Hawaiian Anthropological documentary Aloha From Lavaland is set to premiere on April 7 at the Hawaii International Film Festival. Produced by three Big Island-based production companies, the film follows the aftermath of the 2014 eruption of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano, which sent a flow of lava directly toward the center of Pahoa, a small rural town on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Hard to predict and impossible to stop, the flow threatened to cut off the town’s only access road, leaving the residents of this remote community to rely heavily on one another as they prepare for possible isolation.
Produced in conjunction by Gift Culture Media, Larkin Pictures and Pure Mother Love, this 55 minute documentary explores an inner community perspective of the lava flow, following residents as they ask and answer important questions about community, sustainability, harmony, and what it really means to live in such an unpredictable paradise.
In addition to street interviews and news coverage, the documentary follows a local Hawaiian kumu (healer), a sustainability expert and the leader of a sovereign Hawaiian community over a period of seven months as they attempt to prepare for the unpreparable.
“Puna is unlike any place I’ve ever lived,” says co-director Suzenne Seradwyn, who has created films in Los Angeles, New Mexico and Hawaii. “The people here have different values because of the natural elements at play, and the rich cultural history surrounding those elements. There is a very important message to share about what happens when you allow yourself to trust these elements.”
“This film is important for anyone living in a state of change, whether it be due to external elements or an internal shift,” says the film’s co-director, Phillips Payson. “Part of what this film explores is how one’s attitude toward change can make all the difference.” Before moving to the Big Island, Payson worked in the film industry in New York and Los Angeles. This is his fourth film.