Maui indie film thrives in light of Hollywood strikes

As the unions fight for a better deal, local independent filmmakers are capitalizing on the situation
Published: Jul. 25, 2023 at 8:05 PM HST
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MAKAWAO (HawaiiNewsNow) - As dual strikes continue in Hollywood, affecting thousands of actors and writers, an independent film on Maui continues production – like usual.

“It’s advantageous for us because we can keep going in a world where they actually have constraints against themselves,” said Moku Moku showrunner Kawika Hoke.

Hoke created Moku Moku – a Hawaiian comedy series that takes place in the Upcountry paniolo town of Makawao.

It is one of the few productions filming right now.

For Hoke, it is a dream come true.

“We can create our own system. We can provide our own economy, and that’s the important part. It keeps the money here,” Hoke said.

Famous actor Mark Ruffalo recently tweeted asking for more support for independent films saying it will strengthen the union when there is more competition.

Hoke said that is a game changer.

“Indie Hollywood … can stand independently and check union Hollywood because that’s the thing that union Hollywood’s missing, it’s missing competition. It’s missing someone that goes, ‘On your left,’” he said.

Grant Matthews began his professional acting career in the early 1980s. He says they are planning a Maui rally for mid-August to stand in solidarity with their Hollywood counterparts.

“We all want to get through this with aloha and as much goodwill as we can,” Matthews said. “We need to stick together because there’s a lot more strength in numbers when it comes to negotiating.”

As for Hoke and his team at Moku Moku, they say now is the time for others in the industry to make their own dreams come true.

“We’ve been building everything for everyone else. Why not build your own?”