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PIC Celebrates 30th Anniversary

Posted on May 04, 2021

This year marks the 30th Anniversary of Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC) and our global collective of established and emerging content creators throughout Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and diaspora communities. PIC is the only national public media organization that is committed to supporting, advancing, and developing Pacific Island media content and talent that results in a deeper understanding of Pacific Island history, and culture. To amplify the legacy of films and filmmakers in the collective, the PIC will screen a diverse collection of films will be available in various virtual platforms starting this spring and throughout the rest of the year.

“Pacific Islanders have the unique challenge of being both invisible and hypervisible at the same time, especially as part of a widely diverse group of peoples”, said Leanne Kaʻiulani Ferrer, Executive Director of Pacific Islanders in Communications. “This is why it’s important to engage multiple communities and bring them together with Pacific Islander media makers to enrich the cultural landscape. Despite the Pandemic, and having to shelter in place, we value this opportunity to share our Pacific Islander stories virtually across the ocean. When we cultivate new audiences  we expand the spaces where our full selves are reflected, honored, and respected.”



During May, a wide selection of films will be available for audiences via virtual film festivals. Using a platform of cinema, these films continue a rich tradition of storytelling that is the center of many Pasifika cultures. Some highlights include:



Directed by Elena GK Rapu, Sergio M. Rapu

A Rapanui filmmaker and father living in the American Midwest never imagined he would lose his ability to return to the land of his ancestors.

Playing in: CAAMFest (Program: Pacific Showcase)



Directed by Christen Hepuakoa Marquez

A young multiracial Kanaka Maoli woman sets out to discover the meaning of her lengthy, 63-letter Hawaiian name from her estranged schizophrenic mother.

Playing in: Asian Pacific Virtual Showcase (Program: Daughters of the Ocean)



Made by PIC American Samoa Filmmakers Workshop

A young Taupou (sacred maiden) must find the balance between Samoa traditions and her modern way of life.

Playing in Asian Pacific Virtual Showcase (Program: Daughters of the Ocean)



Directed by Nā Maka o ka ‘Āina

A fascinating legal study of justice under occupation, THE TRIBUNAL documents the Peoples’ International Tribunal Hawai’i 1993, during which the United States and the State of Hawaii were put on trial for crimes against native people.



Audiences in the US can also watch the new season of PACIFIC HEARTBEAT on Youtube. Now in its tenth season, PACIFIC HEARTBEAT is an anthology series that provides viewers with a glimpse of the real Pacific – its people, cultures and contemporary issues. The series features a diverse array of programs that will draw viewers into the heart and soul of Pacific Island culture.


These films reflect a long line of films that have received funding support from PIC. Through the work of PIC media makers, these films trace the community, visibility and work of Pacific Islander stories and storytellers to understand how these narratives can lay the groundwork for the future power and visibility. Looking ahead to the next 30 years of filmmaking, PIC continues to improve the ways to support media content by and about indigenous Pacific Islanders and to adapt to growing needs in the filmmaking community. Doing so, PIC has launched the Shorts Fund, that includes a filmmaking collaboration with ‘OHINA.The Shorts Fund will support electing projects for public media digital distribution and television broadcast. 


“Storytelling is vital to Pacific Island culture.” said Cheryl Hirasa, Managing Director and VP of Programs of Pacific Islanders In Communications. “It's a way for knowledge to be passed from one generation to another and to honor who and where we've come from to help navigate us to a future grounded in harmony, integrity and respect.  The Shorts Fund is one way we support this vision and this year we're very excited to announce our collaboration with ‘OHINA this year, which will maximize opportunities for filmmakers with fiction projects, including the chance to participate in the 2021 ʻOHINA LABS development hub for short content.  The Lab is an intensive filmmaker education workshop that provides mentorship from Hollywood screenwriters, producers and directors in a variety of key filmmaking fields, including script development, honing pitches, production support, project guidance and more. “


PIC will continue its 30th Anniversary Celebration with a series of special artist conversations, available for audiences around the globe. The conversations, scheduled for May 20, 2021, will feature acclaimed musician and actor Stan Walker and filmmaker Mitchell Hawkes as they discuss the documentary film STAN. Additional conversations will celebrate films and TOKYO HULA and FOR MY FATHER’S KINGDOM.


View the full press release at the link below.

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