TO WEAVE A NAME

Directed by: Christen Hepuakoamana'a Marquez 2012 | 57 min.

Section: Documentary Feature

Premiere: Los Angeles

Film Website


Synopsis

Community Co-Presenter:

Asian Pacific American Legal Center

Asian Pacific Health Care Venture, Inc.

Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum

UCLA Asian American Studies Center

In skinny jeans and slouchy sweaters filmmaker Christen Marquez looks more hipster than Hawaiian. She seems an unlikely main character for a first-person documentary about Native Hawaiians but the mystery behind the meaning of her extremely long Hawaiian middle name (Hepuakoamanaʻekapunokamalei-o-naliʻiamekahanohanoʻia) always called to her as an interesting subject for a documentary project. Born in the ‘80s to a beautiful hula dancer and her haole father, who worked as in architect, in the rapidly developing islands. Christen's family began to unravel as a result of her mother’s emotional episodes. When Christen was still a child her Mother Elena was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and when Elena refused to take medication prescribed for her outbursts. Christen's father felt he had no choice but to leave Hawaiʻi with his children and return to his hometown of Seattle. Because of the separation from her Mother, director Marquez didn't get the chance to bond with her mother and absorb Hawaiian culture, leaving a void in her life. Ultimately, she makes the difficult decision to return to Hawai’I to reunite with her mother to fully understand the kaona – or hidden meanings in her name. From a first, strained reunion that results in her returning to California in utter defeat, to a second, longer stay in which mother and daughter experience a gradual, uneasy thaw in their relationship, director Marquez doesn’t necessarily leave with a clear understanding on her name. However, she comes away with a much better understanding of her mother and of the forces that induced her mental illness; and better still, with a renewed sense of confidence and a relationship with her Mother that she can cherish forever.

     In E HAKU INOA, there are deep-seeded stories being told: one of reclamation, another of family, and a third that voices the forgotten whispers of the American colonization of the Hawaiian Islands. What makes this documentary truly special is that it utilizes the native tropes of “talk story” in its storytelling. Narrating her journey from the islands to the mainland (and from childhood to adulthood), Marquez paints a picture of heartbreak and understanding, to stress the importance of the places we call home, and the power of the things we promise never to forget.

Screenings

Tuesday, May 07 6:45 PM CGV Cinemas 2 Date Passed
Plays with:  THE FLOWER
Saturday, May 11 3:00 PM Art Theatre of Long Beach Date Passed

Cast & Crew

Executive Producer Sally Jo Fifer, Robert Pennybacker, Leslie Wilcox
Producer Christen Hepuakoamana'a Marquez
Director Christen Hepuakoamana'a Marquez
Cinematographer Glenn Yamamoto
Music Composer Luila Kawelo Barber
Editor Regina DeFreitas

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