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.




  1. If you want the real scoop on Chang Apana, please log on to my blog, I started my research on Apana in 1982, and I have information about him from his daughters and also his number one first cousin Walter Chang: Information that is no longer obtainable as they are all deceased. I’m now completing a book about Chang Apana called “Charlie Chan’s Hawaii”.

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