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Month: April 2009







JUST IN: Soul Surfer will begin pre production on Oahu June 25 for an Aug.3 start filming date.  The apparent Screen Actors Guild settlement with studios and networks apparently pushed the start dates, sources said. The film about Kauai surfer Bethany Hamilton’s shark attack, recovery and success as a professional surfer despite having lost an arm will shoot at least 80 percent on Oahu and the rest on Kauai. The film’s budget has also increased 25 percent from about $7.5 million to $10 million…


With so much time for preproduction, producers said the film now will shoot for 35 days instead of the previously announced eight weeks…There are nine water unit days scheduled…The Turtle Bay Resort – Oahu’s production hub for visiting film and television – will be production headquarters for Soul Surfer. Producer/director is Sean McNamara with partner David Brookwell as co producer, Baywatch co creator and executive producer Douglas Schwartz also is a producer and Dutch Hofstetter is creative producer. Schwartz is no stranger to Hawaii having co produced Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding here in 2003 and Baywatch: Forbidden Paradise in 1995…McNamara-Brookwell shot three years of the uccessful TV series Beyond the Break on Oahu…


The script is by Brian Hurvitz…





Meanwhile on Kauai, WB’s High School Reunion starts filming season six this month with 15 graduates from the 1989 class from Las Vegas’ Chaparral High School…A Kilauea estate is the setting for reunions of former classmates, who rekindle old romances and rivalries while staying under one roof. Mike Fleiss (The Bachelor) is executive producer…


Some of these graduates haven’t seen each other in over twenty years. High School Reunion is produced for TV Land by Fleiss through his NEXT Entertainment production company in association with Warner Horizon Television. This High School Reunion is set to debut its third season with eight episodes in the third quarter of 2009, on TV Land during TV Land PRIME, the network’s primetime destination block…


Pre production begins the first week of  May. The production will be on Kauai on for five weeks through the second week of June that includes 12 shoot days including a “prom” event on June 7…About 40 cast and crew are being brought from Los Angeles…


High School Reunion 5 ended two weeks after one Chandler High School graduate accused another of being a prostitute, and then she accused her accuser of wanting to create a fake lesbian show romance. Accusations of prostitution and schizophrenia among people in their late 30s apparently equals high ratings for TV Land, averaging 883,000 total viewers with a median age of 45.


“We are so happy that High School Reunion continues to resonate with our viewers and remains one of TV Land’s most popular original series,” said Larry W. Jones, president, TV Land. “Viewers can’t get enough of the drama and romance that comes when these classmates share their emotional and intimate stories from high school and everything else in between. The characters and storylines are not only entertaining, but the show is so that it’s not surprising that our audience of 40-somethings has been glued to their screens. We can’t wait to see what drama unfolds with this new class, making great television.”…



Roger Corman Jr. also plans to return to Kauai to film at least one and possibly two low budget science fiction films back to back this month and into May. Both films’ budgets are less than $300,000…Corman Jr. shot Supergator on Kauai in 2007 starring Kelly McGillis…











Hammertime films at Turtle Bay Resort with MC Hammer


MC Hammer, who is back in prime time as the star of his own A&E reality series, filmed Thursday through today at the Turtle Bay Resort where he and his wife of 23 years renewed their vows in the hotel on Friday…Also here are Hammer’s  five children, uncle, sister and brother…A&E has ordered 11 episodes of Hammertime that follows the lives of the ’90s rap star and his family…




Hammer’s daughters


Hammer, whose real name is Stanley Burrell, was most recently seen selling his gold for cash during this year’s Super Bowl. 3 Ball Productions Inc. (Biggest Loser, Beauty and the Geek) is producing the series for A&E. Hammertime will premiere later this year…Executive producer is J.D. Roth who has likened the show to an unscripted version of the Huxtable family from The Cosby Show…The family stayed in three cottages at the Resort…






It’s been a year of battling but according to the Los Angeles Times Hollywood’s actors finally reached an accord Friday for a new labor contract. The tentative agreement between the Screen Actors Guild and the studios provides actors, who have been working without a contract since last summer, a two-year pact that the union’s president has vowed to oppose.



The deal brings relief to the 120,000 actors. SAG negotiators accepted a deal that was modeled on those negotiated by other talent unions, including the Writers Guild of America, which forged a pact amid a 100-day strike 14 months ago, the Times said.



 The proposed agreement grants a 3.5 percent annual pay increase and establishes fees for shows currently streamed on the Internet. According to the Times, the tentative contract was endorsed by the union’s negotiating task force Friday and will be voted on by SAG’s 71-member board Sunday. Since the contract is not retroactive to July 1, SAG is giving up a year’s worth of pay increases, which the studios have estimated at $65 million. The two sides agreed that they would settle outstanding claims for back pay on behalf of actors who lost their jobs during the writers strike and conduct early talks for the next round of negotiations…










Katharine McPhee, co star of You May Not Kiss the Bride


There’s good news and bad news about Hawaii Film Partners feature You May Not Kiss the Bride wrapping tomorrow with filming at HMI studios in Halawa Valley and at Bamboo Ridge in east Oahu. HFP has successfully completed its first feature film on time and reportedly under budget, sources said. The producers including HFP’s Rann and Gina Watumull and Show Entertainment’s David and Shauna Jackson surprisingly attracted notable actors like David Annable, Katharine McPhee, Vinny Jones, Tia Carrere, and Rob Schneider and a highly competent and genuinely nice director Rob Hedden who also wrote the romantic comedy…The script is genuinely funny from start to finish and could be a surprise hit for a $6-million plus project…What YMNKTB proves – at least to this reporter – is that it’s not necessary to spend tens of millions of dollars to produce a quality project…To quote an oft used phrase: “It’s about the writing stupid”…








David Annable and Tia Carrere


So what’s the bad news? There’s no other Hawaii production on the immediate horizon though ABC’s Lost will return for is sixth and final season with pre production July 20  and filming starting August 24…(Look for at least one additional episode or 17 instead of 16 in Season six and the possibility the finale will be more than two hours…There’s also the on again off again $7.5-million Soul Surfer feature project which could start pre production on Oahu in July for a four week shoot starting in mid August; or preproduction in August for a mid September shoot…The consensus among state and county film commissioners is that production is slow now and looks to continue that way until who knows when…


The Ben Stiller-Reese Witherspoon film to be directed by Cameron Crowe seems to have disappeared as has the announced last summer  updated version of Hawaii Five-0….


And depending what the Hawaii Legislature decided on Act 221 investment credits, the state could likely lose a large majority of independent feature and television projects that rely on investors for funding…


Hawaii Film Partners Watumulls praise Act 221 as a golden opportunity “to help create an indigenous film industry in Hawaii.” “The film industry in Hawaii prior to Act 221 was primarily using us as hirelings to Hollywood. There were very few productions created and owned out of Hawaii,” Rann says…


HFP’s Flight 29 Down TV series which was funded through Act 221 was the first series to come from a Hawaii-based production companyn that was broadcast on national TV.  The company’s Ape Escape – also an Act 221 beneficiary – is the first Hawaii produced animated series to be on TV as well…


“If Act 221 goes away there will no longer be capital for us to do this in Hawaii,” Rann said.


All the independent filmmakers in Hawaii  have used Act 221 to raise money because it’s “a capital generation act. It was brilliant in how it worked. If it goes away all this production activity will disappear,” Watumull said…

According to Watumull, state tax department figures prove that Act 221 “is the best incentive plan ever.” According to Watumull, the state has spent about $300 milllion in credits since the acts inception and created a 1.4 billion spend in Hawaii from productions and other high tech industries. That’s a three to one return. “Where as if the state spents a $1 on a highway project it’s gone that money is gone,” Watumull says…According to Gina Watumull, thee average salary of an employee working for an Act 221 company is $67,000… 


To repeal Act 221 doesn’t make sense,  adds David Jackson of Entertainment Showcase, partners with HFP.


“The federal government is trying to do stimulus packages,” he says. Act 221 is one of those that is already built in and by repealing it that’s an anti stimulus package. Why stifle the economy?”


Watumull recognizes that Act 221 critics say the legislation “benefits the rich.” “You can’t invest in something like this unless you are an accredited investor which means having a lot of money. It creates capital that creates companies that create job”…


The Watumulls and Jacksons emphasized that You May Not Kiss the Bride  “could not have made this movie without Act 221.”


ALOHA MEANS GOODBYE : Director Rob Hedden says goodbye to Vinne Jones and Mena Suvari







HFP “will not cease as a company;  we’re not going away,” Watumull said. “But that being said, for our future priojects if we raise financing from outside sources we may be forced to film outside Hawai”…Jackson said Hawaii is competing with locations like Michigan. “If we shot there they will give back 42 percent of what you spend on your budget…Michigan would rather give back 42 percent to get their people back to work”…


“What’s so darn frustrating is to see the potential like what we did with Flight 29 Down in building a product working out of Hawaii. I would love to keep these crews busy every day of the year with projects…but with act 221 talk going back and forth the worse thing for investors is uncertainty”…


Wardrobe is always busy












An extra holds a fake drink 













Pool scene at Paul Mitchell Estate








Vinnie Jones gets a touch up




Recreating the famous kiss in From Here to Eternity; Don King filming










Extras chat with Vinnie Jones















Dave Annable (l), Katharine McPhee (center) 






 The indefatigable Blaise Noto, unit publicist





Saturday’s Bride shot at Bamboo Ridge near Halona Blowhole – only one shot being filmed – is the completion of a scene shot a few weeks ago (see pic above). Tomorrow’s scene features David Annable popping up in the ocean after their stunt doubles had  fallen off the cliff in the scene.  The camera then sees the bad guy dead (the one holding the gun above who looks like Vinnie Jones) on the ledge below the cliff…





Rann Watumull, executive producer, and water safety staff check out a Bamboo Ridge location Saturday for the final shot of You May Not Kiss the Bride…











The final scene location








The ALL IN Hawaii-made The Legend of Chang Apana – based on the legendary Honolulu police officer – will have its Hollywood debut at the at Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (

on May 3 at the Laemmle Sunset 5 theater at 8000 Sunset Blvd…”We’re so very excited to have this opportunity to show audiences and some studio execs this top-notch Hawaii production,” said John Brekke, executive producer of this first seven-minute webisode








Cary Tagawa is Chang Apana



The film was shot in 2008 at just  a few locations in downtown Honolulu’s Chinatown and  over  a few days. Chang Apana was directed and written by Michael Wurth from an idea by producer John Noland…The filmmakers hope the concept becomes f a 10-webi-sode series. Chang Apana stars noted actor Cary Tagawa






Noland, Brekke, Wurth and Tagawa will travel to Los Angeles to attend the premier and meet with studio and theatrical agency exces, Brekke said. Wurth entered the film into the festival…The quartet have been to L.A. already to pitch the film…Tagawa introduced the team  to a Lionsgate executive who is expected top attend the premier…






The Legend of Chang Apana has a new 50-second opening from what was shown at last year’s Hawaii International Film Festival…The opening 2D narrative talks about the concept of the film being the first animated graphic novel webi-sode series…”The narrative makes one thing clear and that’s Chang Apana is real and was the basis for the Charlie Chan film series in the 1940s,” said Brekke , who is Oceanic’s director of creative services…




Michael Wurth, writer/director, and executive producer Jon Brekke




Oceanic provided the bulk of production and 100 percent of post production work and facilities, including all of the green screen shooting, as well as “massive support for on location shooting and staff,” Brekke said.





Chinatown location for Chang Apana


Writer/director Wurth offers “a big thanks to the independent professional crew members who also busted their butts to make this happen: Director of Photography Shawn Hiatt, camera operator Matt Berner, grips Lee Kaneakua, Scotty Lisetor, Jason Fratis, Ruben and the guys at Liquid Planet, everyone at Montaj9, Tania Kahale and DJ – all real pros who provided their skills in the spirit of true independent filmmaking and mentoring; without their kokua and insight, we could never have made the film. Thank you all (I know I’m not mentioning everyone, but you know who you are!)”


Few people outside of Hawaii probably know that legendary Honolulu police officer Chang Apana was the prototype for the fictional B movie detective Charlie Chan. Noland, a fan of old time radio shows like Charlie Chan and Boston Blackie, got interested in the project when a friend mentioned Apana. He would later remember a local television news reporter doing short piece on Apana.



“It all came back to me from my childhood,” said Nolan, now a Honolulu talk show host. “I was hooked. There’s never been a local Hawaii serialized so with all the interest in things Chinese this is a perfect time. Thomas Magnum and Steve McGarrett were not locals”…




Producer John Noland with actor Cary Tagawa


So Noland began writing down his idea and some story lines then met with local independent filmmakers about the project. After a few years that included getting rights to the Apana story, a group of Hawaii filmmakers came together in August to do the three-day filming for a short.




There was one day of exterior filming in Chinatown followed by two days of green screen work at he Oceanic studios….The film’s co-star is newcomer Merlinda Garma, host of Hawaii Skin Diver TV. Colin Fong is stunt coordinator.



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