December 19, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra
It’s amazing what you’ll see if you pay attention. I don’t usually go for walks for no reason – I’m usually just getting from A to B – but every once in a while, real life gets in the way of whatever I have planned, and a little piece of the universe puts itself right in front of me. I meet someone new, listen to them, learn about them, share something about myself and grow because of it all. That sort of serendipitous (self) discovery can’t be planned for; you just have to go out and let it find you. Today’s project is about peeling back the layers of a place where a lot of people have gone, but that only a precious few know everything about. It’s beneath the surface – the attractions, restaurants, scenery, museums, hotels and resorts – that you’ll find the true culture, the true self of the city of La’ie, on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Kupuna is an interactive documentary to go beneath that well-polished surface; to explore the character of the place and the people who have called it home. Back it before December 21.
The small town of La’ie, on Oahu’s north shore, covers just 2.1 square miles. This rural community is home to the most visited tourist attraction in Hawaii, a top rated university, a spiritual center for a world-wide church, and numerous minority cultures. But as these diverse groups struggle to have their stories and interests represented, the aging descendants of those Hawaiian’s who first inhabited La’ie’s shores, are fading. In a documentary portrait of this unique place, these elders, or Kūpuna, relate the experiences of their lives and their memories of Oahu’s “city of refuge” as their ancestors have done for millennia.