Hawaii 2 Hollywood: Local actresses reflect on representing Hawaii in new Netflix film Finding Ohana

Hawaii 2 Hollywood

HONOLULU (KHON2) – Netflix original film, Finding Ohana, follows a Hawaiian family from New York making the journey back to the islands.

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The movie is a tribute to Goonies with a local twist.

“The pidgin, the spam musubis, it’s real Hawaii that you see,” said Lindsay Watson who plays Hana in Finding Ohana.

The movie includes a star-studded cast load with local talent, including Hawaii-native Kelly Hu.

The main character, Pilialoha Kawena, is played by local girl Kea Peahu.

“I feel like it couldn’t have been a better experience,” said Kea Peahu who plays Pili in Finding Ohana. “I wouldn’t have chosen any other different kind of people to do it with. I wouldn’t have chosen a different place.”

It’s the perfect place for a reason.

“Especially since it was filmed in Hawaii. I mean, I get to say my first movie I ever filmed was filmed from my home,” Peahu said.

In the movie, Pili finds a mysterious pirate’s journal in her grandfather’s studio, hinting at hidden treasure. The 12-year-old sets sail on adventure with her older brother and new friends, like Hana played by Kamehameha Schools Maui graduate, Lindsay Watson.

“We just started going nonstop. Our days were long and there were crazy stunts. I mean, night shoots and all these crazy things. Then, I mean, it was fun enough filming in Hawaii, but making the transition over to Thailand was insane,” said Watson.

From the mountain ranges of Kualoa to the caves of Thailand, production started in October of 2019 and took 10 weeks to film.

“We were in waterfalls and caves. It was real, where we had a snake wrangler on set. Overall, the whole journey ended up being something that was life changing,” Watson said.

Hawaiian culture consultants were also hired to guide production of the film. Viewers will be able to catch over 100 olelo Hawaii words used throughout the movie.

“Seeing it all come together as a Hawaiian and the first time I watched it, I had Hawaiians with me. I think our jaws dropped, because we’ve never seen ourselves represented on screen like that,” said Watson.

Through the adventure and thrills, the cast hopes the movie shows the world the true importance of ohana.

The cast is also hoping for a sequel, but there’s nothing set in stone yet.

Finding Ohana premieres on Netflix on January 29. For more information about the film, click here.

Digital reporter Kristy Tamashiro catches up with Kea Peahu who plays Pili in Finding Ohana and Owen Vaccaro who plays Casper.

Digital reporter Kristy Tamashiro catches up with Lindsay Watson who plays Hana in Finding Ohana and Alex Aiono who plays Ioane.

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