KULEANA to Premiere at Maui Film Festival at Wailea

"Kuleana," a Hawaiian produced mystery-thriller set on Maui in the early 70's, will premiere at the Maui Film Festival at Wailea. Written and directed by Brian Kohne and produced by Stefan Schaefer, "Kuleana" will have its Hawaii premiere at the festival's Celestial Cinema in the coveted 8 p.m. Friday slot June 23. The Maui Film Festival at Wailea runs from June 21, to June 25, 2017.

"Kuleana" is the first film announced for the festival's 18th season. "The film will screen in the festival's signature venue, a natural amphitheater capable of seating thousands on beach chairs and blankets, under the night sky," said the festival's founder and director, Barry Rivers.

Writer-director Kohne expressed gratitude at getting such a prestigious launch for his made-on-Maui film. Since its inception, the Maui Film Festival has screened more than 700 narrative and documentary feature length and short films from around the world. They program the right mix of studio submissions and Indies. http://www.mauifilmfestival.com/

"Kuleana" takes its title from the Hawaiian word for "responsibility." "A disabled Vietnam vet must rediscover the Hawaiian warrior within to protect his family," said Kohne. "Associate producer Kathy Collins was especially helpful in collaboration as we discussed various ways to bring the era to life on screen," added Kohne. "It is a period piece and will stimulate a lot of reminiscing with audiences." All of "Kuleana's" stars have strong roots in the islands. Other faces on the screen will be instantly recognizable to audiences.

"One of the sheer joys for me is working with experienced actors that I've admired from afar, such as Kristina Anapau, Sonya Balmores, Moroni Kanekoa, Marlene Sai, and Branscombe Richmond," said Kohne. The film features veteran entertainers Willie K, Augie Tulba, Mel Cabang and Chelsea Hill. Newcomer Vene Chun is introduced as Bossy Kanekoa.

Watch the trailer below:

The Maui Film Festival premiere is part of an international rollout for the film. Hawaii will be first and then domestic theatrical and overseas. Kohne said the seeds of the story were sown during his boyhood growing up on Maui. "Watching the bombing of Kahoolawe as a 5-year-old and living through the Hawaiian Renaissance of the '70s informs many of the core ideas. Upon returning to Maui from California 12 years ago, the project became a way to reconnect with culture and community and continue to process the loss of my father, William L. Kohne, a Wailuku attorney who died in '89."

Kohne and producer Schaefer, who also plays a key role in the cast, first collaborated on the 2012 slapstick comedy "Get a Job," which was also produced on Maui. The film had an award winning soundtrack by the Barefoot Native, Willie K and Eric Gilliom.

"We anticipate invitations to other film festivals throughout summer, with an eye on opening in island theaters this fall. Eventually, "Kuleana" will find its way to other distribution platforms such as cable, digital VOD and the subscription services, said Kohne."

Kohne used crew that was professional and experienced with full features. They could produce with deadlines. "GET A JOB" veterans such as cinematographer Dan Hersey, production designer Burt Sakata and lead costumer Beth Anne Kelleher all came within budget and met the shooting schedule. "We choose our crew as carefully as we do our cast, so that was part of the process," said Kohne. He added, "The 15 day shooting schedule was challenging but the commitment from cast, crew, local businesses and our many supporters in the community is another reason the movie is powerful." www.HawaiiCinema.com

Produced by:

Kristina Anapau ... executive producer

Kathy Collins ... associate producer

Adi Ell-Ad ... associate producer

Brian Kohne ... co-producer

Susan Moulton ... executive producer

Branscombe Richmond ... executive producer

Raymond Rolak ... consulting producer

Stefan C. Schaefer ... producer

Byron Warner ... executive producer

Music by:

Willie K. Kahaiali'i ... (as Willie K)

Johnny Wilson

Cinematography by:

Dan Hersey

Sales Agent:

TriCoast Worldwide, Los Angeles

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