Dear Thalia: Archival Footage Featured in HIFF Film

Dear Thalia screened at packed theaters on two days of this year’s Hawaii International Film Festival.  In Dear Thalia, Rex Moribe documents the trials and tribulations of the Martin family that is living on the streets of Kaka‘ako with their young daughter Thalia.  Filmed in guerrilla style, much of it filmed by the family themselves, the audience gets a firsthand account of what it’s like to live on the streets where it is illegal to sit and lie on the sidewalks (through the “sit-lie bill”).  This makes it difficult when public parks close at night and shelters have strict guidelines.  One of the most touching moments of the film is when Thalia’s mother talks about when the city comes to do the sweeps and how her daughter gets ready for them.  Sweeps are when city workers come and remove [throw away] all of the personal belongings of the people living on the street; in this scene, the mother talks about how Thalia gets all her stuff ready and packed away so that it won’t be removed by the workers.


Click image to view more info about “The Sand Island Story”

We met Rex Moribe in the early stages of the film when he contacted the archive to research footage from Victoria Keith Production’s The Sand Island Story. During his visit, Moribe shared with us, along with chili pepper water, a cut of his trailer.  As we watched the images on the screen, we knew he was on to something very powerful; he was exposing the homelessness issue and telling the story through the lens of people who were actually experiencing it.  Moribe ended up working with Victoria Keith Productions and using raw footage interviews from the documentary.  During the late seventies a community of people moved out to Sand Island located in Honolulu Harbor.  The island was used as a dump and so a community started living there; living off the land and sea as was abundant in fish and caring for it.  Eventually they were removed from the land by the state but not without a struggle; The Sand Island Story documents the struggle to resist eviction.  Much of the footage Moribe used included interviews with Clement Apolo, a resident of the island and a Hawaiian war veteran, as the issue progressed from organizing to evictions.

Clement Apolo

Click image for more archival videos of Clement Apolo

Moribe juxtaposed what was going on in Sand Island with what is happening now in Kaka‘ako and it magnified the issue.  One of the last scenes Moribe used from the documentary shows the Sand Island residents singing Hawai‘i Aloha after the evictions — a symbolic scene which captured the community’s perseverance even in times of hardship.

We were happy to see archival footage used to educate people;  films like this breathe life back into the archive and put things into context. A former Sand Island resident was in the audience for one of the screenings and was pleased with the film. Hulo hulo, congratulations Rex Moribe on the premiere and getting the word out about this issue and to the Martin ‘Ohana for opening up your home and personal lives to expose the issue it will make a difference! To find more information about the film, visit


Photo from dearthaliamovie instagram

Celebrating Filipino American History & Archives

We’ve shared previously that October is American Archives Month but did you know that it’s also recognized as Filipino American History Month?

Why was October selected for Filipino American History Month (FAHM) you ask? Well, it was in October of 1587 that the presence of Filipinos in the continental United States was first recorded; “Luzones Indios” on board the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Esparanza arrived in Morro Bay, California on October 18, 1587.

Recognized in the United States for several years, FAHM was officially recognized in Hawai‘i in 2008. This year’s theme is “1965: Tipping Point for the Filipino American Community.”

To help honor and celebrate the many contributions of Filipino Americans, we thought we’d highlight videos in our collections that share about Filipino heritage and the Filipino experience in Hawai‘i. Click on the images below to view the clips on our website and then contact us to watch the full-length videos for these and other videos related to the heritage and history of Filipino Americans in Hawai’i!

Hanapbuhay Filipina : Looking for Work in Hawaii
screenshot_title728A look at Filipino immigrant women and their problems with finding suitable employment in Hawaiʻi. Victoria Keith Productions Collection.

Military Training
screenshot_title636Possibly footage of Filipinos training for U.S. military and working on sugar plantations. Lyman Museum and Mission House, HKG Pilot Project Collection.

Other resources for info on Filipino American History:
Filipino-American Historical Society of Hawaii
Filipino American National Historical Society
eFil Filipino Digital Archives & History Center of Hawaii
Center for Philippine Studies, UH Mānoa

First Friday Film Fact – Super 8 turns 50!

Super 8mm turned 50 this year! The film was first sold in 1965 as an improved “super” format to address the challenges of standard 8mm (often referred to as Regular 8mm) which was introduced by Kodak in 1932. With the invention of the 50-foot cartridge, Super 8 made filmmaking more accessible for amateurs. A lot of well-known filmmakers actually got started making Super 8 movies at home, including Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, and Tim Burton.

Lānaʻi and Maui Vistas,  HKG Pilot Project Collection : Lānaʻi Culture and Heritage Center

Lānaʻi and Maui Vistas, HKG Pilot Project Collection : Lānaʻi Culture and Heritage Center

We have several Super 8 films here at ʻUluʻulu  in the Hawaiʻi Home Movies Collection, Joe Fumio Konno Collection, and HKG Pilot Project Collection among others. Click on the above image to get an idea of what footage shot on Super 8 film looks like – it’ll direct you to the Lānaʻi and Maui Vistas video clip on our website. The film, donated by the Lānaʻi Culture and Heritage Center, includes various footage of Lānaʻi and Maui shot on Super 8. Contact us to watch the full video as well as others in the archive that were shot on Super 8!

… You may very well have home movies on Super 8 film at home! Check your collections or talk with family to try to locate them. And, remember to keep and care for the original films – even if you’ve already digitized them. Feel free to contact us for advice and other help caring for your films :)

Happy Birthday Super 8!

Ask An Archivist Day


To kick off American Archives Month, on October 1st, ‘Ulu‘ulu will join archivists around the country and take to Twitter to respond to questions tweeted with the hashtag #AskAnArchivist. Take this opportunity to ask any questions you might have about ‘Ulu‘ulu’s collections, about archives or about the archivist profession in general! All you need to do is tweet your question with the hashtag on (or before) Thursday, Oct. 1. If your question is specifically intended for us, be sure to tag us @uluuluarchive so we won’t miss it.

Not sure what to ask? Here are a few questions we frequently get:

  • What does an archivist do?
  • How do you decide which videos to digitize?
  • What is the oldest film in your collection?
  • What’s your favorite video in your collection?
  • What’s your favorite Bruddah Iz song?
  • Which local restaurant makes the best mac salad?

Okay okay so I may have just made up the last two to make sure you’re paying attention. But hey, the point is ask anything you might be curious about. We look forward to seeing and answering your questions! We’ll do our best to get to each of them in a timely manner.

Introducing our 2015 Roselani Intern

We’re happy to introduce our first Roselani Media Preservation Intern at ‘Ulu‘ulu! April Rodriguez is from Selma, California. April earned a BA in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Technical & Design  from Cal State Hayward in 2005 and a MA in Library and Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2015. During her 6 week internship here at the archive, April will mainly be cataloging videotapes and assisting with other processing responsibilities.

Continue reading below to learn more about April and what she hopes to learn during her internship at ‘Ulu‘ulu.

Roselani Media Preservation Intern April Rodriguez

Roselani Media Preservation Intern April Rodriguez

What brought you here to ‘Ulu‘ulu? What are some of the things you’re hoping to learn during your internship with us?

How do I begin to answer this question…Ulu‘ulu has been on my radar for a while as one of those archives I needed to work at some day. ‘Ulu‘ulu is so appealing to me as an archivist because of its mission to preserve cultural material and because it is a moving image archive. Those working at the archive are about preserving the materials first and respectfully providing access second. There has been much discourse about access and about the duty of the library or archive as a public good to serve their community. I have been taught about protocols guiding accessibility to cultural materials and so I appreciate the sensitivity with which the people here at ‘Ulu‘ulu apply to the donors and the materials in the archive.

Also ‘Ulu‘ulu collection is mostly video and as a freshly minted grad student we learned that this type of format is in danger of being lost due to decay of the tape or the numerous parts within it.  Thus, I’m fascinated about how a fairly new archive on an island deals with this kind of dilemma?

Could you please share a little about the film preservation project you worked on with the Oneida Nation?

The Oneida Nation Film Preservation project involved collaboration between a federally recognized sovereign nation, the Oneida, of Wisconsin and graduate students in the Tribal Libraries, Archives, and Museums (TLAM) course at the University of Wisconsin – Madison School of Libraries and Information Studies. Oneida Nation has hundreds of boxes of film in their archive from a mid-1970s educational show called “Forest Spirits​.” Members from the Oneida Community such as their tribal historian and historical archivist wanted to digitize portions of the film in order to provide access. This included assistance with gathering the technology to view the film and a framework for prioritizing which films to digitize.

This project is just one example of the kind of sharing and learning that goes on in the TLAM course. I hope someday that a similar TLAM course based on Native Hawaiians will be offered by UH Mānoa’s library program.

April Rodriguez

What are you working on at ‘Ulu‘ulu ?

My days at the archive have been all about MAVIS. Merged Audio Visual Information System (MAVIS) is a program built specifically for audiovisual materials to be cataloged. Before I go more into MAVIS I should point out that
there is a lot of behind the scenes work that isn’t pretty that goes on at libraries and archives. Just like when I use Netflix or shop at Foodland, I search for what I want without giving it another thought as to how all this stuff was organized.

My job is to use MAVIS to organize parts of the collection so that it can be found when searched for.

What are your career goals?

Much like the ‘Ulu‘ulu moving image archive, I want to work for an archive that is affiliated with a creative entity. My focus is audiovisual material and I enjoy handling both the analog and the digital media.

I strive to develop into an excellent audiovisual archivist so that I can one day help underserved communities, be it indigenous peoples or performing artists, preserve their stories. In essence I want to be an archivist without borders.

So you’ve been here for a week or two now, what are you enjoying most about Hawai‘i? 

I look at this island as a person not from here and I see beauty in the sky, in the ocean, in the green mountains, and in the sunsets. I love the ocean and any chance I get I catch Bus 40 to the water.


Happy 125th Birthday to Duke Kahanamoku

Duke Kahanamoku (1890-1968) (image via Wikimedia Commons)

Today we remember Duke Kahanamoku who would have been 125! Hauʻoli lā hānau!  He is being remembered coast to coast — from New YorkWashington D.C. to Los Angeles and all points in between. Here in Hawaiʻi, don’t miss a very special exhibit on Duke Paoa Kahanamoku Exhibit at Bishop Museum through November 30th – you will love it!
At the archive, ʻUluʻulu has an audio recording from the eulogy delivered by Duke’s close friend and radio/TV personality Arthur Godfrey at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral calling this great Hawaiian man “the soul of dignity.”  Contact us if you would like to hear it!

Today in History – Aug. 12

On Aug. 12, 1898, the United States flag was hoisted over Hawai‘i in a ceremony at ‘Iolani Palace to formally recognize the annexation of Hawai‘i by the United States. In observance of the centennial of this occasion, the Hawaiian community held a march and vigil at ‘Iolani Palace. The Kūʻē Petitions were on display for public viewing and performances included historical re-enactments and music by Hawaiian rap group Sudden Rush.

We’ve recently digitized raw footage captured by Chris Skapik which documents these centennial events. Contact us to view the full videos!