Oahu filmmaker’s movie in upcoming Sundance Film Festival

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) – It is every filmmaker’s dream to show their movie at the Sundance Film Festival. Oahu native and University of Hawaii at Manoa graduate Christopher Yogi is seeing his dream come true while making sure his home is well represented for an international audience.

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“I Was A Simple Man” is a feature film about a Japanese man in the countryside of Oahu looking back on his life as his final days approaches.  

Yogi, the director and screenwriter, told KHON2 the idea for the movie developed 10 years ago and was inspired by his grandfathers.  

The film is among 10 to compete in the U.S. dramatic competition.

“I think I’m always trying to portray some sort of honest story of what I feel Hawaii means to me,” Yogi said.

“Capturing in a way that feels lived in, feels detailed, feels very tangible and feels real,” Yogi said. “But the other thing is that it deals with universal themes of death, of mortality, forgiveness.”

Most of the filming was fortunately shot pre-pandemic, but the virus outbreak did hamper parts of the filmmaking process.

“Color correction was done remotely using i-Pads which isn’t ideal but what we have to do,” says Yogi.

“We did sound mixing remotely, some dialogue recording remotely which also wasn’t ideal,” Yogi said. “That process which should have taken a few weeks took 4 or 5 months.”

The festival is normally held in Salt Lake City, Utah, but it will be held virtually in 2021.
That means the whole world is watching.

“Ya, I’m very, very much aware of the way which, especially in tv, in network tv and in holiday movies, the portrayal of home feels very inauthentic and I wanted to add a little bit of my personal sort of take and personal honest exploration of Hawaii,” says Yogi.

He hopes that the film allows for self-reflection. It also features actress Constance Wu, who starred in the hit film “Crazy Rich Asians.”

Be sure to catch the premiere of “I Was A Simple Man” next Friday, Jan. 29, at 10 a.m. It will also replay on Sunday, Jan. 31, all day.  

To purchase your tickets, click here.

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