Filmmaking for Peace
When Kaycie Kahalewai’s teachers and friends saw the movie she made, they cried as a girl facing severe bullying turns to self-harm. Kahalewai, a Molokai High School junior and class president, made the short firlm for a competition, shooting the video on Molokai and drawing from her own experiences to create a moving account of violence amongst youth.
It’s no surprise that a film made close to home hits close to home. Kahalewai addressed an issue that affects every high school student in one way or another. She was a victim of bullying herself and tapped into those emotions to make her video.
“I know how it feels to be bullied,” Kahalewai said. “I don’t want others feeling that way.”
Kahalewai is new to film-making. She learned her way around iMovie in a leadership class last year, and took what she knew from that to create her video. But she isn’t new to the campaign against bullying.
“In my public human services classes I started pushing to create a program to get students educated,” she said. “I created pamphlets explaining who is at risk and how you can prevent [bullying].”
Her video features facts and statistics as well. It cuts from footage of a girl struggling as a victim of bullying to information about the prevalence of the issue, such as the fact that 90 percent of students are victims of some kind of bullying.
MHS teacher Ric Ornellas said he encourages Kahelawai and others to participate in projects like this because in a small school like MHS, it’s important for students to step outside of their comfort zone as they struggle with concerns about relationships, campus violence, rape and bullying.
He said last year MHS hosted a public service announcement contest, which featured 15 videos, and this year he invited students to participate in a state-wide competition sponsored by Rotary Global Peace Forum. Kahelawai was the one who brought a video to completion, and now it is being judged alongside 600 other videos that address the idea of what peace means to young people. There are seven categories in the competition with a first-place prize of $500.
Ornellas said they will know the results of the competition in five to six weeks. He’s working on getting it online through the Victory over Violence website.