Posts Tagged ‘Hawaii


Don’t Let the Honoka’a People’s Theatre Go Dark!

The grand dame of Honoka'a.

The grand dame of Honoka’a.

Here on Oahu we’re fortunate enough to have a number of different theaters to choose from when we want to go to the movies. As the years have gone on, cinema and the movie going experience has changed and theaters have had to struggle to keep up or face going out of business. The biggest success story is probably our very own Consolidated Theatres which boasts nearly 100 years of “Entertaining Hawaii.” However, many of the small and community based movie houses that were quite prevalent 40-50 years ago have nearly all disappeared (more here).

On the Big Island, one of these small town movie houses is still in existence and to this very day and still provides an awesome cinema experience and public service for its community. The grand dame of Honoka’a, The Honoka’a People’s Theatre, was built in in 1930 and since then has been creating a unique cinema experience for the community for 84 years. On-going renovations since the 90s have diversified the theatre’s use and it has also become a renowned venue for live performances. Here’s a bit more info on the Honoka’a People’s Theatre from their website:

The People’s Theatre is the largest theatre on Hawaii Island, with 525 seating capacity and a large 50 foot screen. The theatre has a DTS surround sound system, 35 mm and digital film projectors, a 50 ft stage, dance floor, 30 stage lights, 4 roving scanner lights, two side balconies, dressing rooms, basic live PA, and a grand piano. The lobby hosts a concession stand, dining area, and ticket booth. Available upstairs for performers during large events is a greenroom area with a kitchen and lounge area.

The People's Theatre back in the day.

The People’s Theatre back in the day.

Though the Honoka’a People’s Theatre has managed to stay open, they are currently facing the same issue that many small mom and pop and single screen community theaters across the country have faced in recent years: digital conversion. With film prints almost entirely phased out by the big studios (Disney, Fox, Sony, Warner Bros, Paramount) theaters have had to convert to digital projectors or face shutting down. While the People’s Theatre may not shut down, they’ll definitely lose a big chunk of their history if they are unable to continue to show movies.

Currently the Honoka’a People’s Theatre is hosting a number of fund raising events in an effort to raise the $60,000 they need to secure a DCI-compliant digital projector. Along with these events, they have also created a campaign on Kickstarter to help those that want to donate. As of this posting they are about $22,000 away from reaching their goal with five weeks left to go.

Inside the theatre with a view of the screen, stage, and some of the 525 seats the theatre holds.

The interior of the theatre as it appears today with a view of the screen, stage, and some of its 525 seats.

The Red Band Project was fortunate enough to visit the Honoka’a People’s Theatre earlier this summer, and though we weren’t able to take in a show, we did get feel for how “grand” the grand dame of Honoka’a is. As lovers of movies and the cinema experience, the Red Band Project has already backed the Kickstarter campaign and now we put it out there for you to donate. Though you may never set foot in the Honoka’a People’s Theatre, please consider donating (even a small amount) as unique cinema experiences such as this are hard to come by these days, especially in Hawaii.

For more information about the Honoka’a People’s Theatre, check out their website or Facebook page. For more on the history and personal recollections of the theatre, see the piece written for Hana Hou magazine. If you’d like to donate to their fundraising efforts, head over to their Kickstarter page and leave a few bucks for a good cause!

See their Kickstarter video below:


Barbarian at the Gates

The movie poster for Princess Kaiulani on display at the Consolidated's Kahala & Ward Theaters in anticipation of it's May 14 release here in the islands.

It might not be Iron Man 2, but the local release of Princess Kaiulani next week Friday, May 14 is nearly upon us. Back in October there was a lot of attention being drawn towards the film, particularly because: 1) it was a depiction of a historical Hawaiian figure shot here in Hawaii, 2) it was going to get it’s first on screen, real audience appearance at the Hawaii International Film Festival, and 3) it’s former name, ‘Barbarian Princess,’ was not sitting well with many locals and those in the Hawaiian community. As such it debuted at HIFF to record crowds, so much so that additional screenings were added to fill the demand.

With such an enormous amount of hype and hoopla surrounding the film’s debut at HIFF, I’m actually kind of surprised there’s not more attention being drawn to the film now that distributor Roadside Attractions is going to give the film a limited release here in the islands and in select theaters across the country (Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Diego, San Francisco, Phoenix, New York–with the possibility of wider expansion to follow).

At the time of HIFF in October, I was a little skeptical that anyone would be able to see this picture outside of the film festival circuit. To my knowledge no other feature film about Hawaiian history had ever been shown in theaters (Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor doesn’t count). I mean, what kind of market is out there for a movie like this? Obviously this is going to play to the indie film niche, but would people outside of Hawaii be interested in seeing this? Never the less, I’m still rather excited that this film is going to get an honest to God theatrical release. I wouldn’t be surprised if it even gets reviewed on At The Movies.

One noticeable difference between the film then and now is the obvious title change. As I mentioned earlier, during production and at HIFF the film went by it’s original title, ‘Barbarian Princess.” After being picked up by Roadside Attractions I guess they felt that the title needed to be changed. During HIFF I crafted this post which advocated for keeping the title as is because I believed (and still do) that the juxtaposition of the title with what is shown on screen will make people think and ultimately realize that she wasn’t wasn’t the title, or her critics during that time, labeled her as.

However, I’m fine with the name change now because I can see how the title would make it difficult to market the film to a large audience. I think the mentality is that by making the title more straightforward, it won’t confuse potential moviegoers. Say what you will, but I can see how Barbarian Princess might confuse some people into thinking that this is some kind of 10,000 BC sequel. In any case, check out the trailer for Princess Kaiulani below:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Biased or not, I think the trailer sells the movie. All that’s left is for everyone to go see it!

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