Hawaii film 'Chief' hopes for Academy nomination - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii film 'Chief' hopes for Academy nomination

By Diane Ako - bio | email and Taires Hiranaka

HONOLULU (KHNL) - A short film made in Hawaii is burning up the independent film circuit. 'Chief' has raked in critics' acclaim since its premiere last year. Now its director hopes to get an Academy Award.

'Chief' is a local movie, getting international recognition. Film director Brett Wagner sums up, "It's the story of a Samoan chief who suffers tragedy that causes him to flee his home. He's come to Honolulu in an effort to disappear and winds up as a taxi driver in Chinatown."

Check out this opening scene. It's so realistic because the guy really is getting a tattoo! Wagner said, "We filmed an authentic Samoan tatau."

Wagner shot in Hawaii with an all-local crew. The 21 minute short premiered at Sundance Film Festival to praise. Beams Wagner, "Indy Wire magazine called us one of the 10 must see shorts of Sundance, which is an amazing plug to get."

From there, it's won other acclaim. Wagner lists: "The British Academy of Film and TV Award Excellence. Then we won an Audience Award for Best Film Short from Maui Film Festival. We won Best Dramatic Short at the LA Film Festival, which is important for us."

It's won enough awards to qualify for an Academy Award nomination. Perhaps an Oscar is in Wagner's future? Though it is a very Polynesian film, it has a universal story line. Wagner said the appeal of the movie is, "Everyone can relate to the story of a man who's lost his daughter."

If you want to check it out, it made its hometown premiere at the Hawaii International Film Festival in October.

Wagner also co-produced another project with his wife Kathernie. Zoë Kay Wagner was born September 26 at 10:30 am. Congratulations to the happy couple!


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