Maui's darling comedy "Get a Job" just got promoted - again. The film racked up another festival honor last weekend at the Las Vegas Film Festival, making its tally three for three.
"Get a Job," written and directed by Brian Kohne and starring Willie K, Eric Gilliom and Carolyn Omine, among other local stars, won the Jury Award on Sunday at Vegas film fest's Hilton Showroom, a venue graced by stars such as Elvis and Sinatra.
"We're not doing too bad, yeah, for some knuckleheads from Hawaii," Kohne said Wednesday, after getting home Tuesday from the whirlwind trip.
Kohne, Eric Gilliom and Willie K get a warm festival reception from a group of showgirls.
Monique Feil photo
Willie K and Brian Kohne are all smiles after receiving the Las Vegas Film Festival Jury Award.
Monique Feil photo
More than 1,000 films were entered in the fest, and the "Jury Award," which is akin to runner-up to best of show, was determined by the judges, Kohne said.
Willie K, Gilliom, Omine and Kohne were on hand for film's Vegas screening, which had about 500 people in attendance, Kohne said. The stars signed autographs for an hour after the showing and later that evening were called to the stage during the awards ceremony.
"A couple hundred Hawaii people were there," Kohne said. "It was a blast. We all had a really good time. It was the first time we had our three stars, our leads, together, and that was exciting."
The feature-length movie takes viewers on a slapstick island adventure when William (Willie K), a Hawaiian employment agent, is tasked with getting work for Merton (Eric Gilliom), who's possibly the most unemployable man on the planet. The all-Maui supporting cast includes music icons Willie Nelson, Mick Fleetwood, Pat Simmons and Henry Kapono, and the extras feature familiar Maui faces.
Last month, the film won the Best Comedy prize at the Detroit Windsor International Film Festival. In May, the film won the Audience Favorite award at the Big Island Film Festival.
The recent wins come amid the loss of cast member and esteemed Maui kumu hula Charles Ka'upu, who died July 13. In "Get a Job," Ka'upu plays a Hawaiian man who speaks only his native tongue. Kohne said future screenings of the film will include a dedication to his friend, and he credited Ka'upu with starting a "blessing" for his company and film six years ago.
"This film will be a way to preserve the legacy of the great Hawaiian," Kohne said. "It is an amazing loss. It will take a long time to process, and all of us are feeling it deeply."
"Get a Job" is slated for two Honolulu screenings at the Hawaii Theater on Aug. 12 and 13, prior to the film's Hawaii's Time Warner Cable TV pay-per-view launch. It has also been accepted to a film festival in Marbella, Spain, in October.
Kohne just announced a new Maui screening Aug. 27 at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center's Castle Theater as a benefit for the Keep the Hawaiian Islands Beautiful organization.
"If this film has the power to create enthusiasm, laughter and joy, the fact that it can generate money for a good organization, who could have imagined that," Kohne said. "This film is not about me. This is really about us and our people and our community and the good things we can do when we work together."
* Kehaulani Cerizo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.