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Youth explore Maui, mauka to makai, through the art of filmmaking in festival

By Staff | Jun 1, 2017

In “Sea Police,” the Maui Huliau Foundation’s new West Side filmmaking students share the adventures of the squad set to original theme song music, as they reprimand careless citizens for their infractions against our marine environment. 

WAILUKU – On Saturday, June 3, at 7 p.m., Maui Huliau Foundation will host its seventh annual Huliau Youth Environmental Film Festival at the historic Iao Theater in Wailuku.

Students pitch, plan, shoot and edit their films at an afterschool filmmaking program coordinated by Maui Huliau Foundation, an environmental education nonprofit serving Maui’s youth, throughout the school year. Funds raised are used to support the program in the upcoming school year.

The event will premiere nine short environmental films made by youth from 12 different Maui schools, including documentaries funded by the Office of Economic Development, an animated film by West Side students examining human impacts on the global carbon cycle, and another short film about the Hawaii Farmers Union United’s Farm Apprentice Mentoring program, exploring the need to grow new local farmers in Maui’s post-sugarcane era.

Other films include “Cities Beneath the Sea,” a short featuring interviews with local marine experts; “Aloha+Challenge,” a documentary using drone footage and animations to present statewide sustainability goals; and “Under the Sea Debris,” an international collaboration with youth from Maui and the Bahamas on the threats of plastic debris in the world’s oceans.

This school year, the foundation launched its first West Maui program with two film teams made up of eight students ages 12-17 from Sacred Hearts, Lahaina Intermediate, Hawaii Technology Academy and Maui Preparatory Academy.

“Rising Tide,” featuring whiteboard drawing-style animation created by West Side students, outlines the basics of how humans are impacting the global carbon cycle, the impacts of climate change and a call to action for local communities to rise up together in addressing the largest environmental issue of our time.

Maui Prep donated the use of classroom space to make the program possible.

Maui Huliau Foundation (MHF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that promotes environmental literacy and leadership to cultivate the leaders of tomorrow in grades 7-12.

The Huliau Environmental Filmmaking Club, its most popular and longest-running program, has produced more than 50 student films to date, which have been selected over 60 times by national and international film festivals.

“We are very excited to share this year’s films from both our Kahului-based program and our new West Side program,” said Malia Cahill, executive director.

“This year’s students have taken on some very relevant new topics, such as coral bleaching and climate change, and have explored new film styles like whiteboard drawing animation. We will also be sharing information on some exciting new youth programs coming up this summer and next year.”

“Under the Sea Debris,” an international collaboration with youth from Maui and the Bahamas, explores the threats of plastic debris in the world’s oceans.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to learn more about Maui Huliau Foundation’s summer programs and upcoming events, and may purchase popular Huliau “sporks” made of environmentally friendly bamboo as an alternative to the plastic utensils that are thrown away by the thousands at local schools and restaurants.

“Maui Huliau’s programs have truly changed my life by opening my eyes to environmental issues on our island,” said Kaimana Idica, a senior at Kamehameha Schools Maui who participated in Maui Huliau programs since the ninth grade.

“Through media and youth innovation, these films are a creative way to share this environmental awareness with our community island-wide,” he said.

Tickets may be purchased at a discount in advance at Native Intelligence in Wailuku, the POME store in Paia or at www.mauihuliaufoundation.org/festival.