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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, February 5, 2002

Time to get rolling on UH film school

Each year, Hawai'i puts on a world-class international film festival that showcases movies, documentaries and videos from Asia, the Pacific and the Mainland. And yet we have no film school.

Hawai'i's stunning mountains, valleys, ocean and beaches have served as the exotic setting for numerous Hollywood movies and TV shows, from "Pearl Harbor" and "Jurassic Park" to "Baywatch" and "Hawai'i 5-0." And yet we have no film school.

Extraordinary? Yes. But that could change, according to a University of Hawai'i task force that predicts a film school could spring into action as early as the fall of 2004, if it gets the necessary support.

Last August, UH President Evan Dobelle uncloaked a proposal to create a film school that would offer a four-year degree program and become a pre-eminent institution for Asia-Pacific film studies.

Dobelle's Film School Task Force estimates such a program would cost around $200,000 to start up, which would pay for a director, secretary, graduate assistants and visiting professionals.

Dobelle has said he wants a film school to become a reality "quickly." So let's get rolling. There's plenty of talent here in the Islands. What's missing for aspiring film-makers is technical support, inspiration, direction and a thriving film arts community. Build a decent film school, and the industry will grow around it. Only, instead of trying to compete with, say, the University of Southern California or UCLA, the UH film school could take an Asia-Pacific focus and capitalize on its unique location among Asia, Polynesia and the Mainland.