Film, television crews restart productions in Hawaii


HONOLULU (KHON2) — Film and television productions are beginning to ramp up work in Hawaii after an industry-wide shutdown from the pandemic. The state’s film office commissioner said these projects can begin to make up the loss in tourism.

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State film office commissioner Donne Dawson said about 50% of productions are back to work compared to this time in 2019. The pandemic is an added challenge for the state, which is competing with other filming locations to draw more productions.

Dawson said Hawaii’s unique locations are starting to be scouted once again for movie and television sets.

Dawson said, “We’ve got the prospect of three television shows coming in, one is Magnum P.I.”

That production is closing down portions of the H-3 on Saturday, Nov. 7 for filming. A Disney+ reboot of “Doogie Howser” and a Sony production are also set to begin taping in the state.

Notably, a series based on Dwayne Johnson’s upbringing in Hawaii will do its production in Australia.

“This is a fiercely competitive industry where we compete. Hawaii competes with jurisdictions all over the world,” Dawson said. “We compete with other countries with far greater resources than we have, financial resources than we have.”  

Now that Hawaii and other locations are allowing productions to work, producers consider which locations offer the best incentives and how the virus is being managed.

The filming industry is following COVID-19 guidelines put together by unions representing actors, directors, and other production jobs.

These guidelines require everyone involved to be tested for COVID-19 before production starts and continue regular testing protocols throughout the project.

“The incentive is to strip down the process to make it essential workers only at any given point in time so they can get the job done,” said Dawson.

Dawson said the workers from film and television shows can also help contribute to the tourism dollars that the state has been missing this year. She said this is a safe and regulated industry that brings on people who are expected to abide by COVID-19 guidance.

“These writers, producers, actors, directors are high spending tourists and that is the type of tourists we want to be attracting.”

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