Hawaii Film Office affected by state layoffs - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii Film Office affected by state layoffs

Donne Dawson Donne Dawson
Brent Anbe Brent Anbe

By Lisa Kubota - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Hawaii Film Office helps bring millions of dollars into the state each year. But its small staff has been hit hard by recent state layoffs. Friday is film commissioner Donne Dawson's last day on the job. For years -- the Hawaii Film Office has helped create all kinds of drama, but now the story line for most of its small staff has come to an end. Three of the five employees have been laid off.

"I have a passion for this industry," State Film Commissioner, Donne Dawson said.

This is Donne Dawson's last day as state film commissioner. She's concerned about how the losses will impact Hawaii's lucrative film industry.

"To keep the three of us engaged would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $150,000 and on average our industry generates an average of $150 to $200 million dollars annually in direct spending for the state," Dawson said.

The responsibilities of the laid-off employees will now be added to the duties of workers in the creative industries division.

"There are too many choices out there for productions to wait for processes to get up to speed and for individuals to get up to speed," Dawson said.

Film specialist Brent Anbe lost his job two weeks ago.

"I think they'll be very overwhelmed because they do not have production experience," Anbe said. "They wouldn't know what a jib arm is. They wouldn't know what a dolly track is."

Anbe has firsthand experience as a filmmaker. He recently wrote and directed "Ajumma Are You Crazy?" -- about local ladies who are addicted to Korean dramas.

"It's been really well received and we're just promoting that and trying to get it into film festivals on the mainland," he said.

Anbe says he trying to stay positive about being unemployed -- but he admits he misses his film family.

"It's been tough because I've been at the film office for over five years and loved every minute of it," he said.

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