The Final Film in the Award-Winning Hula Trilogy

TOKYO HULA

 “A reverent exploration of the intersection between culture and commerce.”  

– Doc Edge Film Festival 

Winner Best Moana Whārahi - Films from the Pacific, Doc Edge 2020

Audience Choice Award - Tokyo Lift Off Film Festival 2020

Nominated for Best Feature - Made in Hawaiʻi Film Festival 2020

Nominated for Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature - Guam International Film Festival 2020

TOKYO HULA explores the phenomenal popularity

of the hula dance in Japan from both Native Hawaiian

and Japanese perspectives.

SYNOPSIS

Today it is estimated there are nearly 2 million people dancing hula in Japan – a figure greater than the entire population of Hawaiʻi.  With more people dancing hula in Japan than in Hawaiʻi where the native art was born, this explosive growth has created a multi-million dollar industry based on culture as commodity.  But what motivates Japanese students and teachers to dance hula and how is it translated into a foreign culture?  How do Native Hawaiians participate in this cross-cultural exchange?

Many Hawaiian master hula teachers, or kumu hula, have found it difficult to sustain their hula schools in Hawaiʻi.  The same is true for many musical artists, cultural experts, and performers who must often work day jobs to pursue their passions and supplement their income on an island home many would consider paradise – but where the cost of living only continues to rise.   Many have discovered that there are more opportunities across the Pacific Ocean in Japan where a hula boom continues to grow – and pay the bills.

In TOKYO HULA, an examination of tourism, economics, and a love for all things Hawaiian fueling this cultural phenomenon is revealed by focusing on the personal stories of Japanese sensei who have started their own schools and Hawaiian kumu hula who are now living and teaching in Japan.  Guided by curiosity and infused with humor, the documentary follows teachers and students both in and outside of hula classes and competitions to better understand their daily lives, struggles, and challenges in practicing a cultural art form in a foreign host country. 

By juxtaposing the two main subjects – Japanese sensei Seiko Okamoto who is from Japan but trained by the late revered Hawaiian Kumu Hula Aloha Dalire and Hawaiian Kumu Hula Lōpaka Igarta-DeVera who was entrusted by Kumu Hula Sonny Ching to move to Japan to open a branch of their school, the film illuminates how the hula has become both big business as well as an evolving global tradition that continues to flourish in Japan. 

FEATURING

KUMU HULA

ALOHA DALIRE

KUMU HULA

SONNY CHING

LEHUA HULA 

KAWAIKAPUOKALANI HEWETT

KUMU HULA LŌPAKA

IGARTA-DEVERA

and the dancers of

Hālau Nā Mamo O Pu'uanahulu 'Iapana

KUMU HULA

SIEKO OKAMOTO

and the dancers of

Nā Mamo O Kaleinani

KUMU HULA

KU'ULEINANI

HASHIMOTO

SCREENINGS

Made in Hawaiʻi

Film Festival

January 22-24, 2021 Hilo, Hawaiʻi (new dates!)

TBD

Guam International Film Festival (Nominated for Grand Jury for Best Documentary Feature)

Online November 15, 2020 & Broadcast on PBS Guam

Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival

Online November 5-15, 2020

Wairoa Māori Film Festival

October 26, 2020 at 3pm

The Gaiety Theatre, Wairoa, NZ

Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

Online October 22-25, 2020

CAAMFest Forward

Online October 14-18, 2020

Doc Edge International Documentary Film Festival

online

June 13, 2020 at 11:00 am

(followed by Q&A on the Doc Edge Facebook page)

June 19, 2020 at 5:00 pm

June 30, 2020 at 7:00 pm

Tokyo Lift Off

Film Festival

online

June 8 - 14, 2020

DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon

March 10, 2020 at 6:30 pm

HIFF HANA HOU

Screening at the Waimea Film Festival (Kauaʻi)

February 15, 2020 at 4:15 pm

FIFO TAHITI - Festival International du Film Documentaire Oceanien

February 1-9, 2020 at 4:15 pm

HIFF

Hawai‘i International

Film Festival 

November 11, 2019 at 6:15 pm (Regal Dole Cannery)

November 17, 2019 at 6:00 pm (Regal Dole Cannery)

November 21, 2019 at 7:00 pm (Maui Arts & Cultural Center)

November 24, 2019 at 4:30 pm (The Palace Theater (Hilo))

Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival 2019

October 14, 2019 at 4:25 pm

Tokyo_Hula_Sonny_Ching.jpg

HOST A SCREENING

HIFF 2019 PREMIERE

PRESS

Tokyo Hula Spa Resort Hawaiians_edited.j

Asia-Pacific 

stories showcased 

at Doc Edge

Hula documentary gets worldwide audience

Tokyo Hula - Doc Edge Festival

Tokyo Hula_1897_edited.jpg

To the Mauna: the 39th Hawai’i...

Filmmakers and stars gather at Halekulani for HIFF Awards Gala

Tokyo_Hula_HIFF3.jpg

HIFF highlignts in Deadline

Tokyo Hula Japan Crew.jpg

Hawaii filmmaker to premier ‘Tokyo Hula’ at film festival

COMPETITIONS/FILM FESTIVAL OFFICIAL SELECTION & AWARDS

Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival (October 10-17, 2019)

·      AM/NESIA:  The Forgotten Archipelagos of Oceania

Hawaiʻi International Film Festival (November 7-17, 2019)

·      Made in Hawaiʻi Competition

·      November 11 & 17 – Honolulu, Regal Dole Cannery Theaters

·      November 21 – Kahului, Maui Arts & Cultural Center

·      November 24 – Hilo, The Palace Theater

FIFO TAHITI (February 1-9, 2020)

·      Festival International du Film Documentaire Ocenaien/Maison de la Culture, Papeʻete

HIFF HANA HOU! – Waimea Film Festival (February 17, 2020)

·      Kauaʻi, Waimea Film Festival Screening 

DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon (March 12-15, 2020)

·      Preview night:  Discover Asian American Indie

Tokyo Lift Off Film Festival (June 8-14, 2020) (online)

·      Headliners Feature Documentary Competition highlighted by jury

·      Winner, Audience Choice 2020

DocEdge International Documentary Film Festival (June 12-July 5, 2020) (online)

·      Official Selection & Competition – New Zealand (Auckland & Wellington)

·      Winner Best Moana Whārahi - Films from the Pacific

Wairoa Māori Film Festival (October 2020 - postponed TBD)

·      Official Selection – Kahungunu Marae, Nuhaka & Gaiety Theatre, Wairoa, New Zealand 

Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (September 24-October 31, 2020) (online)

·      Official Selection LAAPFF screening on October 22, 2020 

CAAMFEST Forward Film Festival (October 14-18, 2020) (online)

·      Official Selection CAAMFEST Pacific Showcase screening on-demand in San Francisco Bay Area

Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival (November 5-15, 2020) (online)

·      Official Selection PAAFF 

Guam International Film Festival (November 2020 TBA on PBS Guam)

·      Official Selection GIFF

·      Nominated for Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature

Made in Hawaiʻi Film Festival (January 22-24, 2021 (Hilo) and January 30, 2021 (Kona) (TBD)

·      Official Selection MIHFF (Kona/Hilo, Big Island)

·      Nominated Best Feature – Winners Selected by Hawaiʻi Film Critics Society 

PRESS KIT

DISCUSSION GUIDE

TOKYO HULA is a co-production of Lehua Films, LLC. and Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC), and was developed with the support of the Independent Television Service (ITVS) with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and the Ford Foundation.

 

FUNDING PROVIDED BY:

Pacific Islanders in Communications, Media Completion Funding I Pacific Islanders in Communications, Media Production Funding

Jerome Foundation Travel & Study Grant I Pacific Islanders in Communications Research & Development Funding 

Independent Television Service (ITVS) Diversity Development Fund

CONTACT

Say hello. Let's work together.

Complete the form or reach out via email at lisette@lehuafilms.com, or by phone at

808-956-5302.

 

If you are interested in obtaining a copy of a film for use in educational institutions, libraries or other organizations, please contact Lisette Flanary for institutional rates. Purchase orders can be emailed to lisette@lehuafilms.com. 

 

Please note that companion discussion guides and educator's materials are available for films. Mahalo!

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