Mele Murals will premiere on April 24, 2017 on World Channel & Pacific Heartbeat on PBS! Check local listings. Mele Murals will be streaming online for free May 1-May 31, 2017.
PBS Hawaii, March 23, 2017
Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, January 26, 2017
OC Film Fiesta, October 15, 2016
University of Wisconsin, October 8, 2016
Mele Murals is a documentary on the transformative power of modern graffiti art and ancient Hawaiian culture for a new generation of Native Hawaiians. At the center of this story are the artists Estria Miyashiro (aka Estria) and John Hina (aka Prime), a group of Native Hawaiian charter-school youth and the rural community of Waimea, dealing with the ill effects of environmental changes and encroaching modernization on their native culture.
Set against the resurgence of Hawaiian language and culture of the past twenty years, Estria and Prime tell how their street art has taken them on personal journeys to discover their history, identity and responsibilities as Hawaiian people. Estria, who left Hawai’i to study art on the mainland, made a name for himself as a street artist and returned to reconnect with his Hawaiian roots. Prime, who grew up in the projects and became one of the first kings of the Honolulu graffiti scene, left a life of hustling and drugs after the birth of his first child and returned to writing when he realized it was a way to help youth.
Through the personal stories of these two renowned Hawaiian graffiti artists and their joint quest to uphold Hawaiian culture through mural-making, “Mele Murals” shows how public art rooted in underground graffiti combines with Native Hawaiian traditions and contemporary life to impact the students, the town of Waimea, and most of all the artists.
PRODUCTION TEAM BIOS
Tadashi Nakamura (Director/Editor)
Tadashi Nakamura was named one of CNN’s Young People Who Rock for being the youngest filmmaker at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. His first collaboration with ʻŌiwi TV was the documentary film Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings (NEA funded) which was broadcasted nationally on PBS in 2013 and went on to win the 2013 Gotham Independent Film Audience Award. Nakamura’s trilogy of films on the Japanese American experience, Yellow Brotherhood (2003), Pilgrimage (2007) and A Song for Ourselves (2009) have garnered over 20 awards at film festivals.
Keoni Lee (Executive Producer)
Keoni Lee, in 2009, co-founded the first Native Hawaiian television station, ʻŌiwi TV in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. ʻŌiwi TV has since produced the largest collection of Hawaiian language television programming and has gained a reputation in the Hawaiian and native television community for authentic and high-quality productions. Keoni has a business background and M.B.A. education but found his calling in production because he saw the potential of creating significant positive impact in his Hawaiian community through the power of media. He has produced documentaries for PBS national broadcast through the Pacific Heartbeat series and has screened at film festivals including the Hawaii International Film Festival and CAAM Fest.
Justyn Ah Chong (Director of Photography)
Born and raised on the island of Oʻahu, Justyn Ah Chong is a Native Hawaiian filmmaker seeking to tell unique and culturally rooted stories. Justyn graduated from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts in 2011 with a B.A. in Film Production and a Minor in Business. Upon graduating, he returned home to Hawaiʻi where he began working as a full-time videographer and editor at ʻŌiwi TV – Hawaiʻi’s first and only indigenous television broadcasting network. There he had the opportunity to craft his skills behind the camera and in the edit bay on numerous mini-documentary projects, news pieces, commercial work and non-profit videos. Through ʻŌiwi TV he’s been blessed to travel the world, sailing with and documenting the Hōkūleʻa’s Worldwide Voyage and has collaborated on several PBS national documentaries, including the Nā Loea series, and Lets Play Music! Slack Key with Cyril Pahinui and Friends. Aside from his work at ʻŌiwi TV, Justyn has been working on his first narrative feature-length film, Wichita, with colleagues from USC and is currently in post-production with the project.
Kamakaniokaʻāina “ʻĀina” Paikai (Associate Producer)
Kamakaniokaʻāina “ʻĀina” Paikai is from Waiau, Oʻahu. He is a Native Hawaiian filmmakers that is interested in bolstering the Hawaiian film industry. He received his bachelors of arts from the University of Hawaiʻi’s Academy for Creative Media. His student short films have screened locally at the Hawaiʻi International Film Festival, nationally at the San Francisco Asian American Film Festival, and internationally at the Shanghai International Film Festival. In 2013 he was chosen as a Sundance Native Fellow, selected for his talent in screen writing. ʻĀina currently works as a photographer and editor for ʻŌiwi TV, the first and only indigenous Hawaiian channel that tells stories from a native point of view.
Additional photos available upon request.
“‘Mele Murals’ Explores Native Hawaiian Identity through Urban Street Art” (NBC News, May 25, 2016)
“Why Hawaiian Graffiti Documentary ‘Mele Murals’ Is a Must-See” (The Hundreds, September 13, 2016)
Please contact momo[at]caamedia.org with any questions.