With big wins for ‘White Lotus,’ film industry exec says Hawaii ‘is leading the way’

The White Lotus
The White Lotus(Mario Perez/HBO)
Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 11:47 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii’s film industry has a lot to celebrate these days.

“The White Lotus,” which was filmed entirely on Maui, recently won 10 Emmy Awards and earned a Location Managers Guild International nomination for Outstanding Film Commission.

“I think Hawaii has proven, immeasurably, that we are ready, willing and able to compete with the rest of the world,” said Donne Dawson, state film commissioner.

Dawson said the HBO limited series really set the bar for filming during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, when everything was essentially shuttered.

During filming of “The White Lotus,” which took place at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, a production bubble was essentially created to keep cast and crewmembers safe.

The state also established a quarantine program for film productions that required very strict protocols.

“What’s really interesting is that the film industry is leading the way in terms of being the safest and the most forward thinking on what are the best practices for,” Dawson said. “And it was not until the film industry was able to come up with these very strict protocols that the industry was able to reopen because like everything else, it was shut down during the worst part of the pandemic.”

Dawson said it’s been interesting to see even other businesses look to the film industry on how to navigate the pandemic.

But “The White Lotus” isn’t the only production to celebrate.

Dawson said even through the pandemic, Hawaii’s film industry thrived with the successes of “Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.,” “NCIS: Hawaii” and “Magnum, P.I.”

And there’s more to come.

“The Wind and the Reckoning,” a movie that was filmed on Hawaii Island, is slated to make its world debut at the Boston Film Festival this weekend.

Jason Momoa’s new Apple TV+ limited series “Chief of War” is also on the way.

“I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that it truly is one of the most important industries in the state right now,” Dawson said. “The film industry has proven that we can, we can in a very short period of time, make decisions based on safe locales to direct hundreds of millions of dollars in production to that region.”