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Christopher Makoto Yogi’s I Was a Simple Man made its exclusive streaming premiere on The Criterion Channel.

Until the end of February, a selection of films crafted by graduates from the School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa will take the spotlight on The Criterion Channel. The streaming service, known for its mix of classic, contemporary, international and Hollywood films, is showcasing the work of five talented UH Mānoa alumni.

Curated by kanaka ʻōiwi (Native Hawaiian) filmmaker Taylour Chang, users exploring the site can get a taste of the short films produced by SCA graduates through a one minute and 30-second showcase named “Hawaiʻi Shorts.”

Short films

The Moon and the Night by 2014 SCA graduate Erin Lau. Lau has gone on to direct the acclaimed short films All I Ever Wanted and Inheritance, which was supported by Netflix and Tribeca Studios and also awarded the Best Hawaiʻi Short Film at the Hawaiʻi International Film Festival (HIFF).

The Pit Where We Were Born, produced by 2012 SCA graduate Alexander Bocchieri. In addition to documentary and commercial work, Bocchieri has since directed The Roof, a short film for Disney Launchpad which is now streaming on Disney+.

Molokaʻi Bound by 2012 SCA graduate Alika Maikau Tengan. Tengan has subsequently directed the feature length film, Every Day in Kaimukī, distributed by Gravitas Ventures. A feature-length adaptation of Molokaʻi Bound, with support from a $500,000 feature film grant from independent film distribution company ARRAY and Google, is currently in the final stages of post-production.

Down on the Sidewalk in Waikīkī, by Justyn Ah Chong. Written and featuring a lead performance by 2010 SCA graduate ʻĀina Paikai, the film was followed up by Hawaiian Soul, a narrative short film about Hawaiian activist and musician George Helm. After playing to acclaim at HIFF, imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and Maoriland Film Festival, Hawaiian Soul is currently being adapted by Paikai into a feature film.

Exclusive premiere

I Was a Simple Man by UH Mānoa alumnus Christopher Makoto Yogi takes center stage with its exclusive streaming premiere on The Criterion Channel. Distributed by Strand Releasing, the film premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and earned recognition from The New Yorker as one of the top films of 2021.

Other short films directed by Yogi are also streaming: Layover, on the Shore, Obake, Makoto: Or, Honesty, Suddenly, Honolulu (2015) Occasionally, I Saw Glimpses of Hawaiʻi, Suddenly, Honolulu (2016) and a still place.

The School of Cinematic Arts is housed in the College of Arts, Languages and Letters at UH Mānoa.

film title on a screen
A mix of short and feature films are showcased on the streaming service.
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