Following a crushing defeat in battle, an island people are forced into exile by their conquerors. But where can they go? In a dream, the chief envisions hope in the form of a migratory bird that visits their island each year before flying north across an unknown sea. The exiles decide to follow the bird s path in search of a new home in three double hulled Polynesian canoes. The story is told from the perspective of one of the crew members. He recounts the story of the Voyagers, their battle with a neighboring tribe and their 28 day trip north across an unknown sea. In a first person narrative, he describes how their canoes are carved, provisioned and how they bid sad farewell to the valley and those who are left behind. With only the stars and the promise of land to guide them, they sail north. But life on the sea is not easy. Fish much be caught for food and rain collected for drinking water. Through windless doldrums and horrific storms they must persevere to find a new home, for there is no turning back. Against all odds, the voyagers find the volcanic islands of Hawaii. They start the first community on the Big Island in Waipio Valley. Based on the book, Voyage The Discovery of Hawaii, by famed native Hawaiian artist and historian, Herb Kawainui Kane, this film tells the story of the first landing in Hawaii. Beginning with the battle which leads to the exile of the tribe, through the carving of the canoes, the preparation of food, water and animals and the hardships at sea, the movie focuses on the people on board the ships, their hardships and the culture and discipline that unites them in their quest for a new home. One of the things that makes this movie unique is that every single image in the film, and there are hundreds of them, was drawn or painted by Hawaiian native artist, Herb Kawainui Kane. We believe this has never been done before in a feature length film. Visually it is a work of art. Each character's face is distinct and memorable, each land and seascape haunting. Herb Kane painted over a dozen new paintings in 2008, just for this film. He is a remarkably talented and prolific artist. Paul Csige is the director, editor and composer for the film. He, too, has pushed the film making envelope. Csige took Kane's images and applied 2.5 D editing techniques to them. 2.5 D processing is half way between 2 D (dimension) and 3 D. Csige scanned Kane's art into the computer and separated the images into as many as 30 layers to create the visual impression of movement of a camera through an image or animation within the frame. This technique is similar to a very simple panning method used by Ken Burns in his Civil War documentaries in the '90s - but taken to a whole new level of CG sophistication in this story of battles, exile and discovery. The movie, Voyagers, is culturally accurate. Herb Kane is a noted Polynesian historian and expert on canoe design and sailing techniques. Larry Ursua and Danny Akaka Jr. consulted in the preparation of our Hawaiian translations and chants. Maui native instrument specialist, Anthony Natividad, plays nose flute, Maori flute, ukeke, and other indigenous sounds. Our voice over narrator, the voice of Polynesia, is Dennis Evangelista from the Big Island. We also recorded local musicians (violins and cellos), performers and singers for the sound track.
About the Actor
HERB KAWAINUI KANE (pronounced KAH-ney) is an artist-historian and author with special interest in Hawai i and the South Pacific. Born in 1928, he was raised in Hilo and Waipi o Valley, Hawai i, and Wisconsin. He holds a masters degree from the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago. He resides in rural South Kona on the Island of Hawai i. Career experience has included advertising art, publishing art, architectural design, portrait painting, writing, aviation art (from WWI and WWII), and sculpture. Clients include private collectors, The Hawai i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, the National Park Service, as well as painting and writing for National Geographic and other major publishers of books and periodicals. His art has appeared on postage stamps for the U.S. Postal Service, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, The Federated States of Micronesia, and French Polynesia. As a design consultant he has worked on resorts and special projects in Hawai i and the South Pacific and a cultural center in Fiji. Books include Pele, Goddess of Hawai i's Volcanoes (1987), Ancient Hawai i (1998) and Voyagers (1991, 2nd edition 2006) which features 140 of his works in color, Voyage, the Discovery of Hawai i (1976) now out of print. Research on Polynesian canoes and voyaging led to his participation as general designer and builder of the sailing canoe Hokule a, which he served as its first captain. Navigated without instruments, the canoe has made many long voyages throughout Polynesia. He is well known for paintings that expertly depict the many types of Polynesian and Micronesian sailing canoes. In 1984 he was elected a Living Treasure of Hawai i. In the 1987 Year of the Hawaiian Celebration he was one of 16 persons named as Po okela (champion). From 1988 to 1992 he served as a founding trustee of the Native Hawaiian Culture & Arts Program, a Federal Program at Bishop Museum. He is the 1998 recipient of the prestigious Charles R. Bishop Medal, awarded by the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, the State Museum of Hawai i. Selected as a featured artist during the 2005-2006 Norman Rockwell Museum Exhibition: National Geographic, the Art of Exploration. In 2002, he received an award for excellence from The Hawaii Book Publishers Association. He is a 2008 recipient of an honorary doctorate awarded by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is also a featured artist in the IT'S A HONU WORLD project that promotes respect, awareness, and appreciation of creatures of this earth. Mr. Kane states I believe that the surprise appearance of fifty five-foot whimsically painted sea turtles could spark an almost electrical charge of fun, excitement, and community identity to the Island of Hawaii." Currently he is working on a film version of his 1976 book: Voyagers The Discovery of Hawaii