Danny Miller, a lecturer in the Digital Media Arts program at Hawaii Community College, has directed, written and edited a new documentary that has been premiering around the state in recent weeks.
Called Na Kupu Mana’olana “Seeds of Hope,” the film was created with the help of two graduates from the HawCC Digital Media Arts program.
“Seeds of Hope” tells the story of how Hawaii is returning to traditional and local methods of growing food.
The film offers an in-depth look at the history and future of Hawaii’s agriculture and shows how the archipelago’s unique physical isolation coupled with the rising cost of shipping food across long distances have created powerful incentives for communities to return to the land-based ethic of malama ‘aina and sustainable agriculture.
“For over 1,000 years the Hawaiian People produced enough food to support an estimated population of one million,” according to the film. “Today, 85 percent of their food is imported. And if current trends continue, Hawaii’s last agricultural lands will be gone by 2040.”
The Hawaii Rural Development Council, a nonprofit that promotes and supports the rural-based economic welfare of the state, invited Miller to help create the film beginning in 2009.
The production team traveled to all the islands and filmed interviews with the farmers and educators who are seeking solutions for making Hawaii less dependent on food imports.
Editing began in 2011, and the film was completed in September.
Miller said it was a daunting task to cover all the important people, issues and history that have shaped Hawaii’s agricultural past and continue to shape its future.
“There are so many powerful stories of farmers fighting to keep their farms alive and educators developing new ideas to inspire young people to become farmers,” Miller wrote in an email. “It was a great adventure and honor to meet these amazing people throughout Hawaii.”
Ashley Abalos and Jared Sumic, two graduates of HawCC’s Digital Media Arts program, assisted on the project, according to Miller.
Abalos created the opening animation and title sequence and the logo for the film, and Sumic created the animated maps for the film, Miller said.
The film will continue to be shown around the state and screenings will be posted on the film’s website.
Miller also invited people to join the film’s Facebook page.
The film will be released on DVD early next year.