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A locally produced independent film infused with the many talents of faculty and alumni from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, is nominated for Best Feature at the Dances with Films film festival. Mermaids’ Lament premieres June 25 at the historic Chinese Theater in Los Angeles, California. Get tickets and learn more about the festival online.

Mermaids’ Lament—a creative psychological drama that explores the resiliency of women—is directed by Geoffrey B. Hajim, a professional filmmaker who lives in Pāpaʻikou on Hawaiʻi Island. Over his 25-year career, Hajim has completed more than 150 projects, from television spots to the first feature film in the Hawaiian language. He has taught film at Hawaiʻi Community College and worked with drama students who have gone on to study at UH Hilo.

The film is the story of two women who find strength in each other despite their personal struggles. Oee is played by UH Hilo alumna Dayva Summer Escobar and her therapist, Dr. Nell Jamison, is played by UH Hilo Associate Professor of Drama Justina Mattos.

“One of the joys of working on this film is that I was able to perform opposite one of my former acting students, Dayva Escobar, who just graduated from UH Hilo,” said Mattos about her student who graduated from UH Hilo in 2021. “As a teacher, it is very rewarding to see your students excel and thrive beyond the classroom. I was so proud to see the focus and professionalism that she brought to the set. Beyond that, Dayva is a very kind and socially conscious human being, and I feel that her performance in this film really brings out those traits in the character of Oee.”

To learn more about the film and crew, visit UH Hilo Stories.

—By Susan Enright

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