One Voice tells the story of the Kamehameha Schools Song Contest through the eyes of the student song leaders.
- 60 Minutes
One Voice tells the story of the Kamehameha Schools Song Contest through the eyes of the student song directors. Every year in Hawai‘i, 2000 high school students compete in the Kamehameha Schools Song Contest where young leaders direct their peers in singing Hawaiian music in four-part harmony. The Contest is a unique cultural celebration that has become a major local event, broadcast live on TV, played on the radio, and streamed on the Internet.
One Voice shares the thrill of the competition via the personal stories of the student song directors as they experience the trials and tribulations of competition in this annual high school event. Following the elected student song directors, the audience sees how the tradition creates an indelible experience that builds class unity, instills cultural pride, and builds character. The film also explores their world outside of school by meeting their families, or ʻohana, and revealing their hopes and dreams for the future. Through the stories and lives of these contemporary high school students, the audience will experience Hawaiian culture as it has survived, flourished, and grown through the universal power of music and song.
As a filmmaker and a hula dancer, Lisette Marie Flanary creates documentary films that celebrate a renaissance of traditional Hawaiian culture in the modern world. A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, she is the writer, producer, and director of Lehua Films based in New York City. Her award-winning film, Nā Kamalei: The Men of Hula, broadcast on the Independent Lens series on PBS in 2008 and screened in numerous film festivals both in the U.S. and abroad. In 2007, Nā Kamalei: The Men of Hula received the Emerging Director Award at the New York Asian American International Film Festival, the Audience Award at the San Francisco Asian American Film Festival, Best Non-Fiction Feature at the VCFilmFest, and Best Documentary at the San Diego Asian American Film Festival. The film celebrates the revival of men dancing hula by following legendary master hula teacher Robert Cazimero and the only all-male hula school in Hawai‘i. Premiering at the Hawaii International Film Festival’s Sunset on the Beach in 2006, Lisette received the Hawaii Filmmaker Award and an Audience Award for Best Documentary. Lisette’s first feature documentary, American Aloha: Hula Beyond Hawai‘i, broadcast nationally on the award winning non-fiction showcase P.O.V. on PBS in 2003 as well as internationally on ITVS’ True Stories series in 2007. Winner of the CINE Golden Eagle Award, the film focused on hula and Hawaiian communities living on the mainland in California. It screened in numerous film festivals and is now available on Netflix.com. Currently, Lisette is in pre-production on the final film of her hula trilogy entitled Tokyo Hula, which focuses on the popularity of hula in Japan. She was also nominated for Best Director of a Documentary at the 2010 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival for One Voice.
Funded solely by Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC), One Voice is a one-of-a-kind presentation of Hawaiian music. The melodies of a cappella choral music performed in harmony by thousands of high school students are unforgettable. Filmed in High Definition, this feature length documentary follows the student song directors as they experience the trials and tribulations of competition in this annual high school event. Given a front row seat for a unique contest in a unique setting, the audience is lead through a process that demonstrates a love for community, passion for Hawaiian music, and the story of a people who nearly lost their language and culture.
The annual competition involves tremendous amounts of preparation and rehearsal. Following the elected student song directors, we see how the tradition creates an indelible experience that builds class unity, instills cultural pride, and builds character. Song Contest is the event students anticipate all year long, and each year the competition among the classes is intense. While the film follows the lives of several song directors as they prepare for the Song Contest, it also explores their world outside of school by meeting their families, or ‘ohana, and revealing their hopes and dreams for the future.
One Voice embodies the aloha spirit that is at the center of a dynamic and thriving Hawaiian society in the 21st century, while paying tribute to the long and glorious history of Hawaiian music and culture. For the students, it all culminates in one night of competition, when they sing with one voice. The documentary is a testament to their song, a film that is a living, breathing, singing celebration of the Hawaiian people.