The documentary film on Blacks in Hawaii, entitled “Holding Fast the Dream: Hawaii’s African American Experience”, had its DVD release on May 18, 2011. This documentary was directed by Steve Okino, and executive produced by Dr. Miles M. Jackson.
Okino and Jackson’s main goal for coming up with the documentary film on Blacks in Hawaii is to bring the African American population living in the islands out from obscurity. Moreover, they also wanted to put on film the numerous achievements and struggles of the African American community residing in Hawaii.
The one hour long documentary highlights the two hundred year history of African Americans in America’s only state in the south pacific. It traces the history of the Hawaiian Black community from the time they were welcomed to the islands by the royalty of the Hawaiian Kingdom to the time they intermarried with the local Polynesian population. More than featuring the lives of African Americans however, the film also explores such topics as the challenges of building a community and the dichotomy of race even in a multi ethnic community.
The documentary was selected for screening at both the San Diego Black Film Festival and the Hawaii International Film Festival as well.
The DVD release of “Holding Fast the Dream: Hawaii’s African American Experience” was made possible through the donations of reputable organizations such as the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation and the Alexander & Baldwin Foundation.
Although relatively unknown in the mainland, the filmmakers, Jackson and Okino, have accomplished a lot both in the fields of Hawaiian film and literature.
Okino, a producer and journalist based in Honolulu, Hawaii, is credited for producing a number of educational, news, and documentary programming. Some of his most popular works include a writing credit for “Lahaina: Waves of Change”, the winner of the Pacific Panorama award, and a writing, producing, and directing credit for “A Most Unlikely Hero”, an acclaimed documentary which was aired on PBS Hawaii and distributed by American Public Television. Okino has a Master of Science degree from the Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
Jackson on the other hand, is a graduate of Virginia Union University. He has over 50 published articles and has written and/or edited several books which include “They Followed the Trade Winds: African Americans in Hawaii” and “Pacific Islands Studies”. He currently writes a monthly column for Mahogany entitled “Covering People of Color”.
The DVD of “Holding Fast the Dream” is priced at $24.95 and can be ordered via the film’s website. The extras of the DVD include in depth interviews with the prominent African American personalities featured all throughout the documentary.
The DVD release documentary film on Blacks in Hawaii is a huge step forward for the African American community in Hawaii as is a good platform for its members to finally make their presence felt. Given the proper distribution of the documentary, widespread consciousness of the Black community in the island paradise can be achieved. For more information about the film, its creators, and sponsors, visit its official website, http://holdingthedream.org.
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