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Mayor green lights reality TV show

‘Temptation Island’ filming at Andaz allowed beginning Sept. 8

Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino said Friday that after “a lot of extensive review of the whole process” he will allow the filming of reality TV series “Temptation Island” beginning Sept. 8 at the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort. 

Filming was set to begin last week with arrival of cast and crew, but after residents got wind of the show, they expressed anger and worry about a production coming to Maui during a pandemic. Even the mayor expressed his opposition.

Following the concerns, producers, the resort, hotel workers’ union and the county film office jointly agreed to delay production.

During his daily COVID-19 news conference Friday, Victorino said he reviewed protocols and the health security plan by Trade Winds Production, which will handle the filming. He also reviewed “The Safe Way Forward,” a report by national and international unions and organizations representing stakeholders in the film and television industry on COVID-19 guidelines to provide safe workplaces. 

He felt the report provided by the show was “very extensive, broad-based and really ready to go.” 

Victorino also reviewed feedback from a virtual town hall meeting Wednesday night hosted by Maui Council Council Member Kelly King. The virtual meeting included show producers, state and county film commissioners, union representatives and a physician. 

“We believe the protocols and guidelines of our film industry can provide a safe and responsible model for our residents to return to work and rebuild our local economy,” Victorino said in a news release following the announcement. 

Gov. David Ige’s office Friday afternoon approved the county’s updated emergency rules to include the rule that productions in Maui County are to follow COVID-19 guidelines for the film industry, which were prepared by the City and County of Honolulu Film Office and approved by Ige previously.

Maui County Film Commissioner Tracy Bennett said that protocols in place include three negative COVID-19 tests for cast and crew to be able to work on the production; this includes taking a test 72 hours prior to their flight to Maui. If a person has a positive test prior to the flight, the individual will not be allowed to make the trip. There also will be quarantine restrictions following the initial tests and arrival to Maui. 

Workers and cast must wear masks and social distance and are not to interact with hotel staff. Food will be left in an area of the hotel and will be grab and go, he said during the news conference. Those associated with the production will not be allowed to interact with the community and not be allowed outside the property.

Tests and personal protection equipment will be brought by the production crew, and there will be an emergency physician and three nurses on staff to handle any medical needs, Bennett added.

He also addressed concerns raised by the public, including the content of the reality show, which brings couples to an island with a group of single men and women to test the strength of their relationships. 

Bennett said the show has been shot on Maui for two prior seasons and acknowledged that the content may not please everyone. 

“It’s your right to change the channel,” he said.

The production does not advertise or identify that they are on Maui. The show is not portraying the community or culture in a negative light, he said.

The production brings in about $7 million to $8 million per season and also has a trickle down effect on Maui’s economy, Bennett said.

Tuia’ana Scanlan, president of the IATSE Local 665 that represents film and TV workers, also outlined the guidelines to keep workers and hotel staff safe during filming. He said in a video feed during the news conference that even though there may be 100 to 200 workers for the show, they will not arrive at one time and will be trickling in with filming for two months. 

The workers understand that they are “not going for a vacation” and that many have seen a beach before. Some of the crew members will be from Hawaii, Scanlan said, adding that they care about their home.

“They know we only got one chance to get this right,” he said.

A statement from Donna Domingo, president of the ILWU Local 142, which represents the hotel workers, gave support to “Temptation Island.” 

“Our hotel workers will be properly trained and be provided all the necessary personal protective equipment and will follow the Safe Way Forward guidelines provided by the film industry. This is a great opportunity for Maui to reopen some of its economy in a safe way,” Domingo said in her statement in the county news release. 

The ILWU previously said that hotel workers will follow the same protocols for cast and crew, getting tested before going to work and randomly during the filming process.

Victorino said Friday that the production will bring about 140 hotel workers back on the job.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.

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