Alors! French TV crew visits to film local life
By Eloise Aguiar
Advertiser Staff Writer
A French production company is combing the Islands, planning to film stories about people, places and communities to air on French television.
Match Point Production, which works with France's M6 television network, is here for 2 1/4 weeks and has made arrangements to film a Kahalu'u community group fighting drug use; Philippe Mettout, who came from Paris 25 years ago and started a business on the North Shore; and rangers at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park.
"We really wanted to touch all aspects of society in Hawai'i," said director Araz Gulekjian. "The Neighborhood Watch was pretty nice because it gives us an overview of what crime is, how they fight it, how people mobilize, how the community comes together in order to fight it."
Gulekjian read about the community, was moved by its efforts and wanted to include its story in the montage he's creating about the Islands.
The filming originally was going to focus on surfing. But after reading a compelling story about the people of Kahalu'u, Gule-kjian said, he felt he had to tell their story as well.
"I was really touched by these people, because they're trying to take back their community," Gule-kjian said.
Last November, Art Machado, a Kahalu'u Neighborhood Board member, called for community involvement when drug problems spread to a newly opened community park. The group, made up of residents, police, politicians and members of community churches, conducted cleanups at the park, formed security watches and worked with police to curb the problem.
In France, Machado said, "They have similar problems, and nobody has really done it from the standpoint of community. They like the model that we're doing. Basically they think it's something worthwhile for them, and that they can take it back and maybe start something."
On the North Shore, the crew of four will film Mettout, who owns Planet Surf.
They had expected to film Feb. 27 but were turned back by the tsunami warning. Filming instead will take place this week when the winds subside and surfing conditions improve, Mettout said.
Mettout arrived in Hawai'i 25 years ago to surf and eventually opened a surf shop on the North Shore. This will be the third time Mettout will be interviewed for a television feature for French television, he said. But this feature also will include interviews with local lifeguards, a surf instructor and surfers young and old, male and female, Mettout said.
The film crew knows little about surfing, and Mettout said he will tell them about Island life, politics and schools.
But the main message he wants to get across is how surfing is engrained in Hawai'i culture, he said.
M6 is the second-largest television network in France, and Mettout said people there are eager to watch programs about the Islands because they love surfing and Hawai'i.
"For them, it's a dream," he said, "a dream they will never achieve to come here."