The Short List is a YOMYOMF Network series, where we present short films we love every Friday at Noon EST. For the month of September, we’re doing it kama’aina style, showcasing 4 award-winning and unique short films that were shot and produced all in Hawaii by locally born and raised filmmakers. So sit back, relax, snack on a spam musubi and enjoy THE SHORT LIST: Hawaii Edition!
We’ve reached out to the filmmakers with 5 Questions to see what’s up with the filmmaker since the production of their short film. It’s a way for them to revisit their work and get an update on their next projects. You can view all The Short List films here.
This week’s Hawaii edition, we ask 5 questions to director Kenji Doughty about the making of his short film.
1. How did you come up with the concept for this short?
My friends and I knew for sure that we wanted to challenge ourselves and make a Hawaiian Film, however we weren’t exactly sure what story we could tell that was original and worth while, mostly because there wasn’t a lot of written history from the pre-contact days. in doing research we were fascinated by the unique concept that the Hawaiians implemented which was to have a separate season for war and one for peace, which was regulated by strict religious law, or ‘Kapu.’ This Kapu system regulated every aspect of life from what you could eat to who you could socialize with, and many times death was the consequence for breaking these Kapu laws. this sparked a really intriguing idea that we all thought was very original and allowed for us to try and make an epic, totally badass film with a great story. Just imagine Apocalypto taking place in Hawaii.
2. Any challenges or setbacks during the production?
The entire production was a huge challenge. When we decided to make this film we wanted to try and do something BIG, but realistically we are poor & starving filmmakers so we could only muster a few hundred dollars for a budget, which is still way more than we had ever spent. On top of that we were working as production assistants on a tv show so we were going off only a couple hours of sleep every night. As a matter of fact we both overslept the first day of the shoot because were were up all night prepping. and that may have been the most embarrassing thing that happened. However we stayed positive and pushed through and were able to overcome whatever obstacles that came our way. run into any issues during production? there’s always issues when you’re making moving pictures.. but that’s what makes it an adventure.
3. Any funny stories from the making of this film?
For me one of the funniest stories was when we were filming at Kualoa Ranch. There are hundreds of cattle everywhere, and wherever there’s cattle, you’ll find mushrooms growing all around. Everything went really smooth for those days of filming, but after we wrapped production, I found out that most of the cast members had been secretly picking and eating these magical mushrooms. It worked out in the end because they all had flawless performances eating the magic mushrooms. I don’t plan on implementing that in all my shoots but it’s not a bad idea, haha.
Another funny story was when we were filming the underwater sequence where our stunt double, Ha’a Keaulana who is an extremely talented water woman, had to hold a 50 lbs boulder and drop 30 feet below and sprint on the ocean floor. As epic as that sounds, she had to do it with minimal visibility so she had no idea what direction to be running towards. But she was so talented and dedicated, she would keep running underwater for about 50 yards! and there is no way to yell cut underwater so we had to just watch her till she came up for air. Needless to say she is a complete BADASS.
4. Where has your film played? Festivals or other places around the world?
Our film played at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, Maui Film festival, and Hawaii International Film Festival, and now the YOMYOMF Youtube Channel!
5. What’s been going on with you, filmmaking wise since the completion of this short? What are you working on next?
My film maker partner Yama just finished working on Kevin Wu & Justin Chon’s new movie MAN-UP as the production Mmnager. I am currently on a second draft of what we hope will be our first feature film which we hope to shoot in the summer of 2013. Stay Tuned! ALOHA!