CLH Fellows Selected to Attend and Pitch Projects at Largest Domestic Film Market & Conference

HONOLULU – The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s (DBEDT) Creative Industries Division (CID) continues to grow opportunities for Hawaii’s entrepreneurs, announcing that six fellows of its Creative Lab Hawaii (CLH) Immersive Program will participate in the 2017 American Film Market (AFM). The market conference will take place in Santa Monica, California, from November 1 – 8.

The AFM is known worldwide as the largest domestic film industry market, hosting professionals from across the globe looking to establish partnerships and strike film deals in every stage of development and production. More than a billion dollars in motion picture and distribution deals are estimated to be generated at this year’s conference alone.

“The department’s CLH program recognizes the need to strengthen our local economy by identifying and opening doors of opportunity for individuals in the film and creative industries,” said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria. “The perseverance of these fellows through the program and their attendance at AFM is a testament to the immense talent being developed in our state.”

DBEDT’s Creative Lab Hawaii team will be accompanying the following fellows to the AFM:

Robert Barclay & Stacy Fukuhara – 2017 Writers Immersive Fellows – “HI Conflict” & “Pasifika”
Robert A. Bates – 2017 Producers Immersive Fellow – “Firebrand”
Robert Joe – 2017 Writers Immersive Fellow – “Facepuncher”
Brayden Yoder & Stephen F. Sotomayor – 2017 Producers Immersive Fellows – “White Indians”

Along with this year’s finalists, Brian Kohne, writer/director/producer, CLH 2014 Writers Immersive fellow, will also be accompanying CID to Santa Monica. His award-winning motion picture, “Kuleana,” is being showcased through TriCoast Worldwide. The film, “Kuleana,” defines what it means to be responsible to one’s family and self as a disabled Vietnam Vet and rediscovers the Hawaiian warrior within and where his loyalties lie. Accolades for “Kuleana” include: Maui Film Festival – Audience Choice Feature; San Antonio Film Festival – Audience Choice Narrative Feature; Tribal Film Festival – Best Feature; Guam International Film Festival – Best of Fest; Santa Cruz Film Festival – Audience Choice Feature.

“AFM attracts the decision makers responsible for generating some 90 percent of the world’s motion pictures,” said Michael Palmieri, executive director, Creative Lab Hawaii, who was instrumental in selecting this year’s participating fellows. “Having a presence here furthers our commitment to our CLH fellows by providing them the opportunity to connect with individuals and companies that will help them bring their projects to market. We are incredibly proud of the quality work our fellows have produced to get to AFM and of the unique voices and compelling stories they plan to showcase.”

“Hawaii media entrepreneurs, writers and producers have an opportunity to turn their passion into a means of making a living through access to decision makers, who can propel them forward in their careers,” explains Georja Skinner, chief officer of DBEDT’s Creative Industries Division and founder of CLH. “We’re excited to provide our fellows with the tools and access necessary to help them reach their optimum level of success at the American Film Market and beyond.”

CID will further inform other entrepreneurs at AFM through its support of the AFM Pitch Conference. Facilitated by industry experts, it offers participants the essential rules and tools necessary for structuring their pitch and getting their projects noticed. The sponsorship marks the first time CID will have this type of added exposure at the prestigious event.

Key project details include:

Robert Barclay & Stacy Fukuhara, Writers, Hawaii: A husband and wife writing team – Robert is a novelist and local professor, while Stacy is an attorney with her own practice. They will be presenting a legal dramedy television series titled, “HI Conflict,” featuring a brilliant advocate of children who defies the system as she solves high conflict family court cases in Hawaii. Another project they will be pitching is, “Pasifika,” a high-concept horror motion picture. The film tells the story of a vengeful tour guide who calls upon supernatural forces as she leads a crew of American deviates into the ruins of an ancient city on a Pacific island near a nuclear test site.

Robert A. Bates, Writer, Director, and Producer, Hawaii: Based on a true story, Bates wrote, will direct and produce, “Firebrand.” The motion picture follows a Hawaiian family’s dramatic journey to remain together and escape a zealous sheriff, whose orders are to exile all lepers to a desolate colony on Molokai during the 1890s.

Robert Joe, Writer and Director, South Korea: Robert Joe is a filmmaker and broadcaster (originally from Texas and currently based in Seoul) who has worked on award-winning projects for Discovery Channel, Bloomberg TV and Monocle Magazine. Joe’s project, “Facepuncher,” is the story of a desperate 20-year-old nobody who starts a service offering to punch clients’ enemies in the face for $100.

Brayden Yoder, Writer, Director and Producer, Hawaii and Stephen F. Sotomayor, Producer, California: Yoder and Sotomayor, both U.S. military veterans, will present, “White Indians” – a story of a trafficked Native American girl who leads a broken Army vet on a healing journey home, from the dark lights of Las Vegas to the bright sky of the Navajo Nation. Written and to be directed by Yoder, produced by both partners under their Clearing Barrell Productions banner.

For more information, check out the Creative Lab Hawaii website at:

Creative Lab Hawaii was founded in 2012 by DBEDT’s CID division. Through this effort, Hawaii is developing an ecosystem to increase export, attract investment and build the state’s creative entrepreneurial capacity.

Supported by State of Hawaii Legislators and the U.S. Department of Commerce – Economic Development Administration (EDA), CLH Strategic partners include: the Writers Guild of America, West; the Producers Guild of America; and International Game Developers Association. The program is sponsored by The Modern Honolulu, Kauai Marriot and SpeediShuttle/Arthur’s Limousine.

About Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT)
DBEDT is Hawaii’s resource center for economic and statistical data, business development opportunities, energy and conservation information, and foreign trade advantages. DBEDT’s mission is to achieve a Hawaii economy that embraces innovation and is globally competitive, dynamic and productive, providing opportunities for all Hawaii’s citizens. Through its attached agencies, the department fosters planned community development, creates affordable workforce housing units in high-quality living environments, and promotes innovation sector job growth.

About Creative Industries Division (CID)
CID, a division within DBEDT, is the state’s lead agency dedicated to advocating for and accelerating the growth of Hawaii’s Creative Economy. Through initiatives, program development, and strategic partnerships, the division and its branches implements activities to expand the business development, global export and investment capacity of Hawaii’s arts, culture, music, film, literary, publishing, digital and new media industries.

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Media Contacts:

Christine Hirasa
Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism
Phone: (808) 587-9006
Mobile: (808) 286-9017
Email: [email protected]

Vianca Cao
Jocelyn Collado
Susan Wright
Becker Communications
Phone: (808) 533-4165
Email: [email protected]
Email: [email protected]