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Turning the Canoe Premiers at Film Festival

June 11, 2010
Katie McMillan

What does the future hold for Maui Nui? Is the continued depletion of Maui’s natural resources inevitable or do we have an opportunity to change course? On Thursday, June 17, at 7 p.m. in the Maui Arts and Cultural Center’s Castle Theatre, the 2010 Maui Film Festival will hold the world premier of Ho‘okele Wa‘a (Turning the Canoe), a feature length documentary film illuminating the importance of protecting Maui’s cultural and natural resources and what we can do to stop their destruction.

A Sustainable Living Institute of Maui (SLIM) production, produced by former SLIM Executive Director Alex de Roode, Turning the Canoe features interviews from those leading efforts to protect Maui’s environment and never-before-seen footage of some of Maui’s unique natural resources. From the restoration of the ancient kalo lo‘i (taro patches) and native forests to the latest breakthroughs in renewable energy, this made on Maui film showcases people on Maui who are creating real solutions and a vision of hope for the world.

“By learning from Maui’s past and combining both traditional and modern technologies and practices, we have a unique opportunity in Maui Nui to come together as a community to develop a sustainable way forward,” said de Roode. “Throughout Turning the Canoe, we feature passionate individuals committed to turning this concept into reality for our community through locally based action.”

According to Archaeologist Dr. Janet Six, the film’s co-producer and writer, “Turning the Canoe spotlights some of the islands lesser-known stars working in the realm of sustainability such as Dr Art Medeiros and Kahu Kewewehi Pundyke. By juxtaposing traditional Hawaiian ways of understanding and sustaining our island environment and the latest sustainable technologies and practices here on Maui, Turning the Canoe promotes the use of culturally appropriate, holistic approaches to sustainable living for the world.”

Turning the Canoe showcases both time-proven and novel solutions to Maui’s historic and modern problems including invasive species, conservation of resources, water quality and use issues, food security, renewable and alternative energy, and sustainable construction. It also features the work of a wide range of sustainable businesses such as HNU Energy and their state-of the art energy capture technology; Pacific Bio Diesel’s efforts in turning cooking oil into highly-coveted bio diesel; and SOS Metals work turning rusty, abandoned, junk cars into a cool, clean revenue stream.

According to the film’s director, Danny Miller, “We wanted to showcase Maui residents engaged in sustainable careers they love—that positively impact Maui and our world. We hope the film will inspire young people to go into these types of careers.”

In fact, following this debut screening, Turning the Canoe will make its way into Hawai‘i schools. Thanks to a Hawai‘i Community Foundation Pikake Grant, a copy of the DVD will be distributed to all public and private schools in Hawai‘i. The producers are also targeting the film for a national broadcast on public television.

Turning the Canoe was also supported through donations of time and resources from the production staff, The University of Hawai‘i Maui College, composer James “Kimo” West, Mountain Apple Music, Blue Hawaiian Helicopters and many more.

Turning the Canoe Director Danny Miller has produced award-winning documentaries, television programming and live events for over 25 years. His productions have aired nationally on HBO, PBS, CINEMAX, BRAVO, A&E and SHOWTIME. He is a resident of Pahoa, Hawai‘i.

For tickets to the world premiere on June 17, visit or call 579-9244. Advance tickets are $10 and $11 at the door.

To review the trailer, visite ???--




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