The UH Sustainability Film Series is designed to explore contemporary issues at the intersection of human and natural environments and inspire action in the community. The series combines films and panel discussions aimed at linking film themes to Hawai‘i and the region. A wide variety of panelists, including scientists, policy-makers, nonprofit experts, and artists, will discuss the many dimensions of existing efforts and sustainability solutions. The series is open to the public and designed for broad engagement.
Films:”The Roots of ʻUlu” and “Kumu Niu”
- “Kumu Niu” directed by Alex Cantatore. 2022. USA. 15 min. The island of O‘ahu is covered with coconut palms, but for fear of liability the vast majority of these sacred trees have been stripped of coconuts. The grassroots movement “Niu Now” is on a mission to restore the niu (coconut), as a fundamental food crop in Hawai‘i, and spread the Indigenous wisdom of aloha ‘āina: loving land and serving people.
- “The Roots of ʻUlu” produced by Matt Yamashita and John Antonelli. 2015. Hawai‘i. 30 min. The film will transport the viewer from the Polynesian voyaging canoes that brought ‘ulu from Tahiti to Hawai‘i, up through the present-day efforts of native practitioners, medical specialists, and agricultural experts who have a shared vision of the ‘ulu tree playing an important role in cultural preservation, health restoration and food sustainability for Hawai‘i’s future.
A panel discussion will follow the screening to discuss the themes of the films, moderated by Dr. Vilsoni Hereniko, award-winning filmmaker, playwright, and creative artist, as well as professor at the School of Cinematic Arts at UH Mānoa.
- Dr. Tusi Avegalio is a former director of the University of Hawaiʻi’s award-winning Pacific Business Center Program (PBCP).
- Indrajit Kumara Samarasingha Gunasekara is from a long line of indigenous farmers native to Southern Sri Lanka. He has an unbroken line of connection (3,000 years) to the use, purpose, and spiritual function of the coconut.
- Dr. Albie Miles is an Associate Professor in Sustainable Community Food Systems at the University of Hawaiʻi–West O‘ahu; Director of the Hawai’i Institute for Sustainable Community Food Systems, and chair of the UH Student Basic Needs Committee.