Director and Writer
Brett Wagner is a director and writer based in Los Angeles and Honolulu. IndieWIRE declared his film, "CHIEF", one of the ten must-see shorts of the Sundance Film Festival. "CHIEF" won Best Dramatic Film at the Los Angeles International Shortsfest, a BAFTA Award of Excellence, and many other accolades. His most recent film, "CARE", is currently on the festival circuit and also won Best Dramatic Film at LA Shorts. Brett's first feature film, "FIVE YEARS", won the Victoria Independent Film Festival, received Best Screenplay at Avignon, and is internationally distributed under its release title, "THE HIDDEN". Recent screenplays include an adaption of the bestselling memoir, "THE DEVIL’S TEETH", for executive producer Terrence Malick; and an adaptation of Steven Callahan’s survival epic, "ADRIFT", for director/producer Tim Matheson. "THE DEVIL’S TEETH"" won a Sloan Foundation development grant through the Tribeca Film Festival. Brett also directs commercials.
Hawaii based producer Dana Satler Hankins’ theatrical credits include Hollywood features STAKEOUT, BIRD ON A WIRE, and SHORT CIRCUIT, as well as the critically acclaimed independent release, PICTURE BRIDE, winner of the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 1995. Dana produced short films, THE LEMON TREE BILLIARDS HOUSE, winning the HIFF Hawaii Filmmaker Award, DANCING WITH THE LONG BONE and TRUE LOVE AND MIMOSA TEA, starring Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa and Tamlyn Tomita, released in 2006. Hankins' documentary work includes a stint at National Geographic Television, as well as production credits on projects for The History Channel and Discovery/The Learning Channel.
Director of Photography
From Antarctica to the tropical Pacific, Paul Atkins has spent twenty years capturing the world’s cultures and wildlife on film. His internationally acclaimed cinematography has won numerous Emmys and British Academy Awards and has been featured on National Geographic Specials, BBC, NBC, ABC, TBS and PBS, and in theaters. In recent years, Paul has turned his cinematic attention to feature films, including TIDES OF WAR, Regent Cinema’s first film production in Hawaii, and THE LAND HAS EYES, which played the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and was Fiji’s submission for Best Foreign Film to the Academy Awards. On a forty-two day epic voyage around Cape Horn, Paul shot the storm footage for MASTER AND COMMANDER, which won the 2004 Academy Award for Best Cinematography. Paul lives in Honolulu, with his wife (and fellow filmmaker) Grace.
Chief Sielu Avea, whose formal title—awarded to him by the Head of State of Independent Samoa—is Malietoa Tauasa Folo Sielu Avea, has been an entertainer and ambassador of Samoan culture for more than 20 years. He is a world-champion fire-knife dancer and has performed in dozens of countries. He has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show, THE TONIGHT SHOW, MTV, and BBC Television. In 2002, he threw the flaming spear that ignited the ceremonial torch at the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. Chief Sielu was born in the jungles of Savai’i in Independent Samoa, one of eight children. For years, his family lived off the land in complete isolation, farming taro and bananas. Until he was five years old, Sielu had never seen a human being outside his immediate family. As a young man, he received a scholarship to visit New Zealand, and shortly thereafter came to Hawaii to study at BYU. When he was 25, the elders called him back to Samoa to endure an excruciating seven-day tattoo ceremony, after which he earned the highly coveted title of Chief. Chief Sielu has spent his life introducing the world to the fa’asamoa, the Samoan way, through comedy, music, dance, and his extraordinary abilities as a communicator. Chief will be Sielu’s first starring role in a dramatic film.
Ka'alaka'iopono E. A. Faurot (Kai) makes her screen debut in CHIEF. All of eight years old during filming, Kai has acted and danced (hula) her way across Hawaii’s stages.
Kevin Wakayama is a screenwriter and producer, as well as an attorney practicing in Hawaii for over 30 years.
Christina Simpkins has worked in film for several years on both sides of the camera, as an actress and a producer. Most recently, she was an executive producer of the feature film ALL FOR MELISSA and of WAHINE O KE KAI, a documentary about a woman’s heroic solo canoe voyage. The film caught the eye of Roger Ebert, who gave it an honorable mention at the 2005 Hawai’i International Film Festival. WAHINE is the first of a trilogy of documentaries about modern-day Hawai’i heroes. Christina has worked on the hit ABC show LOST as well as on NORTH SHORE, as both an actress and photographer. She also recently appeared in DETOUR, Brett Wagner’s Addy-winning short film, commissioned by Starwood Resorts.
Editor: Jay K. Evans
Editing since: Early hammer & chisel
Occupation: Moving Image Stylist
Proudest accomplishment: Advertising Man of the Year, 2007
Hawaii Awards: Int'l Monitor Finalist, Tellys, Peles, Andys, Cines
Recent Edit: "Silent Years". Most down-loaded short at Atom Films
Favorite Moment: Editing a Chess Film with Orson Welles
Most interesting souvenir: Statue of St. Claire, Patron Saint of Television
Other Genres: You name it, I've cut it
Travel wish: Go to Sundance
Composer: Davo Luis Coria
Davo is a multi-talented composer with film credits including three IMAX films for NASA, and the score for a project for Evans and Sutherland at Skywalker Sound (Lucasfilm) with Designer Music. He has composed scores for a number of independent films, including "Silent Years", a collaboration between Lois Ann Yamanaka and James Sereno, and "True Love and Mimosa Tea" also for producer Dana Hankins. Davo’s television credits include Saturday Night Live, Murder She Wrote, The Maggie Winters Show and numerous Discovery Channel documentaries. Commercial scores include Bank of America, Steinlager and Coca-Cola. As a musician he has played with Carlos Santana and Shiela E among others.
Production Designer: Amos Kotomori
For more than 20 years, Amos Kotomori has contributed his unique sense of fashion and visual design to films, commercials, print advertising, live events, and interiors. He has won numerous regional and national awards, including Addys, Clios, and a Rockefeller Fellowship. Clients include Sprite, Bud Lite, Sears, Bank of America, Hawaiian Airlines, Hilton, Mandarin Hotels, Coke (Japan), and Hewlett Packard. Amos began his career in fashion, working for Givenchy Paris and Jantzen USA, among others.
Co-Producer and Sound Mixer
Producer and sound mixer Grace Atkins has spent decades of her career making films for the BBC and National Geographic in tandem with her husband, cinematographer Paul Atkins. Her recent work in the commercial and television arena includes LOST, two Sci-Fi Channel Original Movies, and projects for Regent Cinema, HBO and Showtime. Grace's many nominations and awards include Emmies, the BAFTA, NY Film Festival Awards, CINE, CINE Jury, and the CINE Master Series awards, along with a CAS nomination for sound mixing in 2005. She also took home "Best of Show" at the 2007 HAF Addy Awards for the short film DETOUR, which she produced for director Brett Wagner. Today, Grace looks forward to a successful festival run with CHIEF.
Young, up-and-coming audio engineer Freddie Ancheta jumped at the role of sound designer for the short film CHIEF. But don't let his youth and enthusiasm fool you. While renowned for his work in the commercial world, he is also a veteran in audio post-production for TV. His skill has been put to the test with ADR work for TV series such as NORTH SHORE, HAWAII, LOST and ROCKY POINT, along with audio post work for the TV comedy series THE TIDE IS HIGH. His documentary sound credits include the award-winning documentary ICE: HAWAII'S CRYSTAL METH EPIDEMIC. Freddie's award list is extensive, but he is most proud of winning his first "Academy Award": third place at the Mililani Judo Academy Tournament.
Finish Editor, Visual Effects
Stephen P. (Steve) Szabo has worked in the film and video industry as an editor, colorist, and visual effects artist for over 17 years and has received numerous awards for his work. He has applied his expertise in HD and film finishing and effects in a variety of commercial, long form and independent projects, in Hawaii's first high definition and film finishing facility, Digital Edge Hawaii. In addition to CHIEF, recent projects include FIVE YEARS and KUKAHI - KEALI'I REICHEL LIVE IN CONCERT (released on HD DVD).