornton for HAWAII MODERN LUXURY MAGAZINE
An island son prepares to tell the story of one of Hawai‘i’s most legendary places.
“Storytelling is huge part of growing up Hawaiian,” says Christopher Kahunahana, writer and director of the new film Waikiki, slated for a 2018 release. “We come from an oral tradition. Stories impart culture, beliefs and spirit.” Based in Honolulu, the Hawaiian filmmaker, who also penned the film Karaoke Kings and is inspired by directors from Akira Kurosawa to Stanley Kubrick to Ava DuVernay, is very much an auteur in his own right. (He’s a Sundance Institute Native Lab Fellow in post-production on Waikiki for submission to the famed film festival.).
“Waikiki is about fragility and strength and the interconnectivity of everyone in our community,” says Kahunahana—
“the gritty humanity and beauty of life in contemporary Hawai‘i.” It’s also a reflection of his innate respect for origin and its influence—a “community effort” made in the islands and starring its people. “I hope Waikiki inspires others to believe, value their voice and… tell their stories,” he says. His own, meanwhile, is riddled with the qualities that move him as a filmmaker: empathy and humanity.