The 19th Annual HIFF Spring Showcase will be from April 2 to 10 at Regal Dole Cannery Theatres. We talked to Phillips Payson, Director of “Aloha from Lavaland” – one of the films featured this showcase.
“I was brought on board by the film’s executive producer who was looking for filmmakers living in Puna so we could accurately capture an insider’s view of the community’s reaction to the lava flow. Because I was living in Puna, the film’s topic quite literally hit close to home, and I felt pulled to help craft a truthful representation of my friends and neighbors during a time of such extreme change,” says Payson of his involvement.
He went to Puna in 2013 to shoot a narrative feature film and says he fell so in love with the area, he never left. “I became a homeowner just a few months before the lava started flowing, so I was cycling through many of the same emotions that we’ve captured from other community members on screen- fear of the unknown, appreciation for the immense support of my neighbors, giving in to change, understanding impermanence. It’s unique for a film to be shot entirely by community members. A lot of love and respect went into this project, and I think it shows,” says Payson.
The most challenging aspect of production was, he says, being at the mercy of the lava flow. “We didn’t know what was going to happen next, which direction the flow was going, or how it was going to end. We had to be ready for anything.”
Payson says is it important for those outside Hawaii to see this film – and anyone living in a state of change, whether it be due to external elements or an internal shift. “Part of what this film explores is how one’s attitude toward change can make all the difference,” reveals Payson.
Tickets @ HIFF.org or call (808) 447-0577.