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by Jennifer Ching, staff writer

 

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 Washington, D.C.
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 needs.

“ 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 experiences.”

“ 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 and recognition.”

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.”



 

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