At the heart of this story is a plant known as kalo or taro, which has nourished the Hawaiian people for hundreds of generations. “I am Hāloa” is a feature-length documentary film produced by Laukapalili Films, about the importance of this plant to Hawaiian identity and culture. The film tells the story of Hāloa, the original Hawaiian, and his relationship to the traditional Hawaiian food staple derived from kalo, commonly known as poi.
“I am Hāloa” tells the story of three 17-year old Kamehameha high school seniors, Lahela Paresa, La’ahiahoaalohaokekaimalie Kekahuna and Taylor Anne Meali’i Fitzsimmons, who embark on a 90-day journey of self-discovery under the guidance of their kumu and kalo ku’i practioner, Daniel Anthony. Together they will travel throughout the Hawaiian Islands to better understand their ancestry and to re-establish a lifestyle link to the first Hawaiian, Hāloa. For 90-days they will commit to cultivating, harvesting and eating kalo (taro / poi) for three meals a day. During these 90-days the young women will travel from Oʻahu to Kauaʻi, Maui, Molokaʻi, Moku o Keawe, Kahoʻolawe, and Lānaʻi to learn from some of the most respected leaders in Hawaiʻi about the past, the present, and the future role that Hāloa could play in guiding the people of Hawaiʻi.
“I am Hāloa” will explore the inherent values and conflicts that come with incorporating Hāloa into modern lifestyles and the innovative, savory new ways this ancient, sacred food is revolutionizing global cuisine through a sustainable kalo culture. These three young women will work with several of Hawaii’s top slow-food-minded chefs who believe in cooking with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Chefs include Lee Anne Wong, Ed Kenney, Mark Noguchi and Andrew Le, who are committed to incorporating pa’i’ai into the menus of their progressive kitchens.
“I am Hāloa” is currently in its kickstarter fundraising campaign and is encouraging the people of Hawaii to help create this film. Production with the Kamehameha seniors is slated to begin February 2014 kicking off the 90-day “Hāloa Challenge” and inter-island exploration. Summer 2014 will be dedicated to post production and “I am Hāloa” anticipates premieres in world-renowned film festivals in Winter 2014-15.