Hawaiian Soul

: Narrative Short
GENRE: Drama
STATUS: Post-Production


A young activist, disturbed by an angry crowd and his inner demons, needs to find the right words to sway them, so he uses his musical talents to bring down the barriers and ultimately unifies the group. 


Hawaiian Soul is the story of George Helm, a musician and newly adopted activist, who is disturbed by an angry crowd and his inner demons. Through lessons of the past, he confronts his insecurities, using his musical ability to calm the crowd and soothe his soul, ultimately unifying the group.


In the opening scene of Hawaiian Soul, we establish the setting of the church, which is old and rustic, giving some sense to the time period in which the film takes place, but more relating to the theme of the soul or spirit. We’re introduced to several characters that set the tone, which is an intense confrontation between two factions, the community and the activists, thus establishing the problem that needs to be resolved later in the film. Our main character is to the side, observing the interactions, but more focused inwards, disturbed by something that’s happening within him. We transition into his point of view, which is not of this space, but rather a “dream realm” where the ancestors spirits are present and speaking to him. This realm is very surreal and abstract, using a slow-shutter speed to create a blurry sense of motion from both the spirits and our main character, who is enveloped in the dream space. The sound design layers voices, some whispering, some crying, some chanting, some screaming. The real time conversation happening between the two arguing groups, lead to a thunderous explosion followed by a shrieking ring, rattling Holomua, our hero, to the point where he’s forced out of his dream state and back to reality. Holomua needs to get some fresh air and quickly exits outside to get something from the car. After catching a breather, he sees his reflection in the car window. He’s reminded of himself in that moment, facing his insecurities. Then he sees past the reflection revealing his beloved guitar. He grabs the guitar and closes the door, revealing his reflection once again, this time he feels more comfortable. He reconnects with the instrument, softly plucking a few notes. As he begins to get more confident, he gives a good strum and the sound helps transport us into his memories and visions. He goes through a set of 3 flashbacks in his musical and personal journey and a flash forward vision of the future. He awakens from his time travel and sees he’s still standing in front of the car window. He uses these memories to muster up the courage to get back inside the church full of angry community members. He re-enters the church and pulls up a seat while everyone is still involved in the bickering. He takes one more big breath before delivering a strong strum that leads into a powerful voice and a masterful performance. The crowd quiets down and gives him their full attention. When he’s finished, the music resonates so much with the audience that they are in awe, some even in tears. He has complete command of the room and after a moment of return, he delivers his message of aloha to the community, asking for their support and guidance in their mission of stopping the target bombing of Kaho’olawe. The group’s attitude towards the activists do a complete 180 and they are willing to continue the conversation with aloha.


Aina Paikai - Director

'Aina Paikai is from Waiau, on the island of O‘ahu. He is a Native Hawaiian filmmaker determined to tell the stories of his homeland. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa's Academy for Creative Media under the tutelage of pioneer filmmaker, Merata Mita. 'Aina has spent the past 10 years, the entirety of his professional career, as a shooter/producer/editor for ‘OiwiTV, learning from accomplished filmmaker and businessman, Na'alehu Anthony. As part of 'OiwiTV, he has been fortunate enough to experience traveling the world, most recently as a crewmember and documentarian aboard Hokule'a during the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage. He has recently retired from 'OiwiTV to spend more time with his budding family, wife Annemarie and two young children, as well as focus on pursuing his passion of narrative filmmaking in Hawai'i.

Kaliko Ma'i'i - Producer

Kaliko Ma'i'i is a writer, producer, director, musician, and great lover of Hawaiian language and Hawaiian stories. Kaliko is also a professional Camera Assistant working in the film industry for the past 14 years.


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