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ʻUluʻulu: The Henry Kuʻualoha Giugni Moving Image Archive presents Preserving Olympic Dreams and Plantation Memories

Preserving Olympic Dreams and Plantation Memories, presented by the University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu ʻUluʻulu: The Henry Kuʻualoha Giugni Moving Image Archive, is playing at the 2016 Hawaiʻi International Film Festival (HIFF) on November 6, 2 p.m. at the Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18 theaters.

Preserving Olympic Dreams and Plantation Memories, a restored and digitized edition of the 1984 documentary, Coach, was originally produced by the Center for Labor Education and Research (CLEAR) as part of the center’s Rice and Roses television series. The half hour program tells the story of how Maui plantation kids, banned from the whites-only swimming pool, trained in irrigation ditches in the 1930s. Finding strength and determination through the sport, the group went on to win national and even Olympic championships under Coach Soichi Sakamoto.

This special HIFF program highlights a collaborative preservation and digitization effort (the Rice and Roses Digitization Project), sponsored by ʻUluʻulu, Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities (HCH) and CLEAR that will provide public access to hundreds of hours of never-before-seen film, videos and full length interviews that document Hawaiʻi’s plantation era. The digital files will be available to educators, students and researchers to bring images of a bygone era to life and enrich the understanding of Hawaiʻi plantation and swimming history.

The Coach collection has full length interviews with Coach Sakamoto and champion swimmers such as Olympic Gold medal winner Bill Smith, National champions Keo Nakama, Fujiko “Fudge” Katsutani, Chieko “Chic” Miyamoto and more. Also featured are scenes of competition at the Honolulu Natatorium, Maui’s Camp Five Pool, and national swim meets in the 30s and 40s. There are nostalgic moments of the swimmers leaving Honolulu on the liner Matsonia and their adventures on the mainland. Outtake excerpts from this collection will follow the screening of the 30-minute documentary.

Showing also features panel discussion

Preserving Olympic Dreams and Plantation Memories, is part of an initial preservation and digitization grant from HCH. This free screening event will be followed by a special panel discussion presented by ʻUluʻulu.

The panel discussion will include commentary on the never-before-seen footage narrated by Julie Checkoway, writer of the New York Times bestseller, The Three-Year Swim Club: The Untold Story of Maui’s Sugar Ditch Kids and Their Quest for Olympic Glory. Other panelists include ʻUluʻulu Head Archivist Janel Quirante and Coach director Joy Chong-Stannard.

Tickets for the free screening can be reserved through the Hawaiʻi International Film Festival website.

For more information, read the E Kamakani Hou story.

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