HIFF 2016: Olympic Dreams and Plantation Memories and Kū Kanaka (Stand Tall)

preserving-olympic-dreams-and-plantation-memories-11x17-posterThis year, ‘Ulu‘ulu: The Henry Ku‘ualoha Guigni Moving Image Archive is very excited to have two films showing at the Hawaii International Film Festival that pull directly from our archival collections! The festival runs from Nov 3-13, 2016, and is a platform to illustrate international cinematic achievements in the Asia-Pacific region.

Preserving Olympic Dreams and Plantation Memories

The first film program Preserving Olympic Dreams and Plantation Memories is a partnership between ‘Ulu‘ulu, CLEAR (Center for Labor Education & Research) and the Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities as part of HIFF’s Film for Thought program series. The film screening features the newly restored and digitized 1984 Rice & Roses 30 minute documentary: COACH, produced by the Center for Labor, Education & Research. This half hour program tells the story of how Maui plantation kids trained in irrigation ditches in the 1930s and went on to win national and even Olympics championships under Coach Soichi Sakamoto. Archival raw footage and outtakes from this film will also be screened.

The archival footage related to COACH was preserved by ‘Ulu‘ulu as part of a collaborative partnership with the Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities and the Center for Labor Education & Research (CLEAR) at the University of Hawai‘i – West O‘ahu. This project began in 2015 with the aim to digitize and make accessible 95 hours of selected programs from the Rice & Roses television series produced by CLEAR and aired on PBS Hawai‘i from 1971 – 1996 that tells the stories of Hawai‘i’s labor history and our local plantation experience. This year’s HIFF screening is the first of several public programs about this new digital resource that will continue to take place in 2017.


This free screening event will be followed by a special panel discussion presented by ‘Ulu‘ulu. The panel discussion will include outtakes of never-before-seen footage that will be narrated by Julie Checkoway, writer of the New York Times bestseller, The Three-Year Swim Club. Other panelists include ʻUluʻulu Head Archivist Janel Quirante and COACH Director Joy Chong-Stannard.


Sunday, November 06, 2:00 PM at Dole Cannery C

Kū Kanaka (Stand Tall)


The second film, Kū Kanaka (Stand Tall), is directed by award-winning filmmaker and professor from the Academy for Creative Media department at University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Dr. Marlene Booth. Here, she tells the story of Kanalu Young and his strength while fighting for Hawaiian rights and the challenges of living as a quadriplegic.

Professor Booth used various resources from ‘Ulu‘ulu Archive to put together this intimate look at a powerful life.


Eager to impress his friends on an August afternoon in 1969, 15 year old Kanalu Young takes a dive into shallow water that changes his life forever. He hits his head and becomes quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down. Angry and defiant through months of rehabilitation, he begins to change when he learns Hawaiian language and discovers an untold story of Hawaiian history and culture. Fired up to tell Hawai‘i’s story, he earns a PhD, gets arrested fighting for Hawaiian rights, and becomes a crusading teacher and leader. Repeatedly stymied by pressure sores and respiratory problems, Kanalu soldiers on, driven to help transform his community by teaching history and practicing culture. Eventually hospitalized with a breathing tube to keep him alive, he asks his doctors to allow him to end his life, and they agree.

This film will be screened with feature film Ties That Bind: Hawai‘i in the Pacific. As part of HIFF’s Film For Thought program in partnership with the Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities the first screening of this program will be followed by a special extended discussion with director Marlene Booth (Kū Kanaka), director Caleb McMahan (Ties That Bind: Hawai‘i in the Pacific), and University of Hawai‘i professor Noelani Goodyear-Kaopua.


Monday, November 07, 8:00 PM at Dole Cannery B

Friday, November 11, 1:15 PM at Dole Cannery A

Sunday, November 20, 12:00 PM at Kauai Waimea Theater

Please be sure to stop by and view these films at this year’s festival!


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