The Films of Eddie and Myrna Kamae, From the Heart – The Hawaiian Legacy Foundation

Eddie Kamae

PBS Hawai‘i is partnering with The Hawaiian Legacy Foundation to present a televised and online film festival, The Films of Eddie and Myrna Kamae, From the Heart. This showcase will feature all 10 award-winning documentaries in Eddie and Myrna Kamae’s Hawaiian Legacy Series, released between 1988 and 2007.

This past March, ‘Ulu’ulu Moving Image Archive completed a project preserving and making accessible production materials, raw footage and interviews from Listen to the Forest, one of the films from the documentary series. In total we have digitized 84 tapes from this title.

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Our Archives Project Assistant, Hoku Ka’aha’āina, was tasked with creating descriptions of the files. Below she discusses her experience and highlights moments captured by Eddie and Myrna Kamae that is now preserved for future generations.

Some people believe that they can choose their own fate and control every aspect of it.  Some find that their path has been chosen for them. Others discover that life is made up of a collection of uncanny little moments that help guide them in their life’s work.  Eddie and Myrna Kamae are two such people who fall into this last category with their creation of The Hawaiian Legacy Foundation.

Weaving together the knowledge of kupuna, the stories of the land, and the voices of the Hawaiian people; The Hawaiian Legacy Foundation produced a wealth of documentaries dedicated to preserving Hawaiian culture.  In an effort to make the entirety of that wealth available to those who seek it, The Hawaiian Legacy Foundation has donated the raw footage (over 400+ tape’s worth!) of all their documentaries to ‘Ulu’ulu to house and digitize its materials.

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Interview with ethnobotanist Beatrice “Bea” Krauss tape 1 – Listen to the Forest

As for my part in the process, I worked primarily with Listen to the Forest, a program dedicated to the first Hawaiians: the flora and fauna of this land.  Luckily, I began my work just after all the digital files had been created and returned to ‘Ulu’ulu, so my first experience in archiving was rather enjoyable.  After briefly checking the digital files for quality control, my next job was to watch and create descriptions for each file.  This meant giving a 2-3 sentence summary of the content, noting any places or people shown in the video, and assigning subject tags for every file.  I also chose a section of the video that would be used as a clip on ‘Ulu’ulu’s website.

Watching all the footage has been an incredibly enlightening and gratifying experience.  Ever since graduating from high school, I’ve always only been home in Hawai’i in passing, on my way from one moment in life to the next.  Now that I’ve taken up residence a bit more permanently, my experience with watching Listen to the Forest really spoke to me. It reminded me of who I was as a Hawaiian, while also bestowing me with new knowledge and the curiosity to learn more.  In a few weeks, a kupuna told me stories about the Kumulipo, the creation. Academic experts informed me about the lives of happy face spiders.  The Sons of Hawaii taught me the lyrics to a song about a flower that the birds love to feast on.  I visited islands I had never set foot on.  With so much going on, I couldn’t help but get caught up in the excitement that each contributor brought to the project.

Some of my personal highlights in the Listen to the Forest include watching footage of birds such as the `i`iwi.  I’ve never seen or heard one in person before, so I was happy to see and hear it crank out its raucous song.

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Speaking of birds and songs, before The Sons of Hawai`i starts playing “Sweet Hāhā`aiakamanu” in one video, Braddah Smitty cracks a joke about needing to make sure they tune up well because the birds will know if they sing and play off-key.  I giggle a bit every time I think about that, but it must be true.  Have you ever heard a bird sing out of tune before?

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Another favorite was Pualani Kanaka`ole Kanahele chanting the Kumulipo out on the lava fields.  I enjoy seeing colors brighter than real life, so the vibrancy of my video player was set high when I first started watching the footage. The atmosphere was dark, and the sky was stained red, and there Kupuna Kanahele was, donning her kīkepa and haku lei. I was wondering what she could be chanting out there, what message could deserve such a background, and then when I listened closely to the words, that was when I realized that it was the Kumulipo.  It was perfect that they could get such a great shot of nature that truly looked like the creation of the world to reflect the chant.

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Now that I look back at some of my favorites, I feel like I should’ve included deeper ideas, more about nature conservation and culture and less “I liked this because it sounded nice/was funny/looked cool.”  But on closer inspection, all of my picks include music and song, whether it be produced by bird, stringed instrument, or through a person’s voice.  Music is a huge part of Hawaiian culture, and I’d like to think that that was the reason why I was drawn to those moments.  With Eddie’s lifelong experience with music, I’m sure the Kamaes crafted their documentaries with exactly that in mind.

In the end, I’m very proud to have worked on creating access to materials from The Hawaiian Legacy Foundation.  I believe that it has become a part of my own collection of uncanny little moments that will help guide me in my life’s work.

In conjunction with PBS Hawaii’s film festival, for the first two weeks of April, ‘Ulu’ulu will be playing recently digitized footage from Listen to the Forest in the exhibit space. Please be sure to stop by or contact us to request the footage in full!

You can view clips and request full streaming access through our website.

More resources will be added, so always check back!

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Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month and we decided to reflect on the resources in our archive that demonstrate and acknowledge the strength of women in Hawaii’s history. This selection of videos highlights the contributions of women and their engagement in changing the understanding of where women are situated within the social and political landscape of Hawaii.

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Hanapbuhay Filipina: Looking for Work in Hawaii

Description: A look at Filipino immigrant women and their problems with finding suitable employment in Hawaiʻi.

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Hannah Springer Interview May 30, 1995

Description: Hannah Springer interview May 30, 1995. Hannah discusses topics such as women in Hawaiian leadership roles, subsistence living, origin of Hawaiian pig hunting, transmission of Hawaiian knowledge, and tradition.

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First Friday: The Unauthorized News: Native Women Poets (July 1991)

Description: Poetry Readings by Native Hawaiian Women Dana Naone Hall and Haunani-Kay Trask and Native American Woman Joy Harjo. The reading was presented on June 6, 1991.

Her_Majesty

Her Majesty: Lili’ukalani

Description: Documentary about Queen Liliʻuokalani and her life; before and after the overthrow. Features interviews with people who knew her intimately including Aunty Alice Namakelua.

View our web theme on WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH for more archival footage!

Paid 2017 Summer Roselani Media Preservation Internship

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Applications are now being accepted for the 2017 Roselani Media Preservation Internship at ‘Ulu‘ulu Moving Image Archive!

The student selected as the 2017 Roselani Intern must be committed to the preservation of our media history and enrolled in a moving image or archival academic program. Working side-by-side with experienced archivists, the intern will gain practical experience in a moving image archive.

The intern will receive a $3,000 stipend.

Application Form and Instructions may be downloaded here.

Key dates:

January 15 – March 15: Applications accepted

April 1: Selection made

May – September: Internship takes place over 6-8 consecutive weeks (200 hours)

Interested in what a Roselani Media Preservation Internship is like? Meet some of our former interns:

2016 Roselani Intern – https://hkgarchives.org/2016/08/15/introducing-our-2016-roselani-intern/

2015 Roselani Intern – https://hkgarchives.org/2015/09/08/roselani-intern/

ʻUluʻulu 2016 Highlights

Aloha!

Looking back at 2016 we wish to congratulate University of Hawai’i – West O’ahu in providing quality education to the people of Hawai’i for four decades. ‘Ulu’ulu, Hawai’i’s moving image archive officially opened to the public in 2012 when the university moved to its permanent location in Kapolei. Four years have passed quickly since we opened on the ground floor of the library and we continue to grow everyday. 2016 has been another banner year thanks to you, our donors and supporters!

We’d like to take a moment to share some of the highlights of 2016 with you. Click here to view the ʻUluʻulu 2016 Highlights report on our new collections, digital preservation projects, television and film premieres and more.

We have accomplished a lot in 2016 and just wait for what we have in store next year!  Mahalo piha for your support!

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Aloha `oe Keala!!

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‘Ulu’ulu is saying farewell to Keala Richard, who began her adventure at the archive as a volunteer and later became the project assistant for the Hawaiian Legacy Foundation Collection. While we are sad to see her go, we are happy to see her off as a graduate from the LIS program at UH Mānoa and as the new acquisitions support specialist for the Richardson School of Law Library.

Mahalo nui for all your hard work!! A hui hou!

How did you learn about ‘Ulu‘ulu and why did you decide to work here?

My path to ‘Ulu’ulu was actually kind of a long one. I first became aware of ‘Ulu’ulu in my second semester of grad school, during an intro to archives course taken in the fall of 2015. My instructor invited head archivist Janel Quirante and her Roselani scholarship intern to discuss the work they completed over the summer. I was instantly fascinated, and later in the semester I jumped at the chance to take Janel’s moving image archive course in Spring 2016. That course was taught online, but I really wanted to actually get into the archive and do hands-on work. I used two assignments in an archives seminar as an excuse to tour ‘Ulu’ulu and complete a mini-internship project. After the initial introduction, I practically begged Janel to let me volunteer in the archive, because I saw it as an opportunity to not only have fun with the mini-internship assignment, but also build on the knowledge she was teaching me in her online course. That volunteer project, processing the Tom Coffman collection, was originally intended to be a precursor to a semester long internship in the Fall of 2016, but eventually led to me being brought on part-time as the Hawaiian Legacy Foundation project assistant instead!

Could you share a little about the work you did with the Hawaiian Legacy Foundation Collection?

The majority of my time has been spent creating initial item level descriptive cataloging entries for the 684 videotapes in the first acquisition of the HLF collection. This means that in addition to performing basic inspections, identifying series, and assigning locations in the vault, I get to examine each tape individually to create new catalog records. Not only do I identify formats and transcribe labels, I also consult notes provided by the HLF archivist, watch HLF productions, and draft communications for vendors and our donor.

Was there anything about the videos you worked with that was surprising or unexpected?

I started working with the footage shot for Listen to the Forest because it was designated as the core of this project, but as I moved on to other productions I started to see the same names and places over and over. What emerged, rather than a series of individual documentaries on various topics, was a longer kind of narrative history, documenting the collective knowledge of a special hui, many of whom were respected kupuna, and situated in a very specific place. That realization of the larger context and mission of Hawaiian Legacy Foundation was wonderful.

You’ve just graduated from the Library and Information Sciences program at UH Mānoa, where are you headed now and what will you be doing there?

I’m going to Disneyland! Just kidding, after a short break back home on Big Island, I actually will be starting at the Richardson School of Law Library at UH Manoa in January. I’ll be the new acquisitions support specialist, which means I will assist the acquisitions and technical services librarian with adding and cataloging new materials into the collection. I’ll communicate with their vendors, place and receive orders, manage budget allocations, import records from OCLC… you get the idea. I’m really excited to learn about the Law school and the specific needs of their students, plus I’ll be working in an aspect of the LIS profession that is almost entirely new to me. It’s an adventure!

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Now that you have worked as a Moving Image Archivist, what is your favorite archival media format and why?

Working with the HLF collection this year I’ve secretly been calling myself QueenBSP. Get it?  Queen Bee…SP? It’s a bad pun, I know, but the majority of the collection actually consists of Betacam and Betacam SP video tapes and I’ve gotten particularly acquainted with the format, almost sentimentally attached! There’s something whimsical about holding up a tape that’s bigger than your face, and not coming from a creative media background, broadcast formats seem oddly foreign and exotic. Working with them was always fun. That being said, I think everyone who works here or any other moving image archive is particularly drawn to older formats, especially film. I remember returning from my summer internship and seeing all of the 16mm reels deposited by Hawaiian Airlines and flipping out. Also, I may or may not have taken a selfie in vault where all of the cans are stored. Don’t judge me, they’re so cool!

Finally, do you have any recommendations for Holiday-themed movies or TV shows that feature libraries, archives, or archival footage?

This is really hard. Aside from the obvious (Harry Potter series), or the nostalgic (Beauty and the Beast), my favorite library-featuring entertainment isn’t technically Holiday-themed at all. I feel like every year leading up to the annual Christmas special, BBC America runs a Doctor Who marathon, which is probably where I first saw the episode “Silence in the Library.” Even before I went to library school, that was one of my favorites. Now that I’ve spent so much time focusing on preservation, there’s an added level of enjoyment for me in watching a beloved sci-fi series interpret something mundane like integrated pest management as essentially a deadly swarm of flesh-eating book mites.

 

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.

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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.

Screening:

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

Kū Kanaka (Stand Tall)

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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.

Synopsis:

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.

Screening:

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!

Introducing our 2016 Roselani Intern

‘Ulu‘ulu is pleased to welcome Sarah Smith as this year’s Roselani Media Preservation Intern! Sarah lives in Long Beach, California, where she received a BA in Film and Electronic Arts with an emphasis in film history and theory at California State University: Long Beach. She recently graduated from the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation in Rochester, NY located at the George Eastman Museum where she became a certified film archivist and fell in love with handling nitrate film. She is currently finishing her Master’s in Library and Information Science with an emphasis in digital curation and archival science at the San Jose State University in California.

We asked Sarah a few questions to learn more about her.

Roselani Media Preservation Intern Sarah Smith

Roselani Media Preservation Intern Sarah Smith

Could you please share a little about your Master’s Thesis on cataloguing systems in motion picture archives?

Something unique about my Master’s degree is that I am choosing to do a thesis. Most students in my program decide to do a portfolio which takes a semester, but I wanted a challenge. For my thesis I will be exploring the various cataloging systems in motion picture archives and how they have an overall lack of standards. This lack of standards makes it impossible to share information easily amongst one another, or with the general public. I will be using a sample group of archives choosing one of each type of archive in the United States: a regional archive, a museum affiliated archive, a government run archive, a film studio archive, and an archive attached to an educational institution. I will be done with my classes in the fall and hope to start my thesis next Spring!

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

After I finished up my program at Selznick I wanted to experience a different type of archive. George Eastman is a large established archive that has a variety of types of collections. Its mission is also connected to the Museum. ‘Ulu’ulu appealed to me because it was a regional archive in a very different climate than George Eastman, and it had many different resources. ‘Ulu’ulu was going to be a challenge for me, hence an amazing learning experience. When I received the internship offer I said yes immediately. I was scared to leave home again, but just being here the last two weeks has shown me I made the best decision for myself as a film archivist, and will definitely help me further my career. Throughout my experience here I hope to learn to work in a completely new archival setting with different types of tools at my disposal. I will be inspecting more 16mm film than I did at George Eastman, and I hope to feel just as comfortable working with it as I do 35mm. I also will be working with a new cataloging system, and I cannot wait to separate myself from my library and George Eastman cataloging experiences and learn another archive’s system. By the end of my internship I feel confident that all of these goals will be met. I am into my second week here and I have already started falling in love with 16mm and how ‘Ulu’ulu functions as a regional archive.

Sarah Smith - Roselani Intern 2016

What are you working on at ‘Ulu‘ulu ? What are your career goals?

My main task at ‘Ulu’ulu is working with a large donation of film from Hawaiian Airlines. It is mostly promotional films made in the 1970s and 80s about new planes that were being promoted at the time, and the airline itself. I will also be working with and performing quality checks on a group of digital files that are completely in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian language)! My experience at the archive is actually helping me work towards my future career goal, which is to be a collection manager, hopefully managing nitrate film. As a collection manager I would oversee a specific collection in an archive, such as the acetate or nitrate film collections. This includes the management of the archive’s vaults temperature and humidity, what is in the collection, and what goes in and out of the vault at all times. A collection manager also oversees those who directly work with items in that collection. At ‘Ulu’ulu I am helping taking notes about the temperature and humidity of the vaults, and I am inspecting the Hawaiian Airlines 16mm and 35mm film they have in their collection and cataloging them. At the end of my internship I will write a report to make suggestions for the collection and archive. This is collection management experience on a small scale.

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

My short time in Oahu has been an adventure. I haven’t spent much time exploring because working 40 hours a week makes me a little tired, but the few times I have been out have been a blast! I have spent a little time in Honolulu exploring Chinatown and the night scene, but the beauty of the North Shore is my favorite part of Oahu. My greatest adventure was my first weekend on the island. I spent a few hours at the Dole Plantation making sure I got a Dole Whip, my favorite dessert at Disneyland. It was amazing to have it at the plantation, and was high on my Oahu “bucket list.” The number one on this list was swimming with a green sea turtle. After the Dole Plantation I drove up to Ali’i Beach Park in Haleiwa on the North Shore. Here I spent a little time swimming in the ocean for the first time and to my surprise a sea turtle swam right along side me. That has to be my favorite memory so far. I am planning on spending some more time with the sea turtles, going to Waikiki beach, and visiting Pearl Harbor before I leave. I am thankful that this internship has given me opportunities to not only grow as a film archivist, but to meet people and also do things that I might never have gotten the chance to do without participating in it.