HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii’s film and television production industry is booming, at least half a dozen large productions are currently filming in the state, bringing revenue to the state and opening up opportunities for local talent. 

Just a couple of years ago, the thousands of people working in Hawaii’s television and film industry saw an uncertain future amid the COVID-19 shutdowns. 

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Casting Director Katie Doyle said they were not sure when productions would be able to resume. 

Doyle said, “None of us knew if we were ever going to work again. It’s just been sort of a whirlwind of let’s get back to it. Let’s figure out how to do it safely.”

But now the industry is coming back in full force. The State Film Commissioner Donne Dawson said movie and television productions are expected to bring in about $400 million by the end of the year. 

Dawson said, “We are topping 400 million dollars in direct expenditures and then there’s all the indirect economic activity that’s created along with thousands of jobs, so close to 5,000 jobs that are going to be created from the film industry.”

Dawson said part of the industry’s strong comeback was its ability to implement strict COVID protocols that allowed productions to restart. 

She said, “Filming activity as a whole is extremely regulated and with the pandemic the film industry kind of set the standard.”

Adding to the momentum are Hawaii native actors who return to the islands to hire and shoot productions like Jason Momoa. 

Doyle said these types of projects only create more opportunities for local talent. 

Doyle said, “I think it’s a really exciting and wonderful time to be here. Whether you’re an actor, a producer, a writer, or someone who’s just thinking about getting into the industry.”

As the year begins to wrap up, so are productions but those in the industry said they see no reason why next year should be any less successful. 

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Doyle said, “If it’s anything like what we’re experiencing now, I would say go to sleep with your running shoes next to the bed. And your catcher’s mitt on your hands.”