'Beyond the Break' splashes in on TV
By Zenaida Serrano
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Zenaida Serrano
Mokule'ia has "Lost," and now Makaha has "Beyond the Break," a new television series about girl surfers that debuts tonight on The N.
Geared toward 'tweens to teens, the show offers more than babes in bikinis, weaving in messages about overcoming adversity and pursuing dreams through teamwork.
"It really is a fantastic drama that also has a lot of really wonderful, lighthearted moments," said Kenny Miller, vice president of programming and production for The N, a nighttime network for teens and a programming arm of MTV Networks.
The 20-episode series was filmed mainly on the Leeward coast, and the cast includes Kaua'i native Sonya Balmores, a model and actress working on a project in New Zealand, and actor Jason Tam of 'Aina Haina.
"Beyond the Break" follows four young women — including Balmores' character, Kai Kealoha — paddling to professional surfdom.
"It's about a group of women coming together to become a team sponsored by WaveSync ... and a family, although a dysfunctional one at times," Miller said from New York City.
Each woman tries to overcome personal issues to capture surf stardom from WaveSync, a struggling surf company eager to reinvigorate itself.
Tam, who starred in "Les Miserables" on Broadway and will take a turn in "A Chorus Line" later this year, plays Kurt "Shoe" Shoemaker on the show.
"I had a great time working on this show," Tam e-mailed from Fort Worth, Texas, where he's rehearsing for "The King and I." "... Plus it was a dream-come-true job getting to come home for three months."
Production for "Beyond the Break" began in September and wrapped in December.
Going for as much authenticity as possible, producers filmed the west-shore-based series in Makaha, and had one of the characters working at the real-life Makaha Resort.
The production crew used two camera units — one to focus on the show's narrative and another for the beach and water shots, which helped emphasize "nature as one of the characters," Miller said.
"The reason why we wanted to shoot in Hawai'i is to share the beauty of the location to the rest of the world," Miller said. " ... We thought it was wonderful and it fulfilled our wildest expectations."
Local actor-comedian-filmmaker Gerard Elmore, 26, appears in about five episodes of the show as Shoe's friend, Blake.
"I have a recurring part as the goofball, pretty much," said Elmore, who won the 2005 Hawaii International Film Festival Best Short Film award for "Valtor the Great vs. the Universe."
Elmore, who's from Kapolei, said being part of the show has been unforgettable.
"It was a great experience, being nearby where I live and being part of something that's being shown nationally," Elmore said from Dover, Del., where he's on tour with NASCAR as a promotional correspondent for Crown Royal TV. "It's the most exciting thing that you can do."
Elmore is sure that viewers will be pleased with "Beyond the Break."
"I think they're going to get a show that's very entertaining and fun to watch," he said.
Tam agrees, adding that the series has a face-paced story line and is action-packed.
"Viewers can look forward to an exciting show," Tam said. " ... Local viewers can also look forward to recognizing local hang outs and probably seeing some of their friends on the show."
Reach Zenaida Serrano at firstname.lastname@example.org.