Maui Connections

As though launching “Maui” (the movie formerly known as “Kuleana”) on the Mainland wasn’t enough, Brian Kohne has been busy in recent months shaping the exciting new creative media program at the University of Hawaii Maui College.

Brian has been a regular fixture in this column as the writer-director of independent films “Get a Job” followed by “Kuleana.” Both films were made on Maui with local talent on both sides of the camera, and each went on to take Maui culture statewide and to film festivals around the world.

Now Brian’s laying the foundation for a UH-MC film program “to work with today’s generation of student artists and elevate their skills to a new level.” The program will offer two brand-new classes for the upcoming spring semester.

My pal Barry Wurst, film critic from Maui Time and MauiWatch, and founder of Hawaii Film Critics Society, will be teaching World Cinema. And editor Adi Ell-Ad, whose credits include ABC, Disney, NBC, Lionsgate, Sony Pictures Television, WGN, PBS and “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” before editing “Kuleana,” will present Introduction to Editing.

The new program’s advisory board includes graphic design expert and businesswoman Saedene Yee-Ota, Maui High School creative media faculty Leilani Abafo and “Kuleana” producer Stefan Schaefer.

“Now is the best time for students to enroll in the creative media program at UH-MC,” says Brian. “Students clamor for skills to make movies, tell stories effectively, utilize technology and social media, and build strong foundations in the arts. We hear and see this demand, which we hope to fulfill at the college.”

Students taking the 60-credit program can earn an associate degree in two years and can specialize in graphic design, web development or filmmaking. Short-term 36-credit certificates of achievement will be offered soon in these specialized disciplines.

Maui Creative Media graduates can transfer to UH-West Oahu and earn a bachelor’s degree, pursuing careers in film, digital media, advertising and other related fields.

The deadline to apply for spring 2019 is Dec. 15. To apply, go to maui.hawaii.edu.

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Cynthia Conrad and Jerry Labb, my eyes on the ground during my long Mainland stay, provide this report from Hui Holidays First Night last Wednesday at the Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center:

“Shoppers picked up locally produced, unique gifts while they enjoyed gourmet pupu. The centerpiece of the annual event was the stunning paper gown fashioned by Jennifer Oberg. Festive and fragrant holiday wreaths created by Judy Bisgard and her team were quickly snapped up by the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd.”

Enjoying the evening were Willa Romanchak, Jennifer Brumbaugh, Tina Rivas, Lee and Patti Gardner, Susan Conway, Patti Cheney, Tamara Horcajo, Donna Ting, Richard and Fatima Cameron, Colleen O’Shea Brady, Pam Andelin, Chuck Gray and Darrell, Mary and Piper Orwig. Hui Holidays is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Dec. 24.

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Cynthia and Jerry also joined more than 150 loyal fans packing Mulligan’s on the Blue Friday night for a farewell concert by Maui’s favorite zydeco-blues-rock band, Soul Kitchen. Founding members Tempa Singer-Nave and Naor Nave are moving to the Mainland in January. Co-founder Michael Elam says Soul Kitchen will present concerts in April when Tempa and Naor return for a visit.

“Grooving to the soulful band were Maury and Patricia King, Bruce and Kolleen Wheeler, Robert Sabin and Diane Ybarra, Jeanne and Bill Paynich (celebrating his birthday), Phil and Mardi Swatek and Nina Vishnevska. Joining Tempa for “Angel from Montgomery” were Louise Lambert, and visiting singer and drummer Stacy and Brian McCluer from her former Colorado group, Tempa and the Tantrums. Mauians have one last chance to see Soul Kitchen, New Year’s Eve at Casanova in Makawao.

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Paul Janes-Brown reports that his stepdaughter, Maui-born Juliet Green, a well-known singer in the Bay Area, has returned to her theater roots. The former Maui Academy of Performing Arts and Maui Community Theatre player plays the Witch in a terrific production of Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” with the Los Altos Stage Company in Los Altos, Calif. It runs weekends until Dec. 23.

“If you find yourself in the Bay Area, it is well worth the trip,” says Paul.

Paul was also at the Maui Ocean Center Aquarium on Friday for Dave and Cathy Campbell’s annual Temptation Tours Christmas Party. The evening included a marvelous buffet dinner, prepared by Chef Harry Tariga and his crack staff at Seascape Restaurant, cash prizes for no accidents, and staycations at Maui’s top destinations for the most reviewed tour guides on social media.

The high point was an underwater appearance by Santa in the aquarium with the sharks, rays and other assorted fish.

Only on Maui, right?

* Rick Chatenever, award-winning columnist and former entertainment and features editor of The Maui News, is a freelance journalist and documentary scriptwriter/producer. Contact him at rickchatenever@gmail.com.

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