Watching, singing and eating my way through the Waimea Ocean Film Festival
In such a short time frame I have witnessed awesome surfing, immense amounts of garbage being collected on a remote arctic beach, seen the tragic decline of the worlds largest glaciers in time-lapsed photography and heard the sweet melodic voices of Lia singing about his love of Waipio Valley. These experiences were provided by just a few of the inspiring films at the Waimea Ocean Film Festival on the Big Island of Hawaii. This wonderful selection of films and their talented film makers celebrate tradition, culture and the environment we live in. Daring us to care and live more cohesive with the environment and take care of the Aina (land). Each film is mesmerizing, impactful and a gift to the human spirit to persevere and cherish the important things in life.
The films are primarily focused on the ocean and environment, Hawaiian culture, music and history. It’s a beautiful collection of films curated to inspire and motivate us to live in the present and take note of how the individual spirit can improve and make a difference in life, things that are important to each and every one of us!
Opening night ceremonies at the Kahilu theater in Waimea included a wonderful processional and tribute to the Hokule’a canoe and the current exhibit at the center showcasing the birth and renaissance of canoeing and connecting the Polynesian and Pacific islands to each other. A wonderful display of chanting, song and hula was performed which mesmerized the audience with performances like this Hokule’a welcome chant below.
Afterwards, the halau (hula school) perform a traditional chant and dance called Hei (String figures) which are figures and slip tricks followed with more chanting and dance. To Hei means to snare, entangle or catch in a net which in Hawaiian has many subtle meanings covering historic or legendary references, literal or figurative, even sexual depending on the chant. It’s a vivid and colorful performance complimented with powerful chanting that instantly draws our attention from start to end.
The opening night festival entitled “A Taste of the island” provided the opportunity for local restaurants and caterers to showcase sumptuous bites using local ingredients, here are some pictures below of the event held at the Mauna Kea Luau grounds. A closing night ceremony will also feature a dining extravaganza to be held the Four Seasons Hualalai resort on January 10th featuring island specialties prepared by the chefs, music, hula and the film finale including an awards ceremony.
The festival is truly a celebration not only of film but of Hawaiian culture with live performances of Hawaiian hula and song, delicious food, and public participation with morning yoga and canoe paddling demonstrations. It’s a total immersion into living life in Hawaii at its fullest. Even a movie about classic contemporary composer Morten Lauridsen included a fabulous performance with the local Waimea choral group singing collaboratively on of his master pieces. Here is a snippet of the beautiful music below.
The Waimea Ocean Film Festival is a fantastic celebration occurring in various locations in West Hawaii throughout the week and closing at the Four Seasons resort Hualalai. You can check out the latest updates on films, speakers and activities, by following the festival on Facebook, www.facebook.com/waimeaoceanfilmfestival, or visit www.waimeaoceanfilm.org