Academy Award

PACIFIC HEARTBEAT SEASON 8
Let’s Play Music! Slack Key With Cyril Pahinui and Friends

PACIFIC HEARTBEAT SEASON 8: Let's Play Music! Slack Key With Cyril Pahinui and Friends
 
PACIFIC HEARTBEAT

 

The eighth season PACIFIC HEARTBEAT provides viewers with a glimpse of the real Pacific—its people, culture and contemporary issues. From revealing exposés to in-depth profiles and unexpected histories, the anthology series features a diverse array of programs that draws viewers into the heart, mind and soul of Pacific Island culture.

 

Preview

 

Let’s Play Music! Slack Key With Cyril Pahinui and Friends
Master slack key musician Cyril Pahinui, jams with some of the most revered and talented musicians in Hawai‘i in intimate kanikapila style backyard performances. Cyril was the son of Gabby “Pop” Pahinui, who is considered the “Godfather” of Hawaiian slack key guitar and whose music was featured prominently in the Academy Award winning film, The Descendants. Cyril Pahinui passed away on November 17, 2018; this broadcast is dedicated to him.

 

 

 

Finding Kukan

 

Hawai‘i filmmaker Robin Lung turns detective to uncover the forgotten story of Li Ling-Ai, the un-credited female producer of Kukan, an Academy Award-winning color documentary about World War II China that has been lost for decades.

 

Check out the interview with the filmmaker, Robin Lung

 

 

HIKI NŌ
Episode #905 – Vietnam War veteran Bobbie Paik

 

TOP STORY
Students from Kapa‘a High School on Kaua‘i tell the story of Vietnam War veteran Bobbie Paik, a Purple Heart recipient who suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A major source of Mr. Paik’s PTSD was the fact that twenty-two soldiers in his company were killed during the six months they were together. “…it’s kinda hard, you know, I getting a Purple Heart, and friend from Maui, he went home in a box,” says Paik. Paik discusses the various ways in which he copes with this PTSD, including restoring classic cars.

 

ALSO FEATURED
–Students from Kapolei High School on O‘ahu show us how Girl Scouts keep pedestrians in Makakilo safe.

 

–Students from Aiea High School O‘ahu show us the proper way to fold a T-shirt.

 

–Students from Konawaena High School on the Kona side of Hawai‘i Island introduce us to an alumnus who was part of the recent Nobel-prize-winning project that measured the change in gravitational waves, proving Einstein’s theory of relativity.

 

–Students from Waimea High School in West Kaua‘i tell the story of a sausage vendor who has found great success with his kalua pork-topped hot dogs.

 

–Students from Aliamanu Middle School on O‘ahu profile a Hawai‘i-based Chinese American filmmaker and her eight-year-long journey to complete her documentary on another Hawai‘i-based Chinese American woman from an earlier era who had produced the first Academy-Award-winning documentary.

 

–Students from Moanalua High School on O‘ahu present a character study on a homeless surfer who is always there to lend a helping hand to his fellow surfers.

 

This program encores Saturday, Sept. 1, at 12:00 pm and Sunday, Sept. 2, at 3:00 pm. You can also view HIKI NŌ episodes on our website, www.pbshawaii.org/hikino.

 

How Finding Kukan Was Found

 

By Liberty Peralta

 

Finding Kukan makes its Hawai‘i broadcast debut, Thursday, June 28 at 9 pm. The documentary tells the story of Li Ling-Ai, a female film producer from Hawai‘i who was uncredited for her work on an Oscar-winning documentary about World War II in China called Kukan. A full copy of Kukan has long been missing, while Ling-Ai’s story has gone untold for decades. Both mysteries are unraveled over a seven-year journey on Finding Kukan.

 

The producer and director of Finding Kukan, Robin Lung, spoke with us by phone about the film.

 

Robin Lung
Robin Lung, producer and director of Finding Kukan

 

PBS Hawaiʻi: How did you come across Li Ling-Ai’s story?

Robin Lung: I read Li Ling-Ai’s memoir, Life is for a Long Time, about her physician parents in early 20th century Hawai‘i. I was searching for a Chinese American woman to profile, and I was really interested in the ’30s and ’40s, so I was researching women of that era. There was a biography of Li Ling-Ai on the book’s jacket flap that said that she had worked on this film Kukan that had won an Academy Award. I had never heard of Kukan or Li Ling-Ai before I read her memoir, so that really piqued my interest.

 

How did you come across her memoir?

I had been reading these vintage mystery novels that a friend of mine from New York sent me. They’re written by Juanita Sheridan, and they feature a Chinese American female detective named Lily Wu who solved crime in New York City and Hawai‘i. In an interview, Juanita Sheridan said that she based Lily Wu on some real life friends of hers from Hawai‘i; she had lived in Hawai‘i in the 1930s. That really caught my attention because Lily Wu is not your stereotypical shy, submissive Asian woman. She’s really smart, she’s really independent and audacious. This detective captured my imagination, and I wanted to find out who the real-life woman she was based on might be. I did a lot of research and that’s how I came across Li Ling-Ai’s memoir.

 

If the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences [which oversees the Oscars] didn’t have a copy of Kukan, how many other Oscar-winning films did they not have?

Kukan is the only Oscar-winning documentary that the Academy didn’t have a copy of. It was very unusual for them not to have a copy of this documentary because they actively collect their Oscar-winning films. That was another question that I wanted to explore in my film: Why did it get lost? We structured it as a detective story on purpose because we couldn’t find definitive answers for a lot of the questions that I asked. Shirley Thompson, who acted as the editor on the film, worked closely with me for five years. The film that I wanted to make is not the film that we ended up with, and that was because circumstances prevented me from having my ideal world. [laughs]

 

What did that ideal story look like?

The story of Li Ling-Ai and her filmmaking partner Rey Scott, and how they made Kukan, is like this Cinderella story. Two novices with no experience in filmmaking, on a whim, decide to make this film about what’s happening in China, and it ends up winning an Academy Award and is shown at the White House for President Roosevelt. My ideal story in my head was that I was going to find out every single detail about this story, and I was going to present it as a very conventional historical documentary, much like the Ken Burns documentaries.

 

Li Ling-Ai and Rey Scott in front of the Clay Theater for the San Francisco premiere of Kukan, 1941

 

You had to let go of what you wanted this to look like and let it transform into something else. What was the takeaway for you in doing that?
You’re not in control of your material a lot of the time. You have to work with what you have and what you get. That challenge in how to make something with the limited palette of material you have is what sparks new creativity. That’s the fun part of filmmaking.

 

I also learned so much about how history is told and who gets to tell history. It’s activated me to preserve our own local history because I see that there’s this master narrative that comes from people in power. Our island stories are vulnerable to disappearing over time because the powers-that-be are not working hard to ensure that those stories get carried forward. If we don’t tell our own stories, and we don’t work hard to preserve the material that can tell those stories, then no one else will.

 

Perhaps there’s someone reading this who might not identify as a storyteller, but may be motivated to help preserve our stories. What can they do?

I came across this story after Li Ling-Ai and Rey Scott had passed away. As I tried to interview people, a lot of times I would connect with them too late; they would have just passed away right before I met them. I think that’s a very common problem that we all face, that we don’t think to ask questions of our elders until it’s too late. There are so many rich stories in everybody’s family.

Also, the questions that are important historically are sometimes things that older people don’t want to talk about. They’re tough times, and those are stories that we need to learn lessons from. Finding Kukan is a bittersweet film because I do find out amazing things, but there are certain things that I’ll never be able to know.

What I would hope that people will do after seeing this film is that they sit down and talk with their elders. Take out an iPhone or a tape recorder and have it rolling when they ask, “What did you do in the war?” or “Why did we move to Hawai‘i?” Those basic questions that they want to know more about and really want to get the answers to.

_____
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

 

Mary Tyler Moore:
A Celebration

 

Mary Tyler Moore “turned the world on with her smile” on The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and on the silver screen. This special features classic clips plus comments from Betty White, Ed Asner, Valerie Harper, Cloris Leachman, Gavin MacLeod, John Amos, Carl Reiner, Dick Van Dyke, and Moore herself. Plus, Oprah Winfrey recounts Mary Tyler Moore’s critical role as TV’s first independent career woman.