Filmmaker Alika Maikau keeps it local while being up for Oscar consideration

Updated: Apr. 6, 2020 at 3:07 PM HST
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Local filmmaker Alika Maikau sits down to Talk Story with host McKenna Maduli. She asks him, “First of all where are you from?” Maikau grew up in Kaneohe, “Born and raised. I went to Castle and everything. Shout out to the 44.” McKenna loves that he kept it local by going to film school at University of Hawaii and featuring local talent in his short films. She asks him, “What is it like to be a local boy from Kaneohe and hear the words: In consideration for Oscars 2021?” Alika humbly replies, “It’s crazy. It’s surreal. Growing up in Kaneohe, or just in Hawaii in general, I didn’t think that that was something possible for local people, for local kids, so that that’s even a possibility is really surreal and I’m really grateful.” “It’s very important to me, it’s like, I’ve never seen the types of stories and the people that I grew up with depicted on the screen. Especially the types of stories that I grew up around in Kaneohe, and so I felt like it’s such a vibrant community and the people of Hawaii are so interesting and there’re so many characters, and a Hawaiian person looks so different. Every Hawaiian looks different. I’m Hawaiian. There’s so many shades of being Hawaiian, so I want to explore and depict that on screen.”

‘Molokai Bound’ is a short film, but Alika is planning to make it a feature. “The film is about a father struggling to reconnect to his son after he gets out of prison, and sort of navigating the intricacies and the highs and lows of that.” A very real subject that people can relate to. He also touches on Hawaiian tradition. “The film is very much about this character that’s been isolated from his family and his heritage and trying to reconnect to both at the same time.” McKenna asks him to share any advice to young locals who may want to become filmmakers. Alika encourages them to “Just tell your story. Tell your specific story, make it unique to yourself and don’t feel like you have to cater to an audience other than the people that you’re trying to please. Just do it for your community or do it for yourself.”

About Alika Maikau:

Alika Maikau grew up in Kaneohe and studied creative media at the University of Hawaii. He’s inspired to tell stories that are rooted here in the islands. Alika has been globally recognized for his work at film festivals all over the world. “Molokai Bound” won the award for best live-action short film at the imagiNATIVE film festival in Toronto, which qualifies it to move on down the long road to Oscar consideration in 2021. His 25-minute movie “Mauka to Makai” won best Hawaii-made short film at last year’s Hawaii International Film Festival. Alika Maikau is also known for his short films ‘Keep You Float’ and ‘Mareikura’. “Mauka to Makai” is available for purchase on Vimeo.

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