NEWS ALERT! The Hawaii Film Office will not be closed. That doesn’t necessarily mean there may not be some personnel restructuring but the office which is critical to Hawaii’s growing film industry will not be shuttered, a highly placed source told Reel News. More details today in Reel News.



Every once in a while – and more often than most outside the production community know – Hawaii’s crew and executives  step forward offering their time and skills to help create small, very low budget independent films about Hawaii by local filmmakers. The pay is frightening low for such skilled professionals but the rewards are not measured in cash but in contributing to productiona they believe in and, more importantly, tell honest stories about life in these islands…

(Below left) Kathe James, costume designer; (right) location manager Timmy Chinn pulls double duty as an extra

IMG_7953Picker 1 Field 2

You would be hard pressed to get this group to boast about their contributions. And the hard work is the same quality many of these same people have done on productions like LostPearl Harbor, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Tropic Thunder, and others…

This aloha returned in the last few weeks with the just completed One Kine Day – $1 million budget – written and directed by Chuck Mitsui. (see Reel Hawaii Aug. 8). No sooner had OKD wrapper this week than many of the crew started working on even the lower budget indie Lychee Thieves which has done most of its second unit photography with principal photography beginning today weekend…Lychee Thieves – an eight-day shoot – is a 35-minute dramatic film directed and written by Hawaii born and raised Kathleen Man. The story centers on four local characters on Oahu – who are Hawaiian, Chinese, Japanese and Caucasian – and who clash over a miraculously bountiful lychee tree. (In Kaneohe if you must know.)

IMG_7954Man (left) has produced and directed several award winning films and currently teaches narrative and documentary filmmaking at Vassar College. This slice-of-life drama raises questions about our personal responsibility to others and to the land we share. Man is hard pressed to say exactly what the budget is.

“It’s lower than low,” she says. “Everyone working on this film is doing it out of love of the story. No one is really making anything.”

Lychee Thieves was inspired by a newspaper article about two locals who robbed a lychee farm on the Big Island. The characters of Arnie and Ethel grow paranoid and territorial when Keoki, a Hawaiian man who picks fruit between jobs, offers to harvest the lychee growing in their yard. Driven by selfish impulses, Arnie fiercely defends the tree from Keoki and their neighbor, Mrs. Chun, by arranging for professional pickers to strip the tree of its fruit as quickly as possible, no matter what the consequences. It falls upon Keoki’s shoulders to break a cycle of long standing fears that governs our daily lives…

(At right) Man and Vince Lucero, first camera operator and second unit DP, measure up the shot.


pomaikai brown

Lychee Thieves stars Pomaikai Brown (left) as Keoki whose appeared in 50 First Dates and the Fox series North Shore; Blossom Lam Hoffman is Mrs Chun, a veteran actor whose credits include Blue Crush, Unsolved Mysteries, the NBC series Hawaii and several local theater appearances; Linda Sato as Ethel; and Scott Moura as Arnie. Grammy nominated singer Raiatea Helm portrays Keoki’s sister…


Stephen Gyllenhaal (right) is executive producer; Angie Laprete and Titus Chiong are producers…Anne Misawa is DP; Imelda Betiong, editor; Matt Locey, co producer; Vince Lucero, first camera operator and second unit DP; Jason Fratis, gaffer; Keoki Smith, second unit gaffer/grip; Everett Galisa, production designer; Alvin Cabrina, property master; Kathe James, costume designer; Lauri Foi, casting director…



Producer Titus Chong (above) talks with Man

Locations include Kualoa Ranch, Sandy Beach, Chinese Hall at Moanalua Gardens, Hoomaluhia Botanical Gardens; and Chinatown. Timmy Chinn is locations manager…Man expects Lychee Thieves to wrap Sept. 5…

The Team

(Left) Man with interns Catherine, Alex, and Grace


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