Collaborating with Independent Filmmakers



Past Films | Submit Your Film | Frequently Asked Questions



About PBS Hawaiʻi Presents


Hawai‘i is home to our native Hawaiian culture, a convergence of the Pacific, Asia and Western cultures, and a complex history. As a result, Hawai‘i is rich with stories. PBS Hawai‘i Presents harnesses our Islands’ storytelling traditions with a statewide platform for independent filmmakers, offering thoughtful and diverse perspectives reflecting the history and cultures of the region.


We at PBS Hawai‘i are interested in sharing authentic stories that reflect our diverse communities. If you believe your film would be an excellent fit for PBS Hawaiʻi Presents, and would like to submit your film for consideration, please read our Frequently Asked Questions and Submit Your Film.



Previous PBS Hawaiʻi Presents Films


Here are summaries of several films that have aired on PBS Hawaiʻi Presents:


Filmmaker: Ann Marie Kirk
The Hawaiian Room was an oasis of Hawaiian culture and entertainment in the heart of New York City, housed in the famed Lexington Hotel. Between 1937 and 1966, hundreds of dancers, singers and musicians from Hawai‘i were recruited to perform at the entertainment venue. In this documentary, more than 20 former performers spoke candidly and fondly of their experience at the historic nightclub, and the culture shock of moving from Hawai‘i to New York City.


Filmmakers: Matt Yamashita and John Antonelli
This documentary traced the mythological origins of ‘ulu, its journey from Tahiti to Hawai‘i on Polynesian voyaging canoes, and modern efforts to revitalize breadfruit as a possible solution to food shortages. Native practitioners, medical specialists and agricultural experts have a shared vision of the ‘ulu tree playing an important role in cultural preservation, health restoration and food sustainability for Hawai‘i’s future.


Filmmaker: Marlene Booth
In August 1969, 15-year-old Terry Kanalu Young became a quadriplegic after a diving accident. Initially bitter about his circumstances, he eventually realized that his rage could destroy him – or he could learn a great lesson from it. This film explored Young’s life journey, from a Hawaiian history student to an activist and community leader, and how he used his insights about identity and trauma to offer hope to dispossessed Native Hawaiians.


Filmmakers: Robert Pennybacker and Roy Kimura
This PBS Hawai‘i-produced documentary follows the students of Nanakuli High and Intermediate School Performing Arts Center on O‘ahu, who were given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel halfway across the globe to perform at The Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. When a lack of funds threatens to keep students from going to Scotland, the Hawai‘i community rallies behind them.


Filmmakers: Chris Conybeare and Joy Chong Stannard
In this film, Professor of Anthropology Christine Yano explains, “If we want to know something of what some of these womenʻs lives were like…we could do no better than to listen to their own words, as expressed through song.” The women that Professor Yano is referring to are Japanese immigrants who worked in Hawai‘i’s sugarcane fields in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Through their canefield songs, or holehole bushi, these women sang about their joys and sorrows of trying to start life in a new world. Hosted and narrated by ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro, the film tells the story of music teacher Harry Urata, and his efforts to record, preserve and perpetuate these musical oral histories.


Filmmaker: Matthew Nagato
In his documentary, filmmaker Matthew Nagato could have pointed out everything that’s wrong with public education in Hawai‘i. Instead, Nagato set out to accent the positive, by sharing stories of trailblazers in Hawai‘i who are creating and implementing innovative programs to improve public education. “We want people to strive, to get to places, to do things, and not just sit around and accept the status quo, simply because it’s difficult. I choose the route that gives people the hope, the opportunity and the belief,” Nagato stated in an interview.


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Submit Your Film


There are two ways you can submit your film for consideration for PBS Hawaiʻi Presents: an online submission, or by mail. Please see below and choose one option.


Option 1: Fill out the electronic submission form below.


Option 2: Download and fill out our submission form.

If you choose to fill out and print a submission form, please mail this form, along with a copy of your film, or a link and password to your film, to:

Chuck Parker
Vice President, Content
PBS Hawaiʻi


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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What types of films are usually aired on PBS Hawaiʻi Presents?

PBS Hawai‘i Presents is our weekly hour-long series featuring authentic stories that reflect our diverse communities in Hawai‘i and the Pacific. A hallmark of any programming on PBS Hawai‘i is that it must not be driven by political or commercial interests.


What are you looking for when you select programs?

The most important factor is quality, in editorial content and production values. Here are some of the questions we consider in determining whether a film is a good fit for PBS Hawai‘i Presents:

•  Is the program meaningful to the viewers/users we serve?
•  Is the program compelling?
•  Is it fair and accurate?
•  Does it reflect diverse viewpoints?
•  Has the story been told before?
•  Is the program well-shot and well-edited?
•  Is the program satisfying from beginning to end?

In addition to reviewing films as individual submissions, we look at the mix of films over the course of a broadcast season to assure a varied slate.


Will you review rough cuts?

PBS Hawaiʻi reviews completed films for consideration.


How do I submit my program?

Click here.


Will I be notified if my program gets selected for broadcast?

When you submit your online application and film link to PBS Hawai‘i, you will receive an email confirmation that your application has been received. Within 60 days, you can expect to be notified whether your film is under consideration. A final decision is made quarterly during a calendar year.


How will PBS Hawaiʻi Presents support my program?

We work with filmmakers to meet PBS Hawai‘i technical requirements. PBS Hawai‘i also provides promotional support for PBS Hawai‘i Presents films, including but not limited to our broadcast channels, social media, and pbshawaii.org.


Do I have to clear rights for public television broadcast?

Yes, you will need to clear legal rights prior to broadcast.


Do I need Errors and Omissions Insurance?

Yes. You are required to have E&O insurance in place prior to broadcast, but not prior to submission.


Is there a PBS Hawaiʻi Presents acquisition fee?

PBS Hawai‘i does not pay a licensing or acquisition fee to filmmakers for programs accepted for PBS Hawai‘i Presents. PBS Hawai‘i does not fund the production or distribution of independent films, but can broadcast the programs.


What is the PBS Hawaiʻi Presents standard broadcast length?

The total running time (TRT) is 56 minutes, 46 seconds for a “TV hour” (including credits), no commercial breaks. Occasionally shorter programs are considered, typically half-hour productions. Actual length should be no more than 26 minutes, 46 seconds (including credits), uninterrupted.


Can there be a theatrical release of my film prior to broadcast?



Will PBS Hawaiʻi edit my film in any way?

PBS Hawai‘i will not edit films, but we may request edits to ensure clarity and accuracy, and to maintain broadcast time requirements.


How long is the required PBS Hawaiʻi broadcast license period?

PBS Hawaiʻi requires a three-year broadcast license agreement.


Whom do I contact if I have additional submission questions?

Please email Chuck Parker, Vice President of Content, at cparker@pbshawaii.org or call at 808. 462. 5074.


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