The HPU Documentary
and Corporate Video class, also known as Video III, is celebrating
two recent achievements: this summer, its film Elements won
a Communicator Award of Distinction from the International
Academy of the Visual Arts, and in September, its film East
Wind Rain became the featured film at the Pacific Aviation
Museum at Pearl Harbor.
The Communicator Awards is “the leading international awards
program honoring creative excellence for communications professionals,” according
to the Communicator Awards Web site. Both films continue HPU’s
award-winning “tradition” in advanced video production.
Produced in summer 2007 for the Hawai‘i Chapter of the
American Red Cross, Elements focuses on the elements of disasters:
earth, wind, fire, and water. It contrasts these with riveting
images, interviews, and the elements of dedication, kindness,
love, and aloha that define the Red Cross. The film is used in
training classes and has been shown on YouTube, the local television
station ‘Olelo, and at several statewide public events,
according to Coralie Chun Matayoshi, CEO of the American Red
Cross, Hawai‘i Chapter.
This video has made a huge difference in our ability to reach
people with a message that tugs at the heartstrings,” said
Matayoshi. “So many people have commented on how touched
they were by it. Tears still come to my eyes when I watch it.
It’s the best tool we have to get out our local message
about what we do and how people can help.”
Video III’s spring 2008 film, East Wind Rain, was produced
with the goal of replacing the older film shown at the Pacific
Aviation Museum (PAM) Theatre and everyone who visits the museum
will see it.
According to PAM Chairman Ronald J. Hays and Executive Director
Kenneth H. DeHoff, “This 12-minute film delivers the introduction
to World War II and the surprise attack on December 7, 1941 for
the museum’s more than 10,000 visitors per month. The film
does an outstanding job of tying the early events of the war
and the exhibits of the museum through the use of technology
and scripting. The final outcome of your coursework product has
exceeded our expectation. For that we are most grateful.”
Albert Olsson, editor and cameraman for the Elements film
and director for the East Wind Rain film, said, “It feels great
that the American Red Cross film won an award and that the PAM
film will be played at the museum.” But, he continued, “the
greatest reward is…when people come up to me and tell me
how much they liked and appreciated the video.”
According to HPU communication video lab manager Mark Nitta,
the video class produced PSAs and a longer video eight years
ago for the nonprofit art museum Honolulu Academy of Arts. The
longer video titled The Vision of Anna Rice Cooke, won an award
and was the catalyst for Video III.
The whole idea behind Video III,” continued Nitta, “was
to link up with nonprofits in Hawai‘i to do videos for
them, professional-level videos.”
Since that first film, the class has produced seven films and
almost all of them have won one or more professional film awards.
The 2002 film, Kaho‘olawe: Ka Ha o ko makou mau Kupuna
(The Breath of Our Ancestors) won the Blockbuster Audience Award
for Best Short Film from the Hawai‘i International Film
Festival and was exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution in
Two films have also been broadcast on local TV stations: First
Shot: The Secret Submarine Attack on Pearl Harbor was broadcast
on Dec. 7, 2005 on KFVE, and Peggy, With Love: The Peggy Chun
Story was broadcast on KHNL in 2006.
Despite the tradition of awards, Nitta stresses that the class
is about producing professional video that meets the client’s
I always put this in the heads of the students: we’re not
doing it for us. We’re not doing it for the awards. Awards
will only come afterwards, after you’ve done your job and
done it really well,” Nitta said. “Think about the
client,” he added.
Lewis Trusty, who co-teaches the Video III class with Nitta,
agrees: “The purpose [of the class] is to satisfy what
the client wants. The client is the one that has to be happy.”
Ashley Iaea, now a HPU graduate student in communication, directed
the American Red Cross, Hawai‘i Chapter film while she
was an undergraduate. She described her work on the team that
produced the American Red Cross film as “one of the best
Yes, it was challenging,” she continued, “trying
to put together a film in about three months (during the summer),
but that was fuel to prove to ourselves as well as our clients
that we could do something at a professional level for pure experience
Olsson, who graduated from HPU in May with a degree in visual
communication, said he knew “going into it that it was
going to be hard, and that I had to give it my all to succeed.
Since we, the students, are responsible for the entire process,
and we work for a real client, it requires us to be very professional.
It’s no longer just a student project. It’s the real
world, with real deadlines, and real expectations.”
Olsson said students should, “work hard and really figure
out if this field is something [they] are interested in. It takes
hard work and dedication and you need to be prepared for it.
I spent countless hours and late nights to complete the projects
but I enjoyed all of it. Make sure you do, too.”