Hawai'i State News

Pacific Heartbeat announces 12th season highlighting Pacific Islander culture

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Pacific Heartbeat is presented through a partnership between Pacific Islanders in Communications and PBS Hawaiʻi. Photo Courtesy: Pacific Heartbeat

Pacific Islanders in Communications announced today Pacific Heartbeat has been renewed for a 12th season.

The documentary series consists of four new episodes that showcase the diversity and complexity of Pacific Islander culture. The new season will be available to viewers on U.S. public television and online, beginning in August on WORLD Channel, and will be carried by PBS stations nationwide.

“As we launch our 12th season of Pacific Heartbeat, we look forward to sharing the beauty, intricacy and diversity of Pacific Islander people to the American public,” said Cheryl Hirasa, Executive Director of Pacific Islanders in Communications.


Pacific Heartbeat is presented through a partnership between Pacific Islanders in Communications and PBS Hawaiʻi, and is distributed by Boston-based American Public Television and broadcast nationally on WORLD Channel, in addition to hundreds of scheduled broadcasts on local PBS stations nationwide.

The twelfth season of this documentary anthology series showcases the contemporary Pacific Islander experience through rich and impactful stories about the people, ecology and advancements from Hawai‘i and Tahiti.

Previous seasons have touched on the people, places and cultures beyond Polynesia, including Melanesia, Micronesia and Australia. Films are selected each year from among numerous submissions, including projects funded by Pacific Islanders in Communications with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts.

    • When Native Hawaiian fashion designer Sharayah Chun-Lai receives an out-of-the blue invitation from the world-renowned Runway 7 to showcase her brand, Ola Hou Designs, at the prestigious New York Fashion Week, she and her supportive family are tossed into a fast-paced world of planning, preparation, and runway readiness to bring the spirit of the Big Island to the magic of the Big Apple.
    • “Island Cowgirls” highlights two Hawaiian cowgirls (paniolo) who have dedicated their lives to caring for their family ranches. On the northwest side of Hawai‘i island, as La‘i Bertlemann prepares to graduate from high school, she must make a difficult decision whether to stay home in Hawai‘i and continue her family tradition of land stewardship or leave. Meanwhile, on the south side, Lani Cran Petrie is at a crossroads as she continues to plan for the future of her ranch while faced with the uncertainty of the state-held lease of the land expiring soon.
    • Hawai‘i’s native snail species play significant roles in its ecosystem and Native Hawaiian culture, yet they face increasing threats and are rapidly disappearing. This episode includes two films that explore this largely unknown and complex world, encourage us to reflect on our relationship with the natural world and show us that even the smallest species are worth saving.
      • In “Kāhuli,” cultural and scientific experts guide us through what stands to be lost if Hawai‘i’s snails go extinct.
      • “After the Endling” takes viewers on an experiential journey through the world of shadow puppetry.
    • Although only 20, Vahine Fierro is undaunted by the Teahupoo wave, considered the most dangerous in the world. Vahine surfs as no other Polynesian girl has ever surfed. In Tahitian culture, riding the waves is an ancestral activity from which women had been gradually eliminated, but now surfing is open to women, just in time for the Olympics. Coming from an entire family of surfers, Vahine and her two sisters hope to make a living with their passion and travel the world.


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