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Fair by Elizabeth Rian

A grumpy woman dressed as Snow White spends an uncomfortable afternoon at a kid's birthday party. She confronts her worst insecurities, faces some old fears and becomes her own Prince Charming.

Long Project Description

Sarah St. John is on her way to a kid’s sixth birthday party, dressed as Snow White: Another day in Paradise. She’s heckled by construction workers, harangued by a bunch of kids, and to top it all off, finds out that the mansion in Kahala where her torture takes place belongs to her former high school nemesis, Kamaile Santos, the mother of the birthday girl. Kamaile has it all: a nice house, a hot husband, kids and a pool. Sarah compares herself and comes up short, (which is usually what happens when you compare yourself to others.) But through being forced to face what makes her uncomfortable, she is reminded that the grass is not always greener, and wherever you are is exactly where you’re supposed to be.

Developed during the 2023 Wāhine in Film Lab

Artist/Director Statement

This film is my attempt at an expression of gratitude for the values I get to live by, and for the place I get to call home. I believe the best art is intensely personal, and this is certainly that for me. I write best about interpersonal connections (almost always female friendships) and unlikely heroes who get themselves out of sticky situations. This story is about a woman who goes from thinking she’s not good enough/doesn’t have enough/doesn't do enough to believing that she is perfectly fine right where she is in life. Sometimes we just need an outside perspective to help us see clearly what we already know about ourselves: we’re enough, we have enough and we are doing just fine. I believe comedy is important and necessary. I wanted to write a funny story set in Hawaii, made by Hawaii people that would make audiences laugh and feel seen. Sure, Adam Sandler is funny and all, but I think it’s time that the shows and films set here are made by the people who are of this place, about real people who have real lives here. 

Connection to the story

When I moved home to Hawaii after living in LA for almost ten years, I was convinced that my exit was shameful and my move home even more so. I compared myself to everyone else around me and came up short. I was thirty two years old and dressed as Cinderella at Kahala Mall when a former high school classmate of mine sidled by with her husband and two kids. She was genuinely happy to see me, but the mean voice in my head told me she was judging me and she had every reason to: I was a loser without the things she had: money, a husband and kids. I listened to that voice for so long, and it was only relatively recently that I saw it as separate from my true self. This film is about that transformation in me, and it’s done in the only way I really know how to express myself: comedy. I am not the right person to tell this story; I am the only person to tell it because it’s mine and I lived it. It’s both intensely personal, AND, I hope, very relatable. My access to the story is my own wealth of knowledge working as a princess, and my own lived experience as a woman who is very hard on herself and needs gentle reminders to be…gentler.


I believe the themes addressed in my project are universal. Everyone of every age or gender has run into people from their pasts, compared themselves to these people and come up short. It just happens a lot more in Hawaii because it's a small island and everyone knows everyone else's business. I love talking to other local people who know my mom's best friend's ex husband's son and ask me if I'm still single or what I'm "up to". (I also hate it.)

Especially now, when there is such societal and cultural pressure to be "successful," to "make it," be a "girl boss" etc, it is important to see stories of people redefining success for themselves. What does it actually mean TO YOU to thrive, to be successful? I think people from every generation, from Gen Z to boomers and beyond, have asked themselves, "Am I doing this right? Should I have a house/wife/kids/money/retirement plan by now? What's wrong with me?"

Another important theme that is both timely and urgent is that of listening to yourself, and being in a place in which you CAN listen to yourself. There are a lot of "shoulds" out there, from what we take in on social media to what we see on TV to who we talk to out there in the real world. In addition to being realistic, flawed and funny human beings, the supporting characters in this story represent the gentler inner voice of the main character. The voice she has a harder time listening to. The one saying, 'It's gonna be OK. You're right where you're supposed to be. You're loved. This place is good to you. You have everything you need. You don't know anything about anyone else's life. Figure out how to enjoy your own."

The topic of women supporting each other and giving each other a perspective shift has never been more timely than right now. Look at the success of a film like Barbie: a film by and about women, for everyone. And a comedy, at that. Clearly now is the time to continue holding the door open for each other as female filmmakers, and saving seats for each other at the table.

Creative Team

Elizabeth Rian [WRITER/STAR/E.P.] 

Elizabeth is an actor and writer originally from Honolulu. Her network credits include Jane The Virgin, Magnum PI, Lifetime, Hallmark and more. She appeared in Justin Chon’s Sundance favorite, Jamojaya, acting opposite Anthony Keidis. Her first short film, Wasteland, premiered at the Los Angeles Women in Film Festival and was accepted into the California Women’s Film Festival, Wine Women and Film, and the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival. She is a two time fellow of the ‘Ohina Labs in Hawaii, and is a current fellow in the 2023 Wahine in Film Lab.

Jana Kealohokeakua Park [PRODUCER]

Born on Oʻahu and raised on Molokaʻi, Jana has been acting, writing, producing and directing since she was a young child. She's written and produced multiple plays, over a dozen award-winning short films, and served in various Producer roles on several feature films, including Google/Array-grant winner Moloka’i Bound. A SAG_AFTRA actress, Jana has performed in over a dozen plays, starred in tv/radio commercials, short and feature films, and co-starred on two seasons of Hawaii 5-0 (CBS). Films she’s helped produce include E Mālama Pono Willy Boy, Audience Award Winner for Best Short Film (Hawai'i International Film Festival) and Best Short Drama Winner (Māoriland Film Festival), Dillon, Best Short Film and Best Cinematography Winner (Worldwide Women's Film Festival) and My Partner, Audience Award Winner for Best Narrative Film (L.A. Asian Pacific Film Festival). Jana worked on Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch: Bloodline for all three seasons as well as on dozens of productions with clients including the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival, Kamehameha Schools, Disney, Louis Vuitton, Hawai’i Council for the Humanities, Adobe, Hawaii LGBT Legacy Foundation, and more. She currently serves as the Executive Director of Hawai'i Filmmakers Collective, a non-profit organization that supports independent filmmakers in Hawai’i, and teaches Film Production at Mid-Pacific School for the Arts. She was recently showcased as one of the featured filmmakers in the Emmy Award-winning documentary series Reel Wahine of Hawai’i.

Taylor Gruver [DIRECTOR] is a freelance filmmaker with experience in multiple areas of filmmaking including sound design, editing, writing, directing, and producing. After serving in the United States Coast Guard from 2009 to 2016, Taylor attended film school at City College of San Francisco. She received an Associates in Cinema Production and began working as a sound effects editor and assistant editor in the Bay Area.  Her directorial debut short film Highway 1 won multiple awards in festivals across the country. Taylor currently lives on Oahu and works across all aspects of production and post-production for commercials, television and feature films.

Keli'i Grace [Cinematographer] is a Director, Cinematographer and Editor. Often called a visual translator for his innate ability to bring to life the soul of a story, Grace imparts a feeling to each moment in a raw and authentic way. His prior client work includes Kamehameha schools, Honda, Nissan, Island Air and the Hawaii Army National Guard, and his short film "Reverence" premiered at the Hawai'i International Film Festival in 2019. His film "Ala Moana Boys" premiered at the Hawai'i International Film Festival and screened as an Official Selection at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and many other international fests. He recently completed filming "My Partner," a feature film set in rural Maui featuring Hawaiian and Filipino actors speaking 'ōlelo and Tagalog. His work on Project Kuleana, Hōkūleʻa and Ala Kukui reveal his resonant understanding of Hawaiian culture, and he is most proud of the work he has Kaipo Dudoit 



Contact information

Elizabeth Rian- EP, writer, lead actor

Jana Park- producer

Taylor Gruver- director/editor

Keli’i Grace- EP, cinematographer

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