Waimea Ocean Film Festival Opens Jan. 1

Listen to this Article
5 minutes
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00

A Fragile Legacy. Image provided by Waimea Ocean Film Festival.

“A Fragile Legacy” ©David O Brown. Image provided by Waimea Ocean Film Festival.

The action-packed 2016 Waimea Ocean Film Festival will open on Jan. 1 with a stunning lineup of films, special guests, intimate coffee talks, Q&As, exhibits, receptions and morning activities.

The festival will run non-stop through Jan. 8, with films playing simultaneously from Jan. 1 to 4 at multiple venues in Waimea (Kahilu Theatre, HPA Gates, Parker Theatre) and at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i. On Jan. 5, the festival will move to Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.

Ocean Film brings over 50 films to the big screen this year—most of which are world, US, Hawai‘i or Big Island premieres—with many filmmakers in attendance to answer questions following each film.

The format of this dynamic festival immerses participants in a greater understanding and awareness of the ocean and island culture through exceptional films, talks, exhibits and activities.

Films fall into basic categories: ocean experience (such as surfing and paddling); ocean environment (including things we do on land that impact the sea); and island culture; inspirational, thought-provoking films; and those that shed light on who we are.


(See “2016 Film Lineup: *Filmmaker/presenter attending and leading discussion” below.)

The full lineup of films and the complete festival program is available online.

For the latest updates on films and speakers, visit www.waimeaoceanfilm.org or email [email protected].

Festival passes can be purchased via the website or by calling (808) 854-6095.



Producer Phil Arnone returns with the KGMB production, Hokule‘a: Proud Journey Home, filmed at the time of the 1985 voyage when Hokule‘a sailed throughout the Pacific, as far as New Zealand. This year, Hokule‘a left the Pacific Ocean for the first time, in a momentous sail from New Zealand, to Australia, Bali, Mauritius and finally Cape Town, South Africa.

Voyagers will discuss the 2015 Worldwide Voyage following the showing of this film and throughout the festival.

The Voyager Exhibit, including the 8-by-13-foot world map developed as part of the festival to highlight the WWV route, opens at Kahilu Theatre with a blessing and ceremony 4 p.m. Jan. 1.

‘Imiloa Astronomy Center also joins the festival with a presentation on wayfinding, using an interactive star compass guide and a full-dome star show on Jan. 8 at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.

For the surf line-up, Deeper features jaw-dropping footage of big wave surfers Andrew Cotton, Garrett McNamara and Kealiʻi Mamala as they charge into the enormous swells pounding the European coastline in winter—from Nazaré in Portugal to Mullaghmore, Ireland.


Haleiwa-raised McNamara, who holds the world record for the largest wave surfed (78 feet), joins the festival this year to answers questions following his film, Nazaré Calling.

Ocean Driven. Photo provided by Waimea Ocean Film Festival.

“Ocean Driven” ©Brian Overfelt. Photo provided by Waimea Ocean Film Festival.

Ocean Driven chronicles the life of South African big-wave surf champion Chris Bertish as he rises determinedly to the forefront of big wave surfing, becoming a pioneer of paddling into larger waves. A corporate keynote speaker inspiring others to tackle the impossible, Bertish joins the festival this year to answer questions following the film and sign copies of his book, Stoked.

The Fisherman’s Son shares the life of Ramon Navarro, winner of the Monster Drop award at The Eddie with his own true Eddie Aikau story.

Nine-time world bodyboard champion, waterman and Waimea resident Mike Stewart joins the festival this year to speak after the showing of Come Hell or High Water, in which he is featured.

Bud Browne Film Archives’ Gun Ho shares a window into surfing in the ’60s. Anna Trent Moore, curator of the collection, will present the first annual Bud Browne Surf Film Award during the festival Jan. 4.

Marking the 125th year since his birth, KGMB’s Duke Kahanamoku: Hawaii’s Soul shares the life of Hawai‘i’s legendary waterman and hero.

A Sakada Story tells the tale of Filipino plantation worker Cipriano Erice, who immigrated to Hawai‘i in 1946 to work for Waialua Sugar Plantation. O‘ahu-based filmmaker and former Miss Hawai‘i Filipina Maribel Apuye will be in attendance to answer questions.

Canefield Songs: Holehole Bushi, hosted by Jake Shimabukuro, tells the story of the Japanese immigrants who sang as they worked on Hawai‘i’s sugar plantations, creating a Japanese-American equivalent of “the blues.”

The Birth of Saké shares the story of what it takes to make world-class saké in the traditional way at Yoshida Brewery, a 144-year-old family-owned small brewery in northern Japan, with filmmaker Erik Shirai in attendance.

The Roots of ‘Ulu explores the importance of the breadfruit tree to Hawaiian culture, and its potential role as a food source, with John Antonelli, Matt Yamashita and Jerry Konanuit to answer questions.

Dr. Greg Stone, Ph.D., executive vice president of Conservation International, Oceans, and one of the world’s leading authorities on marine conservation policy and ocean health issues, speaks after the inaugural episode of Ocean Stories: Greg Stone, along with Ocean Stories producers Susan and Greg Goggin.

Inspired by Jacques Cousteau, Dr. Stone began his work in the ocean deep-sea treasure hunting alongside Bermuda legend Teddy Tucker. He has since written some of the world’s most important texts on marine biology, helped establish the Phoenix Islands Protected Area and has been named a hero by “National Geographic” for his work.

Dr. Stone also answers questions following Teddy Tucker: Adventure is My Life and Paradise Found: Phoenix Islands.

The Bat Man of Mexico. Photo provided by Waimea Ocean Film Festival.

“The Bat Man of Mexico ©Amy Cooper. Photo provided by Waimea Ocean Film Festival.

London filmmaker Tom Mustill brings a stunning BBC production that follows Mexican biologist Dr. Rodrigo Medellin, aka, The Bat Man of Mexico, as he tracks endangered “Tequila” bats on their 1,000-mile migration to the US border, along with How To Win the Grand National, produced by Oxford Scientific Films.

Tad Fettig, producer of an on-going PBS series E2, which shares solutions to energy issues, speaks following episodes on London-Price of Traffic, Paris-Vélo Liberté, Architecture 2030, Affordable Green Housing, Portland–Sense of Place and Harvesting the Wind.

Along these lines, Containment asks the question as to whether we can contain some of the deadliest, longest-lasting substances known to man for 10,000 years, let alone for 240,000 years, when they will no longer be radioactive?

The Diplomat tells the remarkable story of the life and legacy of Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, whose crowning achievement, the Dayton Peace Accords, brought an end to the war in Serbia and peace to Bosnia. Told through the perspective of his eldest son, David, who joins the festival to answer questions, The Diplomat takes a riveting look behind-the-scenes at international diplomacy, as it follows Holbrooke’s career from Vietnam to Afghanistan.

When Voices Meet is about South African musician Sharon Katz and educator Nonhlanhla Wanda, who risked everything to form a 500-voice multiracial student choir on Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, intent on helping lead the way for a peaceful transition to democracy. Katz and producer Marilyn Cohen join the festival, with guitar in hand, ready to share songs from the choir.

Dr. M. Sanjayan, an Emmy-nominated news contributor and executive vice president for Conservation International, returns to the festival to share stories from his dialogue with E.O. Wilson, considered one of America’s greatest living thinkers, around the showing of Of Ants and Men.

Sanjayan also shares a clip from his coverage for PBS of Big Blue Live, the first live television show featuring ocean wildlife.

Set in the waters of Alaska, Hawaiʻi and Tonga, the MacGillivray Freeman Films’ Humpback Whales provides an up-close look at how and why these whales communicate, sing, feed, breach, play, take care of their young and migrate nearly 10,000 miles each year.

Audubon: John James Audubon and the Birds of America tells the story of this man, the birds that captivated him and his work.

Medicine of the Wolf shares the insight of National Geographic photographer Jim Brandenburg, from his study and work with wolves over the past 45 years.

Dr. Drew Harvell, Ph.D., Cornell University professor and curator of the Blaschka Marine Invertebrates collection, brings A Fragile Legacy, which visualizes the story of the 1885 Cornell University purchase of over 500 Blaschka Glass models of marine invertabrates for use in teaching marine biology. These exquisitely crafted models enabled study of delicate creatures that could not otherwise be documented or preserved. Forgotten, the collection is receiving new attention as we try to understand the changes occuring in the ocean.

Unbranded is the spectacular story of Texas cowboy Ben Masters, who recruits three friends and develops a plan to adopt, train and ride a string of wild mustangs 3,000 miles from Mexico to Canada, through the heart of the American West.

Big Island-raised Alison Teal brings another episode from her Alison’s Adventures series. Returning to the island where her Naked and Afraid episode was filmed, Teal finds it covered with plastic trash. Realizing the trash must have washed ashore with the currents, and that it had been cleared prior to filming, Alison embarks on a quest to understand how to reduce the use of plastic overall, and repurpose what we do have into useful material.

On the shortlist for an Oscar nomination, Meru provides an edge-of-your-seat account of a first ascent of the 21,000-foot Shark’s Fin on Mount Meru in the Himalayas.


Art weaves its way throughout the 2016 festival. Bonnie Cherni will offer classes in ocean-inspired origami Jan. 1 through 4 at The Fairmont Orchid.

Mollie Hustace, HPA faculty member and director of Isaacs Art Center, will offer tours and discussion of art works 10 a.m. and noon Jan. 4. Isaacs will also host a tribute to Mary Koski 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 3.

Painter Sophie Twigg-Smith Teururai, granddaughter of noted artist William Twigg-Smith, will present a full exhibit of recent works at The Fairmont Orchid Jan. 1 through 4 and at Four Seasons Resort Jan. 5 through 8.

Tiffany’s Art Agency, founded by Tiffany DeEtte Shafto, offers an exhibit based around the book Aloha Expressionism by Contemporary Hawaii Artists. The display features the artwork of Kristie Kosmides, Timothy Allan Shafto, Marlene Louchheim, Kate and Will Jacobson, and new works by Kathy Long at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel in the Lloyd Sexton Gallery Jan. 1 through 4 and at Four Seasons Resort, near the ballroom where the festival takes place, Jan. 5 through 8.

Book signing events for Aloha Expressionism, with these and other Hawai‘i Island artists represented in the book on hand, is 4 p.m. January 1 at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and 4 p.m. January 7 at Four Seasons Resort.

Print-maker Caren Loebel-Fried shares an exhibit of 20-by-26 framed pieces and a demonstration on printmaking at The Fairmont Orchid Jan. 1 through 4 and at Four Seasons Resort Jan. 5 through 8. Loebel-Fried has published six books to date, retelling Hawaiian legends with words and art.

Puako-based painter Christian Enns displays his work at the new Enns Gallery in the lobby at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and offers the chance to observe him in action to gain a sense of his process, 8 to 10:30 a.m., Jan. 2 thought 4 at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Enns will donate the painting he created during last year’s festival, which depicts the vantage point of the 18th hole at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. It will go to the highest bidder at the Waimea Ocean Film Festival Silent auction during the Four Seasons component of the event.

2016 Film Lineup: *Filmmaker/presenter attending and leading discussion
‘Aina: That Which Feeds (USA/Josh Thome, Dave Mossop)
Alison’s Adventures: Maldives (USA/Alison Teal, Sarah Lee*)
Audubon: John James Audubon and the Birds of America (USA/Al Reinert)
The Bat Man of Mexico (UK/Tom Mustill*)
Behind the Lines (UK/Garrett McNamara*)
The Birth of Saké (USA/Erik Shirai*)
Canefield Songs: Holehole Bushi (USA/Joy Chong-Stannard)
Come Hell or High Water (USA/Mike Stewart*)
Containment (USA/Peter Galison, Robb Moss)
Debris (Canada/Megan Lamson*)
Deeper (UK/Garrett McNamara*)
Denali (USA/Ben Knight)
The Diplomat (USA/David Holbrooke, Stacey Reiss*)
Duke Kahanamoku: Hawai‘i’s Soul (USA/Phil Arnone*)
E-2 Affordable Green Housing (USA/Tad Fettig*)
E-2 Architecture 2030 (USA/Tad Fettig*)
E-2 Harvesting the Wind (USA/Tad Fettig*)
E-2 London: The Price of Traffic (USA/Tad Fettig*)
E-2 Paris: Vélo Liberté (USA/Tad Fettig*)
E-2 Portland: A Sense of Place (USA/Tad Fettig*)
The Fisherman’s Son (USA/Chris Malloy)
A Fragile Legacy (USA/Drew Harvell*)
Gun Ho (USA/Anna Trent Moore*)
Here Was Cuba (Ireland/John Murray)
Hokule‘a: A Proud Voyage Home (USA/Phil Arnone*)
How to Win the Grand National (UK/Tom Mustill*)
Humpback Whales (USA/Greg MacGillivray)
Ireland’s Ocean: Life in the Shallows (Ireland/Ken O’Sullivan)
La Primera Ola (Spain/Pedro Temboury)
Landfill Harmonic (USA/Brad Allgood, Graham Townsley)
The Loco Viaje (Spain/Iker San Martin*)
Mapping the Blue (USA/Alison Barrat)
Medicine of the Wolf (USA/Julia Huffman)
Meru (USA/Jimmy Chin)
Message in a Bottle (USA/Danny Schmidt)
Nazaré Calling (USA/Garrett McNamara*)
North Coast 500 (Scotland/Iain Mitchell, Rupert Shanks)
The Northern Sky (USA/Britton Caillouette)
Ocean Driven (USA/Chris Bertish*)
Ocean Stories: Greg Stone (USA/Greg Stone, Greg Goggin*)
Ocean Stories: Wyland (USA/Robert Wyland*)
Of Ants and Men (USA/Shelley Schulze)
Paradise Found: Phoenix Island (USA/Greg Stone*)
Reaching Blue (Canada/Ian Hinkle, Andy Robertson)
Reflections of an Underwater Cameraman (Ireland/Ken O’Sullivan)
The Roots of ‘Ulu (USA/John Antonelli, Matt Yamashita, Jerry Konanui*)
A Sakada Story (USA/Maribel Apuya*)
The Search for Freedom (Canada/Jon Long)
Secrets of the Longleaf Pine (USA/Greg Pope, Rhett Turner)
Shark Girl (Australia/Gisela Kaufmann)
Slack Key (USA/ Myrna & Eddie Kamae)
Sons of Halawa (USA/Matt Yamashita*)
Teddy Tucker: Adventure Is My Life (USA/Greg Stone*)
Thule Tuvalu (Switzerland/Matthias von Gunten)
Treasures of the Dark Ages
Unbranded (USA/Phillip Baribeau, Ben Masters*)
Unchartered Waters: The Personal History of Wayne Lynch (Australia/Craig Griffin)
When Voices Meet (South Africa/Marilyn Cohen, Sharon Katz*)

The Waimea Ocean Film Festival is a 501c3 organization made possible through the support of patrons, sponsors and the community. Mahalo to the 2016 Ocean Film partners: Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, Holualoa Inn, Matson, K2 Imaging, Sushi Rock, Palani French Bakers, Big Island Brewhaus, Big Island Traveler, Maile Charters, Starbucks Coffee, Anna Ranch Heritage Center, Hawaii Preparatory Academy (HPA), Parker School, West Hawaii Today, Hawaii Tribune Herald, Kona Law, Emily T Gail Show, The Beach FM and The Wave FM.


Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Big Island Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments