Taylor Camp. Photo by John Wehrheim

It’s a double treat for Kaua‘i. On Aug. 4, the grand opening of the brand new, state-of-the-art 300-seat theater at Anaina Hou Community Center in Kilauea will feature the Hawai‘i premier of The Edge of Paradise — a Hi Def remake of Kaua‘i filmmaker John Wehrheim’s Taylor Camp documentary.

“The Taylor Camp project has become an international phenomena,” Wehrheim said. “This international recognition is an unparalleled achievement for a Kaua‘i-made film.”

Taylor Camp was originally released in 2011, gathering rave reviews, sellout crowds and film festival laurels in Hawai‘i and the West Coast, according to Wehrheim.

Taylor Camp. Photo by John Wehrheim

The film was originally shot in standard definition, and by 2011 Hi Def had taken over the industry. By then, SD films had little commercial potential and the cost of converting to HD was prohibitive so the filmmakers called it a wrap — falling back on strong DVD sales.

“But Taylor Camp wouldn’t let us go,” Wehrheim said. Since 2011, the project has continued to receive significant national and international media coverage — both digital and print — driven by its historic photography, compelling story and the film’s trailer.

“We’ve had an avalanche of unsolicited media attention: Huff Post, Smithsonian, London Daily Mail, Slate, Buzz Feed, Trip, First To Know, Feature Shoot, and many more print articles and blogs across the US, as well as England, France, Germany, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Thailand, with over 20 million magazine, blog and social media views,” he said.

Taylor Camp. Photo by John Wehrheim

By 2015 the cost of converting to Hi Def had become affordable, so the filmmakers decided to do a remake, according to Wehrheim.

“We had been inundated with new material — historic photos and footage as well as compelling stories from Taylor Campers who were not involved in the original production, people we had searched for but couldn’t find until the project’s publicity compelled these characters to find us. So, we filmed some new interviews, added historic footage and stills, and revised the music,” he said.

The HiDef remake was completed in March 2018, and premiered to a standing-room-only crowd and rave reviews on June 2 at the Illuminate Film Festival in Sedona. (http://illuminatefilmfestival.com/the-edge-of-paradise)

Taylor Camp. Photo by John Wehrheim

The final edit cut six minutes from the original film, making it a tighter and faster paced story, a story that captures what, for many campers, were “The best days of our lives,” when they were living in treehouses on a beach in “paradise”.

“So, we changed the title to ‘The Edge of Paradise’ and told a story that illustrates Proust’s adage that, ‘The only true Paradise is a Paradise lost,’” Wehrheim said.

The remake includes new music and interviews, as well as new photos and surf footage.

Anaina Hou is at 5-2723 Kuhio Hwy in Kilauea. Tickets are $10, and can be purchased in advance at anainahou.org or at (808) 828-2118. The screening is scheduled for Aug. 4 at 7 p.m.

Taylor Camp. Photo by John Wehrheim