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TO ORDER AND PREVIEW THE DVD: GO TO WWW.KAUPRESERVATION.ORG
The newly released DVD “The Punalu`u Experience” invites you to journey into the world of the honu (Hawaiian green sea turtles), sacred fishing grounds and ancient heiau (temples) of Hawai`i Island’s famous Punalu`u Black Sand Beach.
The DVD of the 28 minute film, produced by Ka`u Preservation and made possible by a grant from the Hawaii Community Foundation: Pikake Fund, will be given to every public school and library in the state of Hawai`i. The film is designed to allow students across the state to discover Punalu`u - a thriving Hawaiian cultural treasure on the Ka`u Coast — Hawai`i’s longest undeveloped coastline.
The film blends inspiring interviews with local residents whose families have lived there for centuries with beautiful cinematography of this natural oasis that is home to some of the rarest animals in the world and a nesting site for the critically endangered honu `ea (Hawaiian hawksbill turtle).
The film was produced and directed by award winning filmmaker, Danny Miller who lives just a few miles from Punalu`u in Pahala. He started work on the film in the summer of 2004. According to Miller. “I wanted to tell a story that would allow the viewer to experience the spirit and mana (power) of Punalu`u through the personal stories of students and kumu (teachers) who practice the Hawaiian tradition of Ho`o hana lima (hands on learning) at Punalu`u. Their experiences reveal why so many are working to malama (care for) this sacred `aina (land).”
The film features interviews with local Punalu`u Kupuna Pele Hanoa and her son, Pali Kapu Dedman and daughter Keolalani Hanoa who grew up at Punalu`u. Keolalani passed away in March of 2006 before the film was completed. According to Miller, “Keola inspired me to tell this story so that more and more people would understand why it is so important to protect this sacred place.”
Interviews with marine biologists George Balazs of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Jason Turner of the University of Hawai`i, Hilo, demonstrate how Punalu`u has become a “living classroom and laboratory” for students and researchers from around the world. The film also shows students of all ages learning Hawaiian traditional practices through the Kukulu Kumuhana O Ka`u Hawaiian immersion educational program at Punalu`u that was started by Keolalani Hanoa over fifteen years ago. According to Miller, “The children rely on Punalu`u as a
place of learning. This is the most important reason to protect and preserve the open space of Punalu`u where students can learn through hands on experiences.”
The film features a music score composed by Demetrios Oliveira who was born and raised in Pahala, near Punalu`u and who has written several songs about the area with his band, “Ka`u.” The score also includes music selections from the soundtrack of the Oscar winning film, “A Beautiful Mind,” composed by Academy Award Winning Composer, James Horner. Both Demetrios and Universal Studios donated the music to the film.
The DVD of the film is available to the public through Ka`u Preservation, a non-profit
501c3 organization working to protect Punalu`u and the entire coastline of Ka`u. All of the proceeds from the sale of the DVD will go towards the preservation of the sacred lands of Ka`u. The DVD is available for a donation of $25 (includes shipping and handling) and can be ordered by sending a check or money order to Ka`u Preservation, PO Box 472, Naalehu, HI 96772. Or you can order a copy through the website: www.kaupreservation.org. For more information about the film call: 808-928-8144.