HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hundreds of people who work behind the scenes in Hawaii’s multi-million dollar film and television industry said they are affected by the strikes, too. Business leaders said some impacts will be felt into the new year, but lawmakers are looking at ways to expand opportunities.
Actors and writers have come to a tentative agreement with movie and television studios, this news comes as a lifeline for many workers across Hawaii. But the union representing people behind the camera said it may be a sluggish return for productions.
The IATSE Local 665 Business Representative Irish Barber said she is only aware of productions that were in the process of filming before the strike, some of them will restart production at the end of December, while the majority are likely to resume work after the holidays.
However, there is concern that there are not a lot of new productions being announced for 2024 yet.
“Quite frankly I don’t hear any new shows coming, so that’s very unusual,” Barber said. “We would normally hear from producers that are coming in the Spring that they would start prepping about now and I didn’t get any of those phone calls and it’s likely a monetary decision.”
Besides the lack of new shows or movie productions coming to Hawaii, job opportunities were reduced by the cancellation of existing shows like Magnum P.I. and Doogie Kamealoha.
She said, “That is very concerning. They are now going to be scrambling looking to see if they can get positioned on the shows that are coming or continue to work on their other ventures.”
Lawmakers are looking to invest in creating more production spaces, such as movie sets. Sen. Chris Lee was among a group of state senators who visited Kona to explore acquiring commercial spaces and converting them into filming sets. One of the properties includes the former KMart in Kona.
He said, “Building studio spaces is really quite expensive but the benefit of looking at these spaces here in Kona is that they already pre-exist. We can modify existing buildings that are big enough to house sets and film studios.”
The State’s Film Office predicts about $80 to $100 million were lost from the strike’s standstill. The Creative Industries Chief Officer Georja Skinner said the coming months will be about attracting new productions into the state.
Skinner said, “We will bang our drums loudly that we’re open for business here in Hawaii. We have fantastic crews.”
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Skinner said the state offers generous filming incentives in the form of tax breaks, which could help bring in new opportunities for actors, writers and those behind the scenes.