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Hawaii represents at SXSW

March 11th, 2015

On Monday night I'll head to Austin, Tex. for the first time in my life. After one of the largest and most successful POW! WOW! Hawaii Festivals in Hawaii to date, a group of us will head out to our first project at South by Southwest in partnership with Austin graffiti hub SprATX.

POW! WOW! artists Tatiana Suarez (USA), Yoskay Yamamoto (Japan), Rone and Meggs (Australia) will be the featured artists working with Austin locals Mouf, Truth and Ana Maria for an Impossible Walls project during the music/film/interactive conference. A group from the POW! WOW! School of Music that includes myself, Andy Song, Nicholas Kaleikini and JP Kennedy will also be there. Style icon and rapper Theophilus Martin’s new clothing brand, Good Posture (G/P), along with Basecamp will also sponsor School of Music alumni Paris Gray.

COURTESY RYAN MIYAMOTORyan Miyamoto is originally from Kuliouou; he moved to Los Angeles to help with the final edit of “Twinsters.”


Ryan Miyamoto is originally from Kuliouou; he moved to Los Angeles to help with the final edit of “Twinsters.”

I was pretty excited to learn our group won’t be the only one flying in from Honolulu to participate this year. On the film side, there are two projects with Hawaii ties. “Hawaii Five-0” star Daniel Dae Kim has a principal role in “Ktown Cowboys” alongside Bobby Choy, Danny Cho and Steve Byrne. The movie is based on the coming-of-age comedy web series of the same name. Kim will be in Austin from Thursday until Sunday.

Also from Hawaii (via Los Angeles) is Ryan Miyamoto, who co-directed the documentary “Twinsters.” The film has built a huge buzz, with major celebrities posting about it online. From start to finish, it's an amazing story.

In February 2013, South Korean actress Samantha Futerman received a message from a French girl named Anaïs Bordier on Facebook, admitting she had been stalking her. The two looked a lot alike, like a LOT. After realizing they were both adopted, with the same birthday and birthplace, and could be twins, Futerman, an accomplished actress and director, decided to create a documentary surrounding their first meeting in person after numerous social media messages and Skype calls.

A few years earlier, Futerman worked with Hawaii’s Yamato Cibulka, who produced “Man Up,” a film directed by and starring Justin Chon that is scheduled to be released sometime this year. Futerman was an actress in the film and became good friends with Cibulka.

COURTESY SMALL PACKAGE FILMS“Twinsters” follows the story of twin sisters reunited after growing up in separate families.


“Twinsters” follows the story of twin sisters reunited after growing up in separate families.

In 2013, Futerman funded her documentary project using Kickstarter and raised $43,838 — more than $13,000 more than her goal. She successfully funded another $85,244 for post-production in 2014. Her film will be one of 24 Kickstarter-funded projects screening at SXSW this year.

“It’s one of the greatest stories I have ever come across,” said Miyamoto via email. “At first I thought it would just be filming the first meeting of Sam and Anais in London, and the weeks preceding. However, after coming back from London, Samantha and I knew that there was much more to be discovered in the story. We needed to go to Korea.

“So what I thought would be a few weeks of filming turned into and on-and-off, two-year project.”

This will be Miyamoto's first time in Austin, but he is no stranger to film festivals, having attended the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, Maui Film Festival and the Center for Asian American Media. Miyamoto has since moved to Los Angeles to help edit the rough cut for “Twinsters” but definitely misses home.

“I miss my friends, family, and the surf in Hawaii, but I knew coming to LA would be the only way I could co-direct and supervise the edit of ‘Twinsters,’” he said.

“Twinsters” screens on Sunday, Monday and March 19 in Austin.


Christa Wittmier has chronicled Honolulu nightlife since 2004. She is senior marketing director at Young's Market Co. of Hawaii and executive director of music for Pow! Wow! Hawaii, and also helps promote the popular Bacardi Pool Party on Oahu. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.

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