Trailer for The Pākalā Kids, directed by Gavin Arucan.

Recent graduates from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Academy of Creative Media (ACM) will present screenings of their short films at the 2021 Hawaiʻi Book and Music Festival this fall. The virtual event will give audiences a glimpse of their animated works that range from traditional Hawaiian moʻolelo (stories) to a film about two Kauaʻi kids on the run to Waimea Canyon.

Woman smiling
Promotional image for Briana Smith’s Welcome to the Lanes

ACM alumni Briana Smith, Kalilinoe Detwiler and Gavin Arucan, who is now a lecturer at the academy, will be featured in a panel, Innovation Future—Academy for Creative Media Animation and Video Showcase, on October 7 at 4 p.m. The livestream event is open to the public. (Register online)

Laura Margulies, an assistant professor at ACM, known for creating hand-painted animated films, will moderate the online panel session.

“It is most gratifying to have our ACM filmmakers in the spotlight,” Marguiles exclaimed. “They have worked hard to make engaging films that address their unique perspectives and cultures while also invoking the universal.”

After the screenings, the filmmakers will be on hand for a question and answer session.

“At the Academy for Creative Media, we seek to empower students to tell their own, original and authentic stories, especially those of Hawaiʻi, Asia and the Pacific which are at the heart of ACM‘s mission. The overall goal of our program is to nourish the individual voices and talent of our students so they can be successful in the film and television industries both on our island home and beyond,” said Lisette Flanary, an associate professor at ACM.

More about the filmmakers

Girl standing in front of the sky
Still from The Pākalā Kids

Arucan currently storyboards on the web series, Helluva Boss and has directed several animated short films, including The Pākalā Kids, Pua Warriors and Sina Ma Tinirau.

Smith co-directed a film that was featured at the Hawaiʻi International Film Festival, and directed a film screened in Shanghai, China through the UH SMART Scholarship Program. In the summer of 2020, she completed a second documentary. She also directed the film, Welcome to the Lanes, about a woman who runs a program for special needs young adults at Pali Lanes in Windward Oʻahu.

As a kanaka artist and scholar, Detwiler explores paths of cultural perseverance by expressing ancestral knowledge in the present through animation and creative writing. She animates Hawaiian moʻolelo for Indigenous productions.

Additional information can be found at the Hawaiʻi Book and Music Festival website.

This event is an example of UH Mānoa’s goals of Enhancing Student Success (PDF), Becoming a Native Hawaiian Place of Learning (PDF), two of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.