‘Out of State’ documentary features Hawaii inmates imprisoned in Arizona

Published: Jul. 3, 2017 at 12:34 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 3, 2017 at 2:01 PM HST
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(Image: Out of State/Facebook)
(Image: Out of State/Facebook)
(Image: Out of State/Facebook)
(Image: Out of State/Facebook)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Los Angeles Film Festival in June brought forth stories from across the globe, but one strikes particularly close to home.

"Out of State," from Native Hawaiian director Ciara Lacy, follows the lives of three Hawaii men imprisoned nearly 3,000 miles away -- at the Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Ariz.

The prison, now 10 years old, has some 1,900 Hawaii inmates.

Los Angeles Film Festival programmer Adam Piron said in her film, Lacy "threads a bold revelation about the inner conflicts of recidivism and the dark sides of America's 'Paradise of the Pacific.'"

Lacy follows two Native Hawaiians as they are reconnected to their indigenous culture thanks to a fellow inmate. It also examines how they are looking to reintegrate themselves into everyday life once released.

"For me, 'Out of State' is an exploration into the human's struggle with coming back home," Lacy said. "Something about it struck me. It's the thought of how do you return home to start over when you are thousands of miles away. I saw men who wanted to do something positive and reconnect with their community. I wanted to tell that story."

For the film crew, Lacy said, there was a need for flexibility, an open-mind kind of shooting that forced them to adapt to whatever they were faced with, including a frequent lack of space. Not only that, Lacy describes the moments in which she realized where she was and its significance.

She said if she was able to "present the face of what people have to actually deal with" she would bring about understanding -- and potentially breed compassion.

After four years, Lacy and her crew fashioned the 80-minute documentary from close to 300 hours of footage.

"We have a really great team who was motivated, driven and willing to do this," Lacy said. "They understand this film is important, they understand the story and they understand that these are conversations about issues we need to have."

Screenings of the film have expanded throughout the west coast starting in Los Angeles and most recently in the Cayman Islands.

It's slated to premiere in the islands this fall.

"It's always been our goal" to show the film in Hawaii, she said. "And we are excited to bring it home and create this conversation."

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