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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Hawaii Film Partners wrap Discovery series

By Michael Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Rann and Gina Watumull, founders of the fledgling Hawaii Film Partners, are in high spirits following the successful wrap of the new Discovery Kids series "29 Down."

The cast of "29 Down" celebrated with a bowling-alley party following the wrap-up of the series for the Discovery Kids channel.

Photos courtesy of Blaise Noto

The 'tweens-oriented survivor series finished shooting March 18, on budget and a day ahead of schedule.

Co-produced by Hawaii Film Partners and series creators Stan Rogou ("Lizzie McGuire") and D.J. MacHale ("Are You Afraid of the Dark?"), the show is scheduled to air this September on the Discovery Kids programming block on NBC.

The ensemble cast includes Hallee Hirsh ("ER"), Johnny Pacar ("Boston Public"), Corbin Bleu ("Catch That Kid") and local singer Tani Lynn Fujimoto.

The 13-episode first season was shot entirely at Mokulei'a.

The early response from Discover has been uniformly positive, Rann Watumull said.

Rather than wait until the show runs in September, the network will likely test-market episodes from Season 1 sometime within the next two months and then make a decision on whether to go ahead with a second season, Watumull said.

"We proved we could do the show within budget and on schedule even under the worst conditions," Watumull said, alluding to the spell of rainy weather that flooded the main shooting location. "And it was possible because we had good people and good coordination.

Gina and Rann Watumull are the founders of Hawaii Film Partners.
Gina Watumull said the production was successful in large part because local crews agreed to work at a lower pay scale and were committed to the project.

Without revealing the season-ending cliffhanger, Rann Watumull said viewers can look forward to "a lot of rain and water" in the last episode.

What's next?

With "Lost" winding down for the season and "Hawaii" and "North Shore" canceled, local film crews and other industry professionals have their antennae up for off-season opportunities. Is that why there's so much speculation again about Jackie Chan possibly shooting parts of "Rush Hour 3" here? Honolulu film commissioner Walea Constantinau says she hasn't heard anything one way or the other.

Dog's Island girl

"Dog the Bounty Hunter," on A&E, may be a launching pad for some. Hawai'i musician Kekoa's "Island Girl" will be the featured track on the April 5 show. Check local listings for times.