HONOLULU (KHON2) – This evening, the 42nd edition of the Hawaii International Film Festival kicks off here on the Great Lawn of Bishop Museum with its first film screening. 

And the beautiful thing about this season’s kickoff is the screenings are focusing on Made In Hawaii and Pacific Films and this evening’s screening is of the film “The Wind and the Reckoning.” 

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And I’m so stoked to introduce our guest. 

You may recognize him from films such as Jungle Book, Mulan, and the list can go on and on, Jason Scott Lee. 

“The Wind and the Reckoning,” what is the story behind this film?

“Well, the story is taken from the island of Kauai and is the account of Koolau and his wife Piilani and their son Kaleimanu and how they, Koolau, the husband, and his son were stricken by the Hansen’s Disease, by leprosy,” says Lee.

“During that time, right in 1893, the Provisional government stepped in so the family wasn’t going to be allowed to stay together.  They were shipping people off to Molokai.  So, it’s a story of their rebellion against the Provisional government’s orders and laws and they fled into the Kalalau valley to find respite and stay away from people.”

Why do you think this story is important to share and what may be some things that attracted you to participate in it?

“You know, after reading the script in different forms, in its big budget form, medium budget, small budget to our film which is on a micro-budget, it was really at the time and place to make it happen,” says Lee.

“And I say the time and place to make it happen because the film works on so many different levels.  There are so many great messages and themes in it.  It made it kind of unique and very challenging.  There were so many things that made it difficult especially the language.  About 80% of the film is in Olelo Hawaii and I am not a Native speaker and I was never educated in the Hawaiian language, so it was the most challenging thing in my career as an actor working with dialogue.  It’s one thing to learn it, but it’s another thing to perform it and so those are the things that, man, we kind of pat ourselves on the back, myself and the other actors who did speak in the show because I think we grabbed an authenticity.  We grabbed the language of the time and not modern.  So, there are so many things to work on to make that seem true.”

I have been hearing great compliments from olelo to the scenes and the nature that is included that is interwind within the moolelo and the story itself, but for you, what are your hopes for the audience?

“I think they will recognize all indigenous cultures, and especially the Hawaiian culture and Hawaiian language, it’s a heart language,” says Lee.

“There is a sound to it, there is a cadence to it, there’s a rhythm that even when you’re hearing it and you’re seeing the subtitles and you’re not understanding what it is saying, there is a feeling behind the language that when you see the translation, it’s a very poetic way of speaking.  And I think that is something that gets lost and hopefully the feelings will have a lasting impression.”

If you couldn’t make it this evening, here on Oahu you have three chances to catch this film. 

This Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Consolidated Ward Theatres and if you’re on Kauai, Maui or Hawaii island, from November 17th to the 30th, you’ll have a chance to watch screenings on your home island. 

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For those dates, times and information on this festival and this film, click here.