A man's journey to find his roots through hula will take to the big screen Sunday night as part of the 2013 Hawaii Film Festival.
The movie, "The Haumana," is a story of a washed up Waikiki entertainer who goes back to find his hula roots. The movie marks the directorial debut of Hawaii actor and hula dancer Keo Woolford.
In the film, Jonny Kealoha, played by Tui Asau, seeks advice from his barkeep best friend "Linda," played by an almost unrecognizable Kelly Hu.
“I’m kind of a tita (tough girl), but a tita with a heart,” Hu said.
It was a role Hu embraced.
“This is the first time I ever got to use my pidgin English,” said Hu. “I always say pidgin is like my first language, so it was super fun to be able to do this exaggerated character.”
Hu, who was home for the debut of “The Haumana” at the film festival, remains busy in Los Angeles working on several TV shows and a video game.
“They’re using my likeness, so I have to put on that crazy costume with all those dots on it and the weird hood thing with the camera in the front,” said Hu. “It’s a little bit challenging as an actor because you’re doing these scenes with these other actors dressed up in these really weird onesies.”
Hu said coming home to work is what she loves the most and working with first-time director Woolford was a joy.
“He (Keo) has a very specific vision for his project and his characters. But he lets you, or he let me, rift with the character,” said Hu.
Shot entirely on Oahu, “The Haumana,” features a number of notable local faces, including Robert Cazimero, who choreographed and wrote original music for the film.
Hu said the movie is an honest and true story for Hawaii.
“Even though there’s a lot of the comedy and stuff involved, it’s very real,” Hu said.
“The Haumana” debuts at the Hawaii Theater at 5 p.m. Sunday and at 7:30 p.m. at the Consolidated Koko Marina.
The film will also make its debut on the neighbor islands, including screenings at the Hilo Palaca Theater on the Big Isle at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; at the Waimea Theater on Kauai at 7 p.m. Thursday; and at the St. Regis Hotel Princeville at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.