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The Wind and the Reckoning

Kauai, it’s time to put on the comfy pants and take a spin out west to the historic Waimea Theatre, to watch The Wind and the Reckoning—the world’s very first Hawaiian language film with international distribution!

Kauai movie theator

The Wind & the Reckoning had its world premiere at the Boston Film Festival on September 24, 2022, where it won Best Film. The film also won two awards, the Kumeyaay Award, and the Audience Choice Best Feature, at the San Diego International Film Festival.  Now, the film is being screened here in Hawaii as part of HIFF, the Hawaii International Film Festival.

Kauai film permierThe movie is set in 1893, on the island of Kauai, after the Hawaiian Kingdom had been overthrown by U.S. agents and citizens, and just as an outbreak of leprosy engulfs the tropical paradise. The new government orders all Native Hawaiians suspected of having leprosy banished permanently to the Kalaupapa Leprosy Colony on the island of Moloka’i, that had come to be known as “the island of the living grave”. When a local cowboy named Ko’olau and his young son Kalei contract the dreaded disease, they refuse to allow their family to be separated, sparking an armed clash with brutal white island authorities that will make Ko’olau and his wife, Pi’ilani heroes for the ages—evading authorities for three years by hiding in the Kalalau Valley on Kauai’s Napali Coast. The film is based on real-life historical events as told through the memoirs of Pi’ilani published in 1906, titled Ka Moolelo oiaio o Kaluaikoolau (The True Story of Kaluaikoolau).

The movie was filmed primarily during the Covid-19 pandemic on a ranch on the Big Island, and about 80% of the film is spoken in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, the Hawaiian language, which is considered critically endangered by UNESCO– the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Actor and martial artist Jason Scott Lee, who is of Hawaiian and Chinese descent and who was raised in Hawaii, stars as Ko’olau. Although he has no relation to Bruce Lee, Jason Scott Lee portrayed him in the 1994 biopic Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. He also starred as Mowgli in the live-active 1994 adaptation of The Jungle Book, and voiced David Kawena for Lilo & Stich in 2002, among many other roles on stage, film, and TV.

On making The Wind and the Reckoning, Jason Scott Lee told Honolulu’s KHON2 News,

“I am not a Native speaker, and I was never educated in the Hawaiian language, so it was the most challenging thing in my career as an actor working with dialogue.  It’s one thing to learn it, but it’s another thing to perform it and so those are the things that, man, we kind of pat ourselves on the back, myself and the other actors who did speak in the show because I think we grabbed an authenticity.”

Na Pali Coast Tours

Here at Holo Holo Charters, we can’t wait to see the film! Our Kauai boat tours travel along the Kalalau Valley every day, and knowing this story will add more layers of history and imagination to a place that’s already so unbelievably lush and legendary.

We’re also looking forward to simply hearing the sound of ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi for the movie’s running time of one hour and thirty-four minutes! It’s a beautiful language and not that often that many of us have the opportunity to hear extended dialogue.

Most of all, we’re thrilled to think of all the ways this movie might inspire the keiki, the kids, the next generation. This portrayal of one of the most epic tales in Hawaiian seems very likely to directly inspire some number of kids to study and preserve ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi and to artistically share and honor Hawaiian history.

And that’s exactly why we’ve teamed up with our friends at Kipu Ranch Adventures to sponsor a November 18th screening of The Wind and the Reckoning for 200+ kids from four Hawaiian charter schools: Kanuikapono Public Charter School, Kawaikini Public Charter School, Kula Aupuni Niihau A Kahelelani Aloha School, and Ke Kula Niihau O Kekaha Public Charter School.

Sponsorships like these are our company’s kuleana. Kuleana is a uniquely Hawaiian value and practice which is loosely translated to mean “responsibility.” The word kuleana refers to a reciprocal relationship between the person who is responsible, and the thing which they are responsible for.

For example, Hawaiians have a kuleana to the land: to care for it and to respect it, and in return, the land has the kuleana to feed, shelter, and cloth the people. Through this relationship, a balance is maintained between society and our natural environment.

In this case, our kuleana is to our island’s keiki and the perpetuation of Hawaii’s unique language, stories, and culture.

Showtimes for The Wind and the Reckoning at the historic Waimea Theatre include:

  • November 17th – 6:30pm, opening night presented by HIFF
  • November 18th – 9:30am, the matinee screening for the four Hawaiian Charter Schools
  • November 19th – 12pm
  • November 20th – 11 am
  • November 21st – 24th– 7pm

Hope you can find time to support HIFF and the Waimea Theater and see this groundbreaking ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi film on the big screen for yourself!

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