Filmmaker Jordan Alan likes it here
By Michael Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Michael Tsai
Can't count Jordan Alan among the Mainland transplants lured to the Islands by slickly marketed tropical tropes.
"Hawai'i has a lot more going for it than tourism, but a lot of people don't understand that," said the New Jersey-born filmmaker.
Alan isn't all talk: He's putting his movies where his mouth is.
Alan ("Terminal Bliss") has two films slated for production in Hawai'i this year: "Pipeline," a $6 million surf-horror film that's set on the North Shore, and "E-Train," a $7 million drama about the drug trade, set in Amsterdam and Honolulu.
The filmmaker, who lives part of the year in Pupukea, said he intends to use only local crew for both films. He'll also be looking to work with local actors. Alan's larger goal is to make films in Hawai'i full time.
"You will struggle as an artist or a film producer, that's true anywhere; but day to day it's a lot more pleasant to be in Hawai'i where people have a smile on their face," he said. "Here, the attitude is 'We're family; we'll make it work.' People don't buy into that corporate mentality; they don't choose to hurt you. That's not in their heart."
Alan said he experienced that extension of trust and cooperation while filming surf footage for "Pipeline" last year. He said local crews helped him, and the result was a once-in-a-lifetime record of a historic North Shore surf season.
Alan broke into the business at age 18 working as a production assistant on commercials and watching Bergman films in New York. He wrote and directed his first film, "Terminal Bliss" (starring Luke Perry), at 21, then moved to Los Angeles to accelerate his career. What he got was an education of a different sort.
"I saw why not many good movies get made," Alan said. "There are too many egos who want a stake and too many people along the line who are just interested in cashing out. There is always this cap on (films) that makes them mediocre. There are good films, but not many when you consider the economies available there.
"I needed to find a place that made sense economically and inspirationally."
Alan said he first became familiar with Hawai'i's film industry when his wife, actress Amanda Righetti, worked here on the short-lived "North Shore" television series.
The more he learned about the available talent, and about the state's Act 221 tax incentive, the more he became convinced that he had found that sensible place.
Righetti is slated to produce and star in "Pipeline." Alan is finalizing a deal that would bring in local cinematographer Paul Atkins as director of photography.
Alan is also eager to get started on "E-Train," a film about privileged Honolulu kids who get sucked in to a dangerous drug ring.
Together, the two films will represent two very distinct areas of the state, Alan said.
" 'Pipeline' is my south movie and 'E-Train' is my north story," Alan said, noting the myriad possibilities that shooting in Honolulu provides.
For more information on Alan and his projects, visit www.outer reefsltd.com.
Fledgling Hawai'i production company Circle Three has filmed a reality show pilot, and Circle Three president Cynthia Lockhart said her company is optimistic that the pilot will be picked up by one of the major networks.
Lockhart described the prospective show as a cross between "Survivor" and "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" in which two teams of local twenty-somethings compete for a "life-changing" prize.
Former "American Idol" finalist Jordan Segundo hosts a segment, filmed at American Box Car Racing International's Kunia track, in which the participants have to assemble a box car.
"I just met the team ... and they seem pretty enthusiastic," Segundo said at the track.
Circle Three has not released names of the 12 team members, but all are Hawai'i residents.
Lockhart, a California native with extensive experience in radio, said her company is designed to take advantage of Hawai'i's strengths as a multi-use location to provide employment and training for those interested in television production.
Circle Three producer Cherie Marquez, a Hawai'i product, joined the company last December, bringing with her a wealth of reality TV experience, including work on "Nanny 911," and MTV's "The Real World," and "Road Rules."
In addition to its production work, Circle Three operates a 5,800-square-foot studio with soundstage, equipment and other resources for rent.
The company ruffled a few feathers in the local film community in its first months by posting descriptive information on its Web site that exaggerated its capabilities and hiring a non-union crew without meeting with the local union.
DIDN'T KEEL OVER
Kudos to Hawai'i's own Nick and Lael Keeler, who lost a combined 112 pounds in six months of competition on NBC's "The Biggest Loser."
The couple, who married in October, were featured on the show's two-hour special Wednesday.
Nick and Lael pulled off their amazing transformation through a simple but difficult-to-maintain regimen of daily exercise and sensible eating.
Throughout the course of the competition, the couple lifted weights three times a week and ran, cycled or did other types of aerobic exercise five times a week. Nick joined Lael for spinning and turbo kickboxing classes at 24-Hour Fitness.
Keeping to the program's 1,500-calories-per-day restriction was a challenge — "For us, eating is entertainment," Nick says — but they held firm and got firmer for the effort.
Lael completed her first triathlon last June and is making plans for the upcoming Tinman Triathlon in July. She's also using her rediscovered sense of confidence to push ahead with her new wine shop.
ANOTHER HGTV OP
Home and Garden Television's "Generation Renovation," is looking for homeowners with a good renovation tale to tell.
A crew from the show will be in Hawai'i in mid-March. For more information, see www.hgtv.com/hgtv/shows_hgren.
Reach Michael Tsai at email@example.com.