Recently, we collaborated with Waiwai Collective to present Amplifying Youth Voices, a special presentation of short films produced during our 2018 Making Media That Matters program. Ka Waiwai is truly a special place and we could not have been more excited to hold a screening there.
We started the evening by gathering in “the vault” at the back of Ka Waiwai. We ate ʻono Hawaiian food from Farm to Fork, a new restaurant across the street who prioritizes locally-sourced ingredients. The menu included butterfish laulau, vegan curry, hōʻiʻo salad and haupia (just to name a few of the items). It was such a treat and a great way to start the programming with full, happy bellies – and full, happy hearts!
Mahina Duarte, one of the founders of Waiwai Collective who invited us to collaborate, led us through the evening, beginning with a beautiful oli to open the space, then introductions of us and our young women filmmakers, screening, then onto “listening circles” post-screening. We had a mixed crowd of kids, youth, adults and kūpuna. There were lots of familiar faces, but also many folks we did not know. It was particularly powerful to see important community members in the room, supporting our young women and willing to discuss how we can all work together to better serve them.
I was in a listening circle with the young woman who made “Pulelehua,” a film “made in honor of Hawaiʻi's Beloved Queen Liliuʻokalani, who was inspired by nature & encouraged her Kingdom to live Aloha.” The goal of the listening circles was to hear from the youth and support as adults through questions and ideas of what we can do to help them in their film journeys – and beyond. Mahina closed that portion with exactly that – a sharing from each group on how we can better support our young people. Some of what was shared included asking for more money from the legislature, having our youth share their manaʻo with government officials, and helping create/expand programming similar to ours at Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking.
We closed the evening with mahalos and updates on what else we are working on at the moment. Afterward, we had a chance to talk story with some of the audience members and take pictures (and Instagram boomerangs, of course!) in the vault together. We laughed and joked around as we came up with our next poses, and said our alohas to those who had to leave for the night. Then as some folks left, some of us transitioned back into the main space for music by Izik. As a good friend of mine and someone that I felt would be a perfect fit for our evening, he agreed to close out the night for us with his beautiful leo. It allowed time for everyone to wind down and for us (HWF staff and filmmakers) to join the crowd & enjoy the music together. It was truly an inspirational evening full of listening, sharing, taking action for our future generation, and connecting with new and old friends.
Mahalo, mahalo, mahalo! and do not forget to follow our campaign #media_matters!