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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, January 25, 2006

'Loser' title goes to Pa. couple

By Michael Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

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Rasha Spindel, a Kalani High School graduate, and Edwin Chapman will wed Saturday in Manoa. They participated in a weight-loss contest.

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Former Honolulu resident Rasha Spindel and her fiance, Edwin Chapman, were not the biggest losers on TV last Wednesday. Pennsylvania couple Steve and Sarah, who lost a combined 170 pounds over six months, won a $50,000 dream wedding courtesy of NBC's "The Biggest Loser: Special Edition."

But the eating right and getting in shape were their own rewards, Spindel said. Spindel, who started the contest at 237 pounds and makes her living as a plus-sized model, flirted with unemployment by dropping from a size 18 to a size 10. She lost 70 pounds.

The competition kicked off with an intense 10-day stay at the Biggest Loser Ranch. Spindel and Chapman then returned home to Portland, Ore., and embarked on a regimen of exercise and dieting.

Spindel, a former OIA all-star softball player for Kalani High School, said exercising three hours a day, every day, on just 1,500 calories a day was brutal. But she intends to continue exercising and eating well.

The newly svelte couple tie the knot Saturday at the Waioli Tea Room.

PROGRESS, PROGRESS

Writer, producer and director Nathan Nazario was in town last week auditioning local actors for his new film "From This World to the Next: A Pilgrim's Progress."

The short-film adaptation of John Bunyan's 17th-century Christian classic "A Pilgrim's Progress" is set to begin production on O'ahu in March.

Nazario has scouted locations around the island, including Kualoa Ranch and the Pali trails. Local company Cause & F(x) will handle the special effects, and Nazario is also working closely with local production house Molten Media.

After doing public relations for more than 50 films (including "Fargo," "The Usual Suspects" and "Dead Man Walking"), Nazario is beginning to make his mark with independent films. In 2000, he wrote, directed and produced "The White Rose," starring Dominic Chianese of "The Sopranos." His most recent film was the fantasy/drama "The Answering Machine," featuring another "Sopranos" cast member, Chris Caldovino.

"I'm really excited to bring this film here and to be able to contribute to the development of the film industry," Nazario said. "Hawai'i is becoming a vibrant film center, and there is so much talent and potential."

GEE, GEO!

National Geographic has approached University of Hawai'i Academy for Creative Media filmmaker Kaliko Palmeira to discuss including his 2004 student project "Steve Ma'i'i" in a new DVD package.

The short film, a documentary about Palmeira's father, took home the Blockbuster Video Audience Award (Documentary) at the 2004 Louis Vuitton Hawaii International Film Festival.

ALL IN THE 'OHANA

Kamehameha Schools' third annual 'Ohana Film Festival is on for 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Ke'elikolani Auditorium on the school's Kapalama Campus.

The free event features 10 works ranging from short public service announcements to a 45-minute documentary all produced with contributions from Kamehameha Schools students and alumni.

Among the offerings are the short films "Sand Island Drive-In Anthem," "True Love and Mimosa Tea," "Valtor the Great vs. The Universe," "Wahine O Ke Kai" and "Aloha Live."

OSCAR GLEAM IN 'EYES'?

Vilsoni Hereniko's acclaimed film "The Land Has Eyes" is screening at the Rafael Film Center in California this month with possible Oscar implications.

The screenings are part of the Rafael's For Your Consideration film series, which features official entries in the Oscar's Foreign Language Film category.

The film has also screened at the Palm Springs Film Festival's Awards Buzz Best Foreign Language Film program.

Hereniko, a professor at the University of Hawai'i's Center for Pacific Island Studies, wrote and directed the Fiji-based film, which has screened at more than 20 film festivals worldwide.

Though based in Fiji, the film drew a lot from Hawai'i talent. Hereniko co-produced the film with wife Jeannette Paulson Hereniko and San Francisco-based Corey Tong.

Local cinematographer Paul Atkins served as director of photography, and musician Audy Kimura contributed the original score.

Reach Michael Tsai at mtsai@honoluluadvertiser.com.