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‘Sons of Halawa’ World Premiere

Quazifilms News Release

SOH Matt filming Pilipo

Photo courtesy of Quazifilms.

On Monday, Nov. 16 in Honolulu, “Sons of Halawa,” a locally produced 60-minute documentary, will have its World Premiere at the Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF). The Molokai Premiere is scheduled for Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. under the tent at Hotel Molokai.

The story takes place in Molokai’s Halawa Valley and revolves around the life of Pilipo Solatorio. Now in his 70s, Pilipo is the last of his generation living in the isolated valley. The film follows him for two years as he searches for a successor to replace him as the carrier of Halawa’s cultural practices. Will Pilipo’s son, Greg, come home to take on the responsibility, or will Pilipo’s two hanai sons (Josh Pastrana and Jason Poole) be left with the challenge? The realities of modern life make it difficult for any one of them to carry on a legacy that has been passed down for many generations. Only through true commitment and sacrifice will Halawa’s story and sacredness be carried forward.

While the film focuses on Pilipo’s search for a successor, it also explores his own amazing life… adopted at four, running away at 16, falling in love with his pen-pal, overcoming alcohol, and eventually finding his way back home to fulfill his destiny. Pilipo’s life journey inspires while his current struggle gives intimate insight to the transformative power of connecting with tradition and culture.

“Sons of Halawa” is the work of Molokai filmmaker, Matt Yamashita who wrote, directed, shot and edited the piece. He produced the documentary on a small budget raised entirely through individual donations.

For Yamashita, the piece is very close to his heart.

“Pops (Solatorio) is my kumu in Hawaiian culture, but he is also like a father to me,” said Yamashita. “Not many people, even on Molokai, know his whole life story. It’s really amazing and I’m excited to share it in this documentary. I think the film is something that our community will be proud of.”

“Sons of Halawa” will be screened at various festivals and events across Hawaii and the United States in the coming months. It is also currently under consideration for national broadcast on PBS.

On Molokai, it will be screened along with another 30-minute documentary co-produced by Yamashita, “The Roots of ‘Ulu,” a film about the resurgence of breadfruit in Hawaiian culture and cuisine. Admission is free and pupu’s and drinks will be available for purchase through Hale Kealoha restaurant at Hotel Molokai.

The HIFF premiere will take place at the Dole Cannery Stadium at 8:15 p.m. on Nov. 16.


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