In 2018 ‘Ohina created its first ever annual Filmmaker's Lab with the goal of furthering our mission of supporting and educating the next generation of Hawai‘i storytellers and filmmakers.


The inaugural lab was hosted by Black Panther screenwriter Joe Robert Cole. Over the course of a two-day workshop, Cole met with local filmmakers Mitchel Viernes, Erin Lau, Ty Sanga, Alika Maikau, Sky Bruno, and Vilsoni Hereniko to discuss their short film concepts, edit 10-page screenplays they had written specifically for the workshop, and hear their pitches in a Hollywood studio-type environment, complete with questions, notes, and feedback from Cole and the ‘Ohina executive team.

‘Ohina was proud to announce a “Greenlight Award” to Hawai‘i filmmaker Mitchel Viernes, granting him full support towards the creation of his short film, Kalewa. This includes camera, equipment, and rentals provided by Hawaii Camera, Hawaii Media, Inc, and other partners—as well as funding, marketing assistance, as well as a slot at next year’s showcase.

Additionally, a special ‘Ohina Judge’s Choice Award was also given to filmmaker Alika Maikau, who received personal mentorship from Cole to further develop his screenplay. All 2017 Writer’s Lab participants will receive support for their short film projects and have been greenlit for ‘Ohina’s 2018 festival. The launch of this program marks a new beginning for ‘Ohina, in an effort to foster and now produce local film media in the Islands.