August 28, 2008

Hawaii-Made ‘CHIEF’ Wins Best Drama at L.A. Short Film Fest

HONOLULU, Aug. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The short film CHIEF, written and directed by Brett Wagner and produced by Dana Satler Hankins, won "Best Dramatic Short" at the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival on August 22nd. Jurors included actress Sandra Oh, HBO Executive Producer Andrew Reimer, and L.A. Weekly film critic Ernest Hardy.

L.A. Shortsfest is an Academy Award accredited film festival whose winners are eligible to be nominated for an Oscar in the short film categories. CHIEF was among thousands of shorts submitted to the fest for consideration.

"Winning L.A. Shortsfest and getting our Academy qualification is huge for us," says Wagner, "and a victory for the dozens of Hawaii-based cast, crew and supporters who contributed their talent and resources to this film."

Filmed in the jungles, waters, and urban nightscapes of Oahu, CHIEF tells the story of a highly ranked chieftain from Samoa who flees his village after the drowning death of his young daughter, and winds up a taxi driver in Honolulu.

CHIEF's winning run started in January, when it became the first Hawaii-made short film ever to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. IndieWIRE declared it "one of the 10 must-see shorts of the festival." The film received a British Academy of Film and Television Certificate of Excellence and won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Short at the Maui Film Festival.

CHIEF recently screened at the Festival of Pacific Arts in American Samoa. Thanks to a sponsorship from Hawaiian Airlines, Wagner and lead actor Chief Sielu Avea were able to travel to Pago Pago and present the film to enthusiastic audiences at the quadrennial event.

CHIEF's Honolulu premiere will take place in October at the Hawaii International Film Festival.

Wagner's previous film, the feature-length FIVE YEARS, won "Best Feature Film" at the Victoria Independent Film Festival and "Best Screenplay" at the Avignon Film Festival. It is distributed worldwide by CinemaVault Releasing. Hankins' feature producing credits include STAKEOUT, BIRD ON A WIRE, and the Sundance Audience-Award winner PICTURE BRIDE. CHIEF's lead actor Sielu Avea is an actual Samoan Chief, playing his first dramatic role.

    Starring Chief Sielu Avea and Kaalakai Faurot    Written and directed by Brett Wagner    Produced by Dana Satler Hankins and Brett Wagner    Cinematographer: Paul Atkins    Editor: Jay K. Evans    Executive Producers: Kevin Wakayama and Christina Simpkins    Co-Producer: Grace Atkins     Stills and info:  

Brett Wagner

CONTACT: Barbra Pleadwell of Hastings & Pleadwell: A CommunicationsCompany, office, +1-808-538-0797, ext. 1, cell, +1-808-292-3031,[email protected], for Brett Wagner

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