We advance learning and discovery through storytelling that profoundly touches lives.

Learn More

Can a Film Inspire Change when Change is Tough?

Leslie Wilcox, President and CEO of PBS Hawaii

Can storytelling profoundly touch lives? Here at PBS Hawaii, the answer is a resounding yes. Belief in the power of storytelling to educate, and a conviction that education can transform perspectives and even lives, are the underpinnings of everything we do here.

Now here comes an independent Hawaii film that is a great example of storytelling meant to inspire and motivate – with the goal of improving public education. Matthew Nagato’s film, ʻike – Knowledge is Everywhere, shares intimate stories of efforts that are working – of real students, educators and advocates in Hawaii who are listening to community needs, who aren’t letting commonplace conflicts over resources and policy stop them, and who are collectively taking action.

“I think people are hungry for this type of storytelling… It’s hopeful and positive. It’s about what’s going right, not what’s going wrong,” Nagato says. His previous film, ola – Health is Everything, about another complex subject, health care in Hawaii, was well-received and also featured individuals making a collective difference.

On Thursday, September 24, at 8:00 pm, we are proud to present the statewide television debut of ʻike (which means knowledge). Stay with us for a live local discussion afterward, on Insights on PBS Hawaii, at a special time, 9:10 pm.

Many people already have seen this film in groups large and small. That’s because the filmmaker has taken it out for about 50 free community screenings on different islands, and he has invited attendees to express their thoughts.

Ken Hiraki, President of the Public Schools Foundation of Hawaii, has eagerly gone to seven community screenings and each time, he told me, the film has moved him to tears. And it has galvanized him to work with his organization to establish a Summer Scholars program at Waipahu High School.

Says film director Nagato: “I do see people take action as a result of a screening. They’ve said, ‘Let’s put down our shields and reach out to someone to work with, to partner with…and let’s develop something.’”

He believes firmly that “small, incremental changes overtake the problem at some point.”

We hope that you’re able to watch Matthew Nagato’s humbly provocative film on PBS Hawaii on September 24. He’ll be on hand for the live discussion to follow. We invite you to get involved by calling in, tweeting, or emailing your comments and questions.


A hui hou (until next time),

Leslie signature