HONOLULU (KHON2) — The state film office said its phones are ringing off the hook. Productions from television shows, streaming services and movies all have their eyes set on Hawaii as a backdrop. The state film commissioner confirmed big productions are returning and new ones are on the way.
“We’ve got Doogie Kamealoha M.D. coming back and of course Apple TV’s Chief of War with Jason Momoa, we’re very excited about that,” said Donne Dawson, Hawaii state film commissioner. “We are still waiting to hear about Ke Nui Road.”
Details are limited on Momoa’s project, but the actor is already at work posting a casting call on his social media. Momoa is looking for local talent to star in his Apple TV series Chief of War.
“Have you ever seen a Hawaiian story come out?” said Jason Momoa. “Not really. That’s why it’s important. Everyone else gets that so.”
Casting directors tell me it’s not just Momoa’s production scouting locals. A shift in the industry to hire more Asian Americans is opening doors for homegrown talent.
“It really is a reflection of what’s happening all around this country, and we think it’s a great thing,” said Katie Doyle a casting director. “It’s happening more and more and where better to come for diversity than here.”
Hawaii grown actors like Valen Ahlo, who recently starred in Hallmark’s You Had Me at Aloha, are reaping the benefits.
“We’re always playing something else, but now we can pretty much like really dive into a role that we connect to on such a really deep level, because it’s us representing us,” said Valen Ahlo.
Ahlo says more productions based and centered around the islands will allow local talent to tell Hawaii’s story.
“Hawaii is not only beautiful, but we have a lot of great stories of struggles and a lot of empowering stories to tell,” said Ahlo.
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Casting directors say commercial work is up, and it’s a great place to start. For a list of casting, click here.