Film commissioner looks forward to another good year
“Jurassic World” to premier June 12

Kauai Film Commissioner Art Umezu by C. Kojima

Kauai Film Commissioner Art Umezu by C. Kojima

Kaua‘i Film Commissioner Art Umezu is excited about the premiere of “Jurassic World”, which is slated for June 12. He is collaborating with the Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau, Universal Studios/Legendary Pictures and a local theater to host the Kaua‘i opening.

“This movie generated approximately $3 million for the island last year,” said Umezu. “Many of our businesses benefitted from it including the airlines, hotels, rental car and helicopter companies as well as food establishments.”

Overall, 2014 was a good year for movie production on the Garden Isle with expenditures of $4,365,009.

Besides “Jurassic World”, other large productions included: “The Biggest Loser”; “Aloha Vet”; a Hawai‘i Convention and Visitors Bureau TV commercial; and the Eddie Bauer catalog shoot.

Since the start of this year, much of the film commission’s efforts have focused on reaching out to moviemakers.

In his New Year’s letter to Hollywood producers, directors and studios, Umezu recapped Kaua‘i’s 80-year movie history noting the 73 feature films, as well as documentaries, reality shows, music videos and commercials that were made on the Garden Isle.

“Kaua‘i offers an incredible array of landscapes and of course, natural beauty,” said Umezu. “The island has been used as a stand-in for Central and South America, Africa, Australia, Southeast Asia, South Pacific and even worlds that don’t exist.”

He is hoping that filmmakers will continue to keep Kaua‘i at the forefront when they think about locations for their projects.

Jurassic World stars & Mayor Carvalho

Young movie actors Nick Robinson (left) and Ty Simpkins (right) pose for a photo with Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. during the wrap party for “Jurassic World” at the Kaua‘i Marriott Resort luau garden. The actors are cast as Zack and Gray respectively in the blockbuster movie. Note: Mayor Carvalho is wearing a Universal Studios cap.

Umezu said that people have already been scouting for possible feature films and TV shows for the first quarter, but he is unable to mention any names at this time.

A project that Umezu has been lending his support to and which would greatly enhance the island’s film industry is the Kaua‘i Creative Technology Center.

Plans for the KCTC include a commercial film studio that caters to film studios and independent filmmakers with state-of-the-art pre- and post-production media equipment, high-speed broadband internet connection and video conferencing capabilities.

The center would also serve the community by providing job training/workforce development for films and other creative technology fields such as robotics, digital animation and more.

The overall vision for the center is for it to be a nexus for industry development, a hub of community activity and a catalyst for economic growth.

Jurassic World casting call

Hundreds of Kaua‘i residents along with a number of outer island residents turned out for the “Jurassic World” casting call at the Kaua‘i Community College Performing Arts Center last year.

The concept of a tech center was initially discussed in the county’s 2010 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Report.

In 2012, a feasibility study on the project was completed by the Kaua‘i Economic Development Board and its consultant, Olomana Loomis ISC. Based on the community’s response and readiness for the center, KEDB and its consultant are moving forward with building support for the KCTC.

Jurassic World clean up

After the filming of “Jurassic World” was completed on Kaua‘i last year, the production crew set up camp in the Vidinha Stadium parking lot to clean off the mud and debris from the trucks, trailers and equipment. From there, the vehicles and equipment were shipped to Louisiana for additional filming.