Posts Tagged ‘R&D


Final Edition: Thoughts on DEADLINE

No, we're not in dark room to meet Deep Throat, we're here to get the info on journalism!

No, we’re not in dark room to meet Deep Throat, we’re here to get the scoop on journalism!

Last week Interisland Terminal hosted DEADLINE: A Journalism Film Series at R&D. Over the course of three nights three films were shown followed by a panel discussion with members of the Hawaii media/journalism community. For each film, panelists composed essays that were inspired by the film that preceded their panel.

I will concede that journalism and news reporting are neither my area of expertise nor an area that holds a lot of interest to me. The most I want from the news is for it to inform me should I happen to pick up a paper or catch Keahi Tucker on TV. My real interest in the film series was seeing the movies themselves and the related discussion to follow. What I got wasn’t what I was expecting, but it was fascinating and interesting nonetheless.

On the two nights I was able to attend, the post screening discussions veered largely into questions about journalism in today’s world. While I’ll get into some of the takeaways I got from the discussions in a bit, two things I do want to highlight were the insight and knowledge that the panelists brought to the conversation and the awesome moderating by Ben Trevino.

Wednesday night's panel (left to right) featuring moderator Ben Trevino, James Cave, Elizabeth Kieszkowski, and Keopu Reelitz.

Wednesday night’s panel (left to right) featuring moderator Ben Trevino, James Cave, Elizabeth Kieszkowski, and Keopu Reelitz.

Friday night's panel of Ben Trevino, Jared Kuroiwa, Jackie Perreira, and Burt Lum.

Friday night’s panel of Ben Trevino, Jared Kuroiwa, Jackie Perreira, and Burt Lum.

Each discussion started off with panelists relating the genesis of their essay to their film. While each essay was different, it was intriguing to see what kind of themes and questions each author pulled from their respective film; and given all of their different backgrounds in the field of journalism each provided unique insights and thought provoking questions and commentary in discussions.

On the moderator side of things, Ben provided excellent summations and pointed questions that keep the discussions moving and on track. I’ve been to a few Q&A’s and have listed to a bunch more and you can tell bad moderation from good. In bad cases a moderator will let either the audience or speaker ramble on longer than necessary or won’t be able to keep the discussion focused if it goes off track. While the Deadline film series audience and panelists were very cordial; Ben was able to distill a lot of good points from ongoing discussions and was never afraid to move the discussion in a new direction if needed to.

DEADLINE film series . . . The paper! (a collection of essays from the panelists)

DEADLINE film series . . . The paper! (a collection of essays from the panelists)

Here listed are the panelists that attended, the news organizations they work for, and the title of their essays to give you an idea of the collected experience that was on hand for discussion:

Good Night, and Good Luck – Wednesday, January 8

  • Elizabeth Kieszkowski (Star Advertiser): Taking Sides: Which Voices Can You Trust?
  • James Cave (The Offsetter): The Case of the Ugly Truth
  • Keopu Reelitz (Mana Magazine): Hi, I’m a Journalist. Would You Like to See My Baggage?

A Fragile Trust – Thursday, January 9

All the President’s Men – Friday, January 10

  • Jared Kuroiwa (KHON): Can There be a Woodward and Bernstein in 2014?
  • Jackie Perreira (Ka Leo): Who Watches the Watchdogs?
  • Burt Lum (Hawaii Public Radio): The Future of the News Looks Like Data

Some of the interesting tidbits that I took away were:

  • On the question of how do we trust reporting when people (reporters) take sides and have biases? (in relation to Kieszkowski’s and Reelitz’s essays) As demonstrated Edward R. Murrow in Good Night, and Good Luck; trust can be built by building a factual case and with good solid reporting. Build a strong enough case, and the truth is hard to dispute.
  • Reporters and journalists can build credibility with their audience with solid reporting and building a good track record over time.
  • In the area of citizen journalism–the jury is still out the credibility and verification of the reporting. Though it was only touched on in the discussion, my thoughts on citizen journalism are this: citizen journalism is very good at providing ‘of the moment’ news and information where news breaks. Can it do more? Probably. It will however, never replace the need for professional journalism. Professional journalists can not be everywhere at once–news breaks anywhere and at any time. Citizen journalists are everywhere (figuratively) and have the potential to break stories (ie, provide news and information) first.
  • Ultimately it is up to the audience whether or not they decide to trust the the news and media sources that they do. Today, especially with accessibility of the Internet, it is ultimately the audience that 1)chooses to accept and trust the news they get from the sources that they get it from and 2) challenge or verify any news on their own by their own means.
  • Brought up on the final night by Burt Lum–it’s not about trust in journalism, it’s what you do with the information that you consume.

I think that sums things up quite nicely.

With the conclusion of the DEADLINE film series, the Interisland Terminal peeps will be closing the door on their escapades in the R&D space they’ve called home for the past two years. While always meant to be temporary, having a venue to showcase the different projects and endeavors they like to do will definitely be missed. Not to worry though, the creative minds behind R&D will still be around, just a bit more mobile for the time being. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll get another film series from them. One can only hope.

More coverage on DEADLINE: A Journalism Film Series:

NonStop Honolulu gives a report on the first night of the film series by Tracy Chan.

HPR’s Bytemarks Cafe hosted Ben and James where they talked about the film series on air.

Gene Park’s essay A Cautionary Tale of Postmodern Journalism via The Offsetter.

Burt Lum’s essay The Internet of Things and the Future of Journalism via The Offsetter.


DEADLINE: A Journalism Film Series

The three films playing the in the DEADLINE films series.

The three films playing the in the DEADLINE films series starting tomorrow at R&D.

With the success of their science fiction film series Discontinuities in late August, Interisland Terminal and The Offsetter close out R&D (for real this time?) with one final event—and lucky for us it’s another film series! DEADLINE: A Journalism Film Series will focus on news, reporting, the changing landscape of media in Hawaii, and much more. The film series will include three films shown over the course of three nights, include essays from local journalists, and panel discussions following each film.

DEADLINE: A Journalism Film Series

Good Night, and Good Luck (2005) – Wed January 8, 7pm


Broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow looks to bring down Senator Joseph McCarthy. Directed by George Clooney the film stars David Strathairn as Edward R. Murrow with supporting roles from Patricia Clarkson, Robert Downey Jr., Ray Wise, Frank Langella, and Jeff Daniels (pre-Newsroom).

A Fragile Trust: Plagiarism, Power, and Jayson Blair at the New York Times (2013)
Thu January 9, 7pm


A documentary on Jayson Blair, the most infamous serial plagiarist of our time. He created a massive scandal that rocked the New York Times and the entire world of journalism a number of his stories that included plagiarized or fabricated information.

All the President’s Men (1976) – Fri January 10, 7pm


The classic journalism story of reporters Woodward (Robert Redford) and Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) who uncover the details of the Watergate scandal that led to President Nixon’s resignation.

When I asked event organizers James Cave and Benjamin Trevino about how the focus on journalism for the film series came about, here’s what they had to say:

Having worked as arts and culture editor at the Honolulu Weekly, I noticed that there was a lack of critical dialogue in terms of local art reviews. And for a long time I’ve wanted host a panel discussion with local artists, art writers, and newspaper and magazine editors to find out why this is the case here. I spent a lot of time at R/D and eventually ended up working at the coffee shop there, and when Ben’s sci-fi fest came up, and was successful, we realized we could do the same approach—films, essays, panel discussions—and apply it to journalism. But we would have to take the idea of the art criticism panel (because that was too niche) and expand it to include the state of all local news media as it is today.

Last year, with the demise of the Honolulu Weekly and launch of Huffington Post Hawaii (old media dying and new media expanding), we figured we could screen some films and invite local media professionals to write their concerns and come talk about the changes happening in the way people deliver and consume news both locally and nationally.

-James Cave, The Offsetter

On coming up with the issues & themes for the film series at a gathering at R&D last month:

We got together to watch Page1: Inside the New York Times, a really expansive documentary about all kinds of contemporary news issues (unfortunately not a part of the film series) and there were a number of great themes: the business of journalism and whose interests should support news reporting, the interplay between professional and citizen journalists, the value of transparency but also the costs it imposes on news organizations. All of those ideas flourished into wonderful essays that are being released as a part of the series.

-Benjamin Trevino, Interisland Terminal

On what they hope people take away from the film series:

[The film series] is open to everybody, not just media people, because we want to provide a discussion platform for journalists, editors, publishers, and readers to come and try and figure out what we all want out of a local news industry and where we might try to go in the years ahead.

-James Cave, The Offsetter

Journalism is essential to citizenship. News / Social media are our eyes and ears on the things that are important to us. I hope that people walk away from the DEADLINE screenings and discussions with their own ideas on how to improve news reporting to work for them. I hope people walk away skeptical of everything they read, but not cynical about journalism. And I hope they feel empowered to demand more from our local media, who I truly believe are seeking an invested audience as much as we readers are seeking quality investigation.

-Benjamin Trevino, Interisland Terminal

Tickets for any of the films in the series are on sale at Eventbrite for $8 (+processing fee). However, you can purchase a discounted All Access Press Pass for $15 (+processing fee) which allows you to see all the films AND gets you the printed essay collection from the series.

If you’re any type of a cinephile or news junkie, you’ll definitely want to check out DEADLINE and experience some great films and good discussion with like minded people.


Film and Music at R&D

Welcome to R&D.

Kaka‘ako has seen a resurgence as of late. There are tons of redevelopment plans in the works, but even more noticeable is the emergence of a network of artists and artistic expression in the neighborhood. Driving along Pohukaina Street and even along parts of Ala Moana Blvd you can see the cool handy work of Pow Wow Hawai‘i as their public murals grace the walls of businesses and construction sites throughout the area.

It’s in this urban environment that Interisland Terminal opened R&D, a collaborative/creative cafe furthering their mission of presenting international contemporary art, design, and film while also advancing the role of the arts in innovation. R&D serves up coffee and free wifi, but don’t be fooled, this isn’t a Starbucks. Tables and chairs are all modular and can be setup or rearranged to accommodate a variety of different groups and collaborative work. And if you need some inspiration or something to get your creative juices flowing, art and design books line the walls for perusal (and purchase).

Music Docs Fest @ R&D

As part of their year round programming, Interisland Terminal showcases certain films or puts on film series at R&D; which is what brought me there this past Tuesday. This week they are currently presenting Music Docs Fest, a documentary series of four stories that dive into the artists and music that has defined their lives and ours.

The four films in the series are:

  • Charles Bradley, Soul of America (Tue Sept 25)
    The incredible rise to fame of 63-year-old aspiring soul singer Charles Bradley, whose debut album took him from a hard life in the Brooklyn Housing Projects to Rolling Stone Magazine’s top 50 albums of 2011.
  • Big Easy Express (Wed Sept 26)
    Folk rock and bluegrass musicians Mumford & Sons, Old Crow Medicine Show and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes travel together by train from San Francisco to New Orleans in the spring of 2011.
  • Blank City (Thu Sept 27)
    During the punk rock stage in the late ’70s, downtown New York experienced a wave of “Do it yourself” independent filmmaking.
  • Shut Up and Play the Hits: The Final Days of LCD Soundsystem (Fri, Sept 28)
    On April 2nd 2011, LCD Soundsystem played its final show at Madison Square Garden. Documenting this once in a life time performance and an intimate portrait of James Murphy as he navigates the lead-up to the show, the day after, and the personal and professional ramifications of his decision.

Charles Bradley, Soul of America

Can you feel it? The emotion in the man’s performance is infectious.

I had the opportunity to check out the opening night film of the Fest, Charles Bradley, Soul of America. What drew me to the film was the sound of Bradley’s voice and the seemingly effortless way he puts emotion into his singing as well as his amazing rise in popularity as a musical artist. The film does not paint an easy picture for Bradley as he left home at an early age and moved around a great deal. Through all his struggles he discovered that he had a talent for singing and went by the alter ego “Black Velvet” covering James Brown songs. It was under this auspiciousness that Bradley was discovered by Gabriel Roth of Daptone Records which would eventually go on become Bradley’s producer and record label.

The most intriguing thing I took away from the film was that Bradley’s career seemed to have taken off when he changed from impersonating James Brown and began singing his own, more personal songs. His songs give him a uniqueness and personalization that I think was missing from his alter ego. The talent seemed to always be there, but the feeling and soul that he puts into his own music is something I think that the audience responds to. I know I certainly picked up on it.

Screening @ R&D

R&D setup for film screenings.

As a venue for films, R&D is a nice intimate space. As I mentioned earlier, seating is modular so the space was configured for film presentation with the screen towards the front of the cafe, blocking the windows and light from the street. The screen is big enough so that everyone in the room should have a pretty good view of the screen and the sound projection is audible and clear no matter where you’re sitting. Speaking of sitting, single seats were arranged on the lower floor with tables and chairs setup on the upper floor. As for seating capacity, it looked like the space could comfortably accommodate an audience of 25, though I’m sure it could handle double that (depending on what the maximum occupancy is).

The one quibble I did have was with the chairs/seats. They are rectangularly shaped, made of wood, and when not in use are stacked up against the wall and used as shelf space. Sitting on them for an extended period of time may not be the most comfortable experience since there is no back to your seat or padding. However, if you’re engrossed in what you’re watching, you probably won’t even notice.

On the whole it was a great experience and I look forward to future film exhibitions at Interisland Terminal’s R&D.

The Music Docs Fest continues tonight at R&D with the 7pm screening of Blank City and concludes tomorrow night with Shut Up and Play the Hits. R&D is located at 691 Auahi Street, right around the corner from Hank’s Haute Dogs.

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