Island tour

Free ‘Hawaiian Soul’ Movie Tour Continues on Kauaʻi : Kauai Now : Kauai News & Information

George Jarrett Helm Jr. Screenshot of “Hawaiian Soul”

Hawaiian folk hero George Jarrett Helm Jr. would have celebrated his 72nd birthday this year, but he disappeared at sea in 1977 while trying to find two friends who were hiding from law enforcement in Kaho’olawe, after having protested against the American military bombardment of the island. off Maui.

The inspiring story of Helm, a Hawaiian musician and activist, has been brought to life by two local filmmakers in a multi-award-winning short film titled “Hawaiian Soul.”

w’s moviewriter and director ʻĀina Paikai and producer Kaliko Maʻiʻi is a tribute to the legacy of a leader and artist who used his voice to inspire a “consciousness revolution”.

In partnership with communities across the state, more than $25,000 was raised to host seven free public screenings of the film on Kaua’i.

“One of our main goals is to share George’s aloha ʻāina story and message with audiences around the world,” the filmmakers said on the film’s website. “However, no audience is more important to us than the people of Hawaii, because George’s legacy and soul is on the islands.”

The second screening of “Hawaiian Soul” from the Kaua’i Tour took place Friday night at the Kōloa Neighborhood Center. An intimate group of around 60 people watched the film, with moviegoers deeply moved by Helm’s story.

There will be five more free screenings on Kaua’i. Tickets can be reserved at hawaiiansoulmovie.com/screenings.

  • October 13: Anaina Hou in Kilauea. The screening runs from 6 to 9 p.m. with Hawaiian music.
  • October 16: Kilohana, Gaylords at Līhuʻe. The screening runs from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. with Hawaiian music.
  • November 4: Kekaha neighborhood center in Kekaha. The screening runs from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. with Hawaiian music.
  • And in Hanalei and Hanapēpē. The date and times will be announced later.

The idea for “Hawaiian Soul” began around 2012 when Paikai and Maʻiʻi both were inspired by Helm’s legacy.

“He was one of the last great Hawaiians to use his art form to spread awareness of a movement,” Paikai told Kaua’i Now. “We wanted to anchor his story in truth and spent a lot of time with his family before and during production.”

But the emerging filmmakers only had the opportunity in 2019 to create the film they had been dreaming of for all these years.

The film is set against the backdrop of the aboriginal rights movement of the 1970s, a time when Helm strives to enlist the support of kūpuna of the island of Maui to aid in the fight to protect the precious neighboring island of Kahoʻolawe from be used as a target for military bombers. Helm was deeply involved with the Protect Kahoʻolawe ʻOhana group.

In 1977, Helm was concerned about two friends of the band who had gone into hiding from law enforcement on Kahoʻolawe for over 30 days with limited food and water after protesting bombings. Helm traveled to the island to help his friends first by boat, then by surfboard, along with Kimo Mitchell, a fisherman and ranger from Maui, and Billy Mitchell, a sailor.

But after reaching Kahoʻolawe, their friends who were hiding from law enforcement had already been arrested. A boat that was supposed to help Helm and the other two men was having trouble, so the trio decided to return to Maui with a long board, a short board and a pair of fins between them, according to multiple newspaper reports.

The weather was treacherous with high winds, warnings for small craft and crashing waves on the shores. Helm reportedly suffered a gash to the head while entering the water returning to Maui. Only Billy Mitchell made it back to Maui alive. Helm and Kimo Mitchell were never seen again. Helm was only 27 years old.

Thirteen years later, Helm’s vision of returning Kaho’olawe to its people became a reality when litigation forced an end to shelling in 1990. The island was placed under the administration of the Kaho’olawe Island Reserve Commission.

The film captures the moments when music fuels both Helm’s passions for celebrating Hawaiian culture and keeping what’s left of it.

For most of his young life, Helm had conducted years of statewide land use research, linking economics, spirituality and his philosophy of aloha ʻāina in a 1976 interview shared by historian Nanea Armstrong-Wassel:

“When we went to Kahoʻolawe, you know, it’s not just a rock. It belongs to our kūpuna and it is being destroyed. Land has a deep meaning.

Archaeological evidence suggests that Hawaiians came to Kaho’olawe as early as 400 AD, settling in small fishing villages along the island’s coast.

To date, nearly 3,000 archaeological and historical sites and features paint a picture of the island as a center of navigation for travel.

The idea for the film began around 2012 when Paikai and Maʻiʻi both were inspired by the legacy of Helm, whom they viewed as a personal hero.

“He was one of the last great Hawaiians to use his art form to spread awareness of a movement,” Paikai told Kaua’i Now. “We wanted to anchor his story in truth and spent a lot of time with his family before and during production.”

It will take until 2019 for emerging filmmakers to have the opportunity to create the film they have been dreaming of for all these years.

The duo hoped that Helm’s name and his message would live on, especially among seniors of his generation and young people who may not yet know his name.

“We’ve been longtime visitors to Kaua’i’s South Shore,” said Catriona Wiggins of Tempe, Arizona, who attended the free screening and spoke through an emotionally clouded look on the mind. hello. “…the aloha spirit put a spell on me many years ago, when I was just a kid visiting the islands, and now that I have my own family, that’s my job to educate them about the overdue care for the land and the people who came before us.”

Helm was a powerful revolutionary speaker, writer, and philosopher who pioneered many concepts of Hawaiian sovereignty, viewing both the overthrow and annexation of the Hawaiian Kingdom as illegal. , cultivated, loved, sung, venerated and thought of in the old fashioned way.

To view upcoming virtual or in-person community screenings of Hawaiian Soul, click here.

Amanda Kurt

Amanda lives in Hanapēpē. She has loved newspapers and journalism since she was 12 years old. She attended the University of Oregon where she earned a degree in journalism. She interned at the Hermiston Herald. She has been a Kauai Now contributor since June 2022.
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