Filmmaker Q&A: John Maienza, Gregg Wilson, and Tom Putnam

Showtime: Sunday, March 11th, 1 p.m. (Program 10)

“The Great Huki” (huki is the Hawaiian word meaning “pull together, gather”) tells the story of how a tiny community organization took a huge first step toward saving a beautiful Hawaiian bay, Maunalua Bay, by attacking the invasive alien algae (mudweed) that was killing it. Malama Maunalua, a tiny non-profit, was started by a small group of concerned residents to restore it.

Maunalua BayAfter identifying invasive alien algae (mudweed) as one of the top threats to the Bay, Malama Maunalua enlisted and trained community volunteers to begin removing it. One bag at a time, the community began to take care of its bay. Then, Malama Maunalua was awarded a NOAA grant for a ‘shovel ready’ project and accelerated their efforts for the restoration of the Maunalua Bad. They hired a contractor to remove the mud weed and thus began ‘The Great HUKI’.

What was your inspiration for creating the film? It is a remarkable story that needed a voice.

What was the most challenging part of creating the film? Filming school kids in the water with cameras on canoes while standing in "gross" algae up to our calves.

What do you want to impart on your film’s viewers? That a small group of people can make a big difference with the right motivation and guidance.

What was the most enjoyable part of creating the film? Seeing the joy in the school kids "Keiki" that understood how they were improving "their backyard bay".

Who (or what) is your inspiration? The elders who grew up on Maunalua Bay who can teach the youngsters about what the health of the bay used to be like.

How or why did you begin creating ocean-focused films? We live in the community that started the grass roots outreach effort that became so successful.

Why did you choose to submit your film to the San Francisco Ocean Film Festival? Because I think it’s a terrific idea to put a spotlight on filmmakers who are focused on the ocean.

Is this your first time participating in an ocean-focused film festival? Yes

What was the most memorable moment in creating the film? Seeing the aerial photos of the Maunalua Bay compared in a time-lapse format for the first time.

Is there anything else that you would like to share? We'd like to turn our 7 minute short into a feature documentary and tell the rest of the story.