The elements were in place. I had clips from my “Toward Living Pono” documentary project that would stand alone nicely as conservation education modules. I had a potential partner willing to review and give feedback on my work. I had decided on the name “Malama: Taking Care” for the educational outreach component, to differentiate it from the documentary film itself. Now all that needed to be done was…create the study guides!
If you have been poking around “Indies Go to School,” you know what happened next. I started reading about 21st Century Learning, finding out about Project-based Learning, talking to teachers, TV stations, distributors, and curriculum writers. I found great examples of educational outreach and talked to the producers involved. And then rolled up my sleeves to pull it all together.
The result is a set of seven Hawaii State Standards-aligned clips and study guides that concentrate on Project-based Learning and the 21st Century concepts of media literacy, interdisciplinary skills, collaboration, and community involvement. Each clip is playable on YouTube and each study guide is a downloadable .pdf. They can all be found on their own webpage, at https://www.natureontheair.com/malama-taking-care
Finding partners at University of Hawai’i’s Windward Community College
We independent filmmakers hear it all the time and it really is true: find strategic partners to leverage the production and distribution of your film. These can be nonprofits, businesses, and educational institutions. Organizations with subject-related experience, community connections and prestige that can rub off on your project solely due to your alignment with them. Often they can provide the “experts” who can vet your content and lend it the credibility it needs to be accepted by a larger public, or carried by a larger distributor.
So when my dear friend Professor Ka’ala Carmack said he thought he could interest his school colleagues to come on board as consultants for an educational component of my own film project “Toward Living Pono,” I jumped at the chance. I also jumped back on a plane to Hawai’i to meet them.
Hawai’i-born Ka’ala composed the original score for my documentary and together with his partner Rosalie Alfonso had been providing cultural consultation on it for several years. When I arrived at Windward Community College situated in a majestically scenic corner of Kaneohe on Oahu, it was really a kick to see my movie poster hanging over the grand piano in Ka’ala’s office. Continue reading
A few years ago I wrapped up an independent film project about environment and culture in Hawai’i, called “Toward Living Pono.” It met with warm festival response and the Facebook and YouTube clips were getting a lot of hits, but it was not picked up for national public television distribution as I had hoped. I had a lot of fun producing it, but it seemed that “TLP” was going to have a pretty short lifespan.
Then something totally unexpected happened. I began getting emails from teachers. Grade school teachers, high school teachers, and college teachers both in Hawai’i and on the Mainland, and even from other countries. They all had one thing in common: they were desperate for content to use in their classrooms, and they wanted to use my film. Here are some of the messages I received: