Letter From The Editor
When I met up with film-maker Christopher Kahunahana at a coffee shop to chat about his career, including his current work-in-progress WAIKIKI, he headed for a table in the corner — before doubling back and suggesting that we go outside instead. It was so quiet in there, he explained, and he didn’t want to bum everyone out.
That’s because the plot of WAIKIKI gets rather dark. Socioeconomic disparity, abusive relationships, guilt — it’s all there. But that is the story that Kahunahana wants to tell — a side of Hawaii that is honest, yet not often shown.
When I asked Kahunahana what his inspiration for the story was, he says: “Chinatown.”
Many of the circumstances and the characters were derived from his own experiences in Chinatown while he was running Nextdoor. “There were a sh*# ton of stories I got from (Nextdoor),” he says. “I can tell some f*^#ing stories about that life … I took these characters — all those homeless people that I would see daily, those people in the neighborhood that I would associate with — and changed them to fit my plot structure to come up with something, hopefully, on the nose.”
Anyone who had been to Next-door during the years that he was running the club probably has seen Kahunahana around. But what many club-goers may not have realized was that his true passion was actually for filmmaking.
He’s had a good deal of success in film in the years since he sold Nextdoor, and WAIKIKI, which is set to start filming this spring and summer, is his biggest undertaking yet.
You can read more about his journey on page 6.