The Art of Film

Go Hawaii on the Film Industry in Hawaii.  Join us on our Volcano Express Tour departing from either Kona or Waikoloa to visit the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and experience the drama of an active volcano.

Hawaii’s status as an unparalleled destination with fascinating cultures and natural beauty beyond compare hasn’t been missed by the TV and film industries. Since the early days of cinema in the early 1900s, over 100 feature films have been shot in Hawaii. These include classics like Bing Crosby’s “Waikiki Wedding” (Oahu), Elvis Presley’s “Blue Hawaii” (Kauai & Oahu), “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (Kauai), “King Kong” (Kauai), “The Karate Kid Part II” (Oahu), and “Waterworld” (Island of Hawaii).

More recent Hollywood films include “Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle” (Oahu), “Snatched” (Kauai, Oahu), “Kong: Skull Island” (Island of Hawaii, Kauai, Maui, Oahu), “Jurassic Park” and “Jurassic World” (Kauai & Oahu), and “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (Oahu).

Memorable TV series have also been shot in Hawaii, including “Lost” and two iterations of “Magnum P.I.” But nothing captured and sustained the imagination, of both locals and visitors, quite like “Hawaii Five-O”. The original Five-O aired from 1968 to 1980, introducing millions of viewers to the islands. It also introduced many Hawaii residents to film and television production, building the foundation for a successful industry for decades to come. In 2010, a rebooted “Hawaii Five-O” hit the airwaves with more kamaaina (Hawaii locals) in front of and behind the camera.

Beyond the commercial success of these hit shows, Hawaii is also home to a healthy community of filmmakers committed to telling local stories. Through narrative features, shorts or documentaries, they showcase unique perspectives found when you fearlessly look deeper into Hawaii, its people and their cultures. Thanks to their success, there’s a strong desire to see more of these types of films.

Since its inception in 1981, the Hawaii International Film Festival(link is external) (HIFF) has grown to attract 70,000 film enthusiasts every year with the cinematic talent of filmmakers from Asia and the Pacific. In addition, HIFF added a “Made in Hawaii” section to its program to support Hawaii’s best talent working in the islands today. These films shine a spotlight on Hawaii stories not often told.

Other annual film festivals in the Islands include the Maui Film Festival(link is external), Made in Hawaii Film Festival(link is external), Waimea Ocean Film Festival(link is external) and Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival(link is external). The Honolulu Museum of Art also regularly screens independent, documentary and international films at its Doris Duke Theatre. Programs such as the Sundance Institute’s Native Lab and Feature Film Program and local organizations, like the Hawaii Filmmakers Collective, continue to foster and encourage local filmmakers.