Papa MauKaua‘i residents and visitors will have an opportunity to see feature films that highlight Hawai‘i, Micronesia and other parts of Polynesia in the inaugural Garden Island Film Festival.

The festival will be held at various venues from Nov. 20 to Nov. 22 including the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas, Kaua‘i Community College and Waimea Theatre.

The doors open each evening at 5 p.m. A pre-screening of a film by a Kaua‘i Community College student will be presented at 6 p.m., followed by a feature film with the respective director introducing his work in person. The evening will end with a discussion about the film.

The festival will open Nov. 20 on the Great Lawn at the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas with a free showing of “Papa Mau” directed by Na‘alehu Anthony. Attendees should bring a beach chair or mat. Refreshments and snacks will be available for sale.

This documentary examines the influence of Mau Piailug, a native of the tiny Micronesian atoll of Satawal, who was responsible for reviving the art of non-instrument navigation in Polynesia.

Relying solely on his knowledge of celestial bodies, ocean currents and natural markers, Mau guided the traditional sailing canoe Hokule‘a in 1976 on a voyage from Hawai‘i to Tahiti, a journey that had not been completed in over 600 years.

Haumana_PosterSMALLFor Native Hawaiians, this expedition signaled an exodus from the cultural doldrums of the previous century. This remarkable journey shares Mau’s story of reinvigoration, reconciliation and redemption of a people as the master wayfinder and teacher who breathed life back into the sails of Polynesia’s voyaging tradition.

The following night, Nov. 21, “The Haumana” directed by Keo Woolford will be shown at the KCC Performing Arts Center. Admission for this film is $5.

In the award-winning film, Jonny Kealoha is the charismatic host of a struggling Polynesian luau show in Waikiki. To everyone’s surprise, including his own, he is appointed as the successor to teach a high-school boys’ hula class when his former kumu hula passes away. Kealoha becomes as much a student as a teacher due to the high demands of leading the hula dancers to a significant cultural event and, at the same time, rediscovering the sanctity of the culture he previously abandoned.

On Nov. 22, Waimea Theatre will host the closing night feature, “Visions in the Dark: The Life of Pinky Thompson” directed by Ty Sanga. The cost of admission is $5.

visions_in_the_dark_mff_275_switchPinky Thompson fought hard against the stigma of being an inferior Native Hawaiian, and felt that the key to the Hawaiians’ ultimate survival was having a multi-faceted cultural identity. He championed a health care system, created invaluable educational programs and strengthened the pride of native Hawaiians.

Thompson also envisioned an ideal Hawai‘i that no one else saw and fought for it from the battle fields of Normandy, down the steps of the U.S. Congress to his humble home in Niu Valley. His legacy lives on through his work as a social worker and community leader.

The Garden Island Film Festival is sponsored by the County of Kaua‘i, Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau, Kaua‘i Economic Development Board and Hawai‘i Community Foundation.

Pre-sale tickets for “The Haumana” and “Visions in the Dark” are available until Nov. 20, 2 p.m., at the Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau in Līhu‘e and Waimea Plantation Cottages

hqdefaultWill-call service for tickets is also available through the Office of Economic Development. To request this service, please send an email to by Nov. 20, 2 p.m.

Contact OED, Kaua‘i Film Commission at 241-4953 or send an email to for more information.

If you need an ASL Interpreter, materials in an alternate format, or other auxiliary aid support, contact the OED at the phone number or email listed above at least seven days prior to the festival.