filmmaking

NATURE
Wild Way of the Vikings

NATURE: Wild Way of the Vikings

 

Experience the natural world through the eyes of the Vikings, when nature meets history in a journey showcasing the wildlife of the North Atlantic. Combining blue-chip natural history filmmaking and dramatic recreations, Nature travels from Norway to Newfoundland, just as the seafaring warriors did in 1,000 A.D., to get a glimpse of the Vikings’ world in the Americas hundreds of years before Columbus. Experience the deep history and cultural respect the Vikings had with the land and sea: from the killer whales of the North Sea to the puffins and otters of the Scottish coast to the volcanic mounts of Iceland and the frozen tundra of Greenland. Go back to the age where Vikings ruled the northern seas; when their only compass was the birds in the sky and the whales pushing through the icy waters. Ewan McGregor narrates.

 

Preview

 

 

 

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.

 

HIKI NŌ
Episode # 915: Girls Got Grit and other stories

 

TOP STORY

 

Students from Sacred Hearts Academy, an all-girl school in the Kaimuki district of O‘ahu, tell the story of their school’s professional mentoring program called Girls Got Grit. The program places Sacred Hearts students in professional work places where they are mentored by female staffers. The story follows Sacred Hearts junior Shelby Mattos, who is interning at Hawaii News Now through Girls Got Grit. “Being in Girls Got Grit allows students to enter a professional business environment, and doing that kind of sets a level of expectations for when we enter the workforce,” says Mattos. Other Girls Got Grit internships include Castle Medical Center and Alexander & Baldwin. The program’s director Shelly Kramer says, “I want these girls to come out strong, empowered and feeling that they have a network that they can touch.”

 

ALSO FEATURED

 

–Students from Hilo Intermediate School on Hawai‘i Island show us how to make a refreshing AND healthy snack: a yogurt parfait.

 

–Students from Mililani Middle School in Central O‘ahu feature Hawai‘i Women in Filmmaking, a nonprofit with a mission of addressing gender inequity in the film and media industry.

 

–Students from Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School on Kaua‘i tell the story of a young woman who designs and builds a wheelchair for her disabled dog.

 

–Students from Seabury Hall Middle School in upcountry Maui explore the integral role of mules at Haleakala National Park.

 

–Students from Kapa‘a Middle School on Kaua‘i feature a young woman in the traditionally male role of a Samoan fire knife dancer.

 

–Students from King Intermediate School in Windward O‘ahu tell the story of a female student who fell in love with DJ-ing.

 

This episode of HIKI NŌ is hosted by students at President William McKinley High School in Honolulu.

 

 

GREAT PERFORMANCES
Movies for Grownups Awards with AARP The Magazine

 

Watch as Helen Mirren receives the 2017 Movies for Grownups Career Achievement Award. The MFG awards were established to celebrate and encourage filmmaking that appeals to movie lovers with a grownup state of mind-and to recognize its artists.

 

 

‘Indie Lens Pop-Up’ film screenings will relocate to PBS Hawai‘i headquarters

PBS Hawaii

For questions regarding this press release, contact:
Liberty Peralta
lperalta@pbshawaii.org
808.462.5030

 

Download this Press Release

 

‘Indie Lens Pop-Up’ film screenings will relocate to PBS Hawai‘i headquartersHONOLULU, HI – Indie Lens Pop-Up – the free neighborhood screenings of films from the award-winning PBS series, Independent Lens – will take place at PBS Hawai‘i’s headquarters at 315 Sand Island Access Road in Honolulu.

 

Indie Lens Pop-Up brings people together for community-driven conversations around Independent Lens documentaries.

 

“At a time when national conversations about important social issues seem to be overwhelmingly divided, our work with this program has provided a unique space for community members of diverse backgrounds and beliefs to come together and engage in dialogue with one another,” said Duong-Chi Do, Director of Engagement & Impact at Independent Television Service (ITVS), the presenting organization behind Independent Lens.

 

PBS Hawai‘i and fellow creative nonprofit Hawai‘i Women in Filmmaking continue to be local co-presenters of Indie Lens Pop-Up. Previously, Indie Lens Pop-Up screenings were held at Hawaii Filmmakers Collective in Kaimuki, and the ARTS at Marks Garage in Downtown Honolulu.

 

The Bad Kids by Lou Pepe and Keith Fulton
Tuesday, February 7, 6:30 pm
PBS Hawai‘i, 315 Sand Island Access Road, Honolulu
Click to RSVP on Eventbrite

 

Located in an impoverished Mojave Desert community, Black Rock Continuation High School is an alternative for at-risk students with little hope of graduating from a traditional high school. It’s their last chance. This coming of age story shows extraordinary educators and talented students combat the crippling effects of poverty.

 

Newtown by Kim A. Snyder
Tuesday, March 14, 6:30 pm
PBS Hawai‘i, 315 Sand Island Access Road, Honolulu
Click to RSVP on Eventbrite
 

Newtown uses deeply personal testimonies to tell the story of the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, the deadliest mass shooting of schoolchildren in American history. Through poignant interviews with parents, siblings, teachers, doctors, and first responders, Newtown documents a traumatized community still reeling from the senseless killing, fractured by grief but driven toward a sense of purpose.

 

National Bird by Sonia Kennebeck
Tuesday, April 4, 6:30 pm
PBS Hawai‘i, 315 Sand Island Access Road, Honolulu

 

National Bird follows whistleblowers who, despite possible consequences, are determined to break the silence around one of the most controversial issues of our time: the secret U.S. drone war. The film gives rare insight through the eyes of both survivors and veterans who suffer from PTSD while plagued by guilt over participating in the killing of faceless people in foreign countries.

 

Real Boy by Shaleece Haas
Tuesday, June 6, 6:30 pm
PBS Hawai‘i, 315 Sand Island Access Road, Honolulu

 

Real Boy is the coming-of-age story of Bennett, a trans teenager with dreams of musical stardom. During the first two years of his gender transition, as Bennett works to repair a strained relationship with his family, he is taken under the wing of his friend and musical hero, celebrated trans folk singer Joe Stevens.

 

PBS Hawai‘i is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization and Hawai‘i’s sole member of the trusted Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). We advance learning and discovery through storytelling that profoundly touches people’s lives. We bring the world to Hawai‘i and Hawai‘i to the world. pbshawaii.org | facebook.com/pbshawaii | @pbshawaii

 

Hawai‘i Women in Filmmaking is a nonprofit organization committed to achieving gender equity in filmmaking and other creative media arts. We are a creative and safe space where film and media-makers connect, create, mentor and inspire current and future generations of women to explore and pursue careers in the field of filmmaking.

 

hawaiiwomeninfilmmaking.org | facebook.com/HIWomenInFilmmaking | @WIF4HI on Twitter

 

Indie Lens Pop-Up is a neighborhood series that brings people together for film screenings and community-driven conversations. Featuring documentaries seen on the PBS series Independent Lens, Indie Lens Pop-Up draws local residents, leaders, and organizations to discuss what matters most, from newsworthy topics to family and relationships. Make friends, share stories, and join the conversation.

 

Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award-winning weekly series airing on PBS Monday nights at 10:00 pm. The acclaimed series features documentaries united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of independent filmmakers. Presented by Independent Television Service, the series is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding from PBS, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Wyncote Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

pbs.org/independentlens | facebook.com/independentlens | @IndependentLens on Twitter