The Descendants’ Energizing Hawaii Movie Industry
HONOLULU – You might call the state star-struck.
But with Hawaii quickly becoming recognized as viable place to make movies and television shows, the film industry is getting strong support from lawmakers with several bills supporting the creative media industry in Hawaii making its way through the legislature.
Measures include extending the tax credit to film production companies and also leasing public land to develop film studios in the islands.
With the Oscar-nominated film “The Descendants,” Hawaii is now capturing the attention of Hollywood producers and the local film industry is grabbing on to the opportunity while Hawaii is still hot.
With five Oscar nominations and two Golden Globe awards, “The Descendants” has turned the spotlight on Hawaii like no other film.
“It’s original music from Hawaii, it’s ‘above and below the line’ as they say, talent from Hawaii. It really shows what the state can do and it’s just energized everything here film-wise,” said Chuck Boller, executive director of the Hawaii International Film Festival.
The buzz is quickly raising expectations for Hawaii’s film industry future. There is talk of at least one other Hawaii book waiting to be made into a movie. A story by local author Chris McKinney, “The Tatoo” is a gritty tale of one prisoner’s life told to another.
“Several people have been working towards making it into a film. We think it might happen now. It’s a great story,” said Boller.
To help cultivate more writers to tell the stories of the islands, the state’s Hawaii Creative Lab is in discussion with the Hawaii International Film Festival to create a local version of a Sundance Institute.
“There are so many writers here who have been doing a great job, they’re just undiscovered. So what can we do to leverage the opportunities to get them discovered and also help create more works,” said Georja Skinner, head of the state’s Hawaii Creative Industries Division.
With television shows like “Lost,” “The River” and movies, including “The Descendants,” film production has proven to be a boon to Hawaii’s economy, generating $180 million in state revenue last year.
It’s an industry that’s creating jobs, generating interest in Hawaii and moving Hawaiian music into the mainstream. In itself, a golden opportunity that makes the entire state a winner.