Fellows Announced for American Film Market

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The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s (DBEDT) Creative Industries Division (CID) announces selected fellows of the Creative Lab Hawai‘i (CLH) Immersive Program who will participate in the world’s largest motion picture business event at the 2018 American Film Market (AFM). Hosting professionals from across the globe looking to establish partnerships and strike film deals in every stage of development and production, the market conference will take place in Santa Monica, California from Oct. 31 through Nov. 7.

CID also returns this year as a sponsor of the AFM Pitch Conference, to be held on Nov. 3.  It was at last year’s AFM that past CLH fellows pitched before an audience of 400 industry colleagues. The experience offers the selected participants and audience members access to industry professionals who simulate what it’s like in a real studio pitch, learning pointers and the essential pitching tools necessary for getting projects noticed and hopefully sold, licensed and land a distribution deal.

“Our local economy benefits from the opportunities that the department’s CLH program fosters for writers, producers and more across the creative industries,” said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria. “Showcasing the diverse work of these fellows at AFM shines a spotlight on the talent being fostered in our state and reinforces Hawai‘i’s position as a hub for developing dynamic entertainment content for global distribution.”

DBEDT’s Creative Lab Hawai‘i team will accompany the following fellows to AFM, where they will pitch their respective talents and key projects they developed further through their participation in the CLH Immersive Program:

  • GB Hajim – 2018 Producers Immersive Fellow – The Big Pig
  • Serge Marcil – 2018 Producers Immersive Fellow – Within
  • Jonathan Melikidse – 2018 Producers Immersive Fellow – Amontillado
  • Jeff Orig – 2018 Producers Immersive Fellow – Waikiki PD
  • Nadya Wynd – 2018 Writers Immersive Fellow – Ghost of the Sinclair Plantation
  • Brian Kohne, a 2015 Writers Immersive fellow, will also be taking his award-winning motion picture, Maui (previously known as Kuleana), to the market with a foreign sales distributor, American Cinema International. The film follows a disabled Vietnam Vet as he rediscovers the Hawaiian warrior within and where his loyalties lie.

“It’s incredibly important to have these entrepreneurs showcasing their projects and participating in a worldwide platform like AFM,” said Georja Skinner, chief officer of DBEDT’s Creative Industries Division and founder of CLH. More than 7,000 industry leaders from across the globe converge at this event, and it offers a unique opportunity for our fellows to forge connections, make deals and develop opportunities to monetize their work and talent.”

“The CLH Immersive Program helps prepare participants from across the creative industries to reach their next level, and these selected fellows have all done the hard work to come equipped to AFM and be able to put their projects forward in the best light possible to leading deal makers,” said Michael Andres Palmieri, executive director, Creative Lab Hawai‘i, who was also instrumental in selecting this year’s participating fellows. “We’re thrilled to accompany this team to such an amazing marketplace.”

Key project and fellow details include:

  • GB Hajim, Producer, Writer and Visual Artist, Hawai‘i: Hajim has produced award-winning Hawaiian language dramas, animations, documentaries and educational programs for the immersion program and Kamehameha Schools. His last feature, Strange Frame, attracted an all-star cast from Tim Curry to George Takei. At AFM, Hajim will present a new live action horror-comedy he’s developed titled The Big Pig—a horror comedy about a man, a killer boar, and talking dogs.
  • Jonathan Melikidse, Writer and Producer, O‘ahu: Melikidse will present his latest script at AFM— a feature-length adaptation of Amontillado by Edgar Allen Poe, drawing from Melikidse’s knowledge of wines and love of thrillers. He has experience doing background work on several network shows and feature films, and has filmed a series of “how-to” bartending videos in Maui for his YouTube page, Barwars44.
  • Serge Marcil, Producer and Writer, Kaua‘i: Marcil has directed more than 300 hours of television programming for a wide range of broadcasters, networks and production companies. He additionally co-founded 4D media on the island of Kaua’i (in Hawai‘i) and produces his own media projects. His current project, Within, tells the story of a 17-year old hapa girl named Kanoa who lives on the Island of Kauai in 1818, at a  time  of  great  turmoil  for  everyone  living  in  the  kingdom.
  • Jeff Orig, Writer, Director and Producer, O‘ahu: Orig is the award-winning writer-director of Orig Media and Orig Entertainment, and has won multiple American Advertising Federation Awards for Best Local Commercial.  He was a finalist at the 2018 Sundance YouTube New Voices Lab and has been nominated in both the Outstanding Director for a Comedy and Outstanding Writer for a Comedy categories at the L.A. WebFest. He is also a winner of the Amazon Studios Trailer Contest. At AFM, Jeff plans to meet with foreign sales and distribution companies specializing in comedies and mockumentaries. His Waikiki PD is inspired by shows like “The Office” and “Reno 911.”
  • Nadya Wynd, Writer, Producer and Director Artist, Kauai: Wynd will pitch her screenplay, Ghost of the Sinclair Plantation, at AFM, a story following a sheriff investigating a murder on a sugar plantation on the island of Kaua‘i in 1888. Nadya previously wrote, produced and directed The Beautiful Illusion, a short film about the sexual exploitation of actresses, which appeared in the LA and NY Independent Film Festivals and aired on PBS. She also adapted the epic novel, The Physician, and served as co-producer for the film project.

Creative Lab Hawai‘i, founded in 2012 by the Hawai‘i State Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism’s Creative Industries Division, is a key facet of Hawai‘i’s creative economy. Through this effort, Hawai‘i is developing an ecosystem to increase export, attract investment and build the state’s creative entrepreneurial capacity.

Supported by State of Hawai‘i Legislators and U.S. Department of Commerce’s  Economic Development Administration, CLH Strategic partners include: the Writers Guild of America-West, the Producers Guild of America, and the International Game Developers Association. The program is sponsored by the Kaua‘i Marriott, Fairmont Orchid and SpeediShuttle/Arthur’s Limousine.

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