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Local filmmaker debuts 'E Mālama Pono, Willy Boy' at HIFF

"E Mālama Pono, Willy Boy"
Courtesy Kekama Amona
"E Mālama Pono, Willy Boy"

The short film "E Mālama Pono, Willy Boy" is screening Monday at the Hawaiʻi International Film Festival as part of the Made in Hawaiʻi Shorts 2 showcase. It's set in a fictional homeless encampment where protesters are gathered while law enforcement clears out residents, who are mostly Hawaiian.

The film's main character is a Native Hawaiian police officer named William Kupihea, aka Willy Boy. During the course of the story, he's put in a position to choose between what is legally pono and culturally pono, between official duty and protecting his community.

It’s the first short film for director Kekama Amona, who wrote the script with his wife. Amona is a former charter school teacher who enrolled in the University of Hawaiʻi’s film school after turning 50 to pursue a degree in digital film production. The Conversation talked to him about his film and becoming a filmmaker later in life.

An encore, in-theatre presentation of the Made In Hawaii Shorts 2 showcase, which includes a screening of E Mālama Pono, Willy Boy, is scheduled for 6pm on Friday November 11th at Consolidated Theatres Kahala.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Nov. 7, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Russell Subiono is the executive producer of The Conversation and host of HPR's This Is Our Hawaiʻi podcast. Born in Honolulu and raised on Hawaiʻi Island, he’s spent the last decade working in local film, television and radio. Contact him at talkback@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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