Mele Murals Film Screening with Director Tad Nakamura

Wednesday  10 May  2017  7:30 PM    Wednesday  10 May  2017 9:30 PM
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Last update 11/05/2017

What: Mele Murals Film Screening with Director Tad Nakamura
Where: Humanities Lecture Hall, Rm 206
When: May 10th, 7:30-9:30 PM

Film Director and UC Santa Cruz alum Tadashi “Tad” Nakamura will screen his award winning documentary, Mele Mural, on May 10th, 2017 from 7:30pm to 9:30pm, in the Humanities Lecture Hall Room 206, followed with a discussion and Q&A. This is a free event that is open to all UCSC affiliates.

Mele Murals documents the transformative power of modern graffiti art and ancient Hawaiian culture for a new generation of Native Hawaiians. Nakamura states, “We wanted to create a story that opens the veil for the viewer to get an intimate look into a genuine modern Native Hawaiian experience - resilience in the face of colonization, revitalization of the Hawaiian language and culture…” At the center, the film focuses on two renowned street artists - Estria Miyashiro and John Hina (aka “Prime”) - along with a group of Native Hawaiian youth from the rural community of Waimea. Both Estria and Prime’s backgrounds, Prime, who grew up in the projects and living a life of hustling and drugs, and Estria wanting to reconnect to his cultural Hawaiian roots, sought to work together and use their love of graffiti to help empower the youth in their communities.

Different from the idyllic tourist destination, Mele Murals unveils the genuine Native Hawaiian culture outside the stereotypical tourist-focused view of Hawaii. The lack of understanding and authenticity of Hawaiian culture today motivated Nakamura to reconnect and reframe Hawaiian culture through the perspective of the Native Hawaiians themselves. Nakamura notes, being his first time working with the Native Hawaiian community, he was “blown away by the strength and beauty of the people, their traditions, and their land.” Mele Murals was a three year project under ‘Oiwi TV, or Hawaii’s first and only indigenous television networks.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, California as a fourth generation Japanese American, Tadashi “Tad” Nakamura is an aspiring filmmaker and director. Tad Nakamura attended both the University of California, Los Angeles receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Asian American Studies, Summa Cum Laude and the University of California, Santa Cruz receiving his Master of Arts in Social Documentation. Before graduating from UCLA, Nakamura had already finished two films called “Yellow Brotherhood” (2003), “Pilgrimage” (2007), and “A Song for Ourselves” (2009).

Named one of CNN’s “Young People Who Rock”, Nakamura was recognized as one of the youngest film directors to attend the 2008 Sundance Film Festival as well as one of the “30 most influential Asian Americans Under 30” by his popular website Angry Asian Man. Nakamura has graciously won a wide range of awards: “Best Documentary Feature” at the Guam International Film Festival (2016), One Nation Film Festival (2017), and Monarch Film Festival (2016); Special Jury Award at the Hawai’i International Film Festival (2016), International Pacific Documentary Film Festival (2017), and Santa Cruz Film Festival (2016); “Best Documentary Audience Award” at the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival (2016), CAAMFest San Jose (2016); and the “National Endowment for the Arts Media Arts” grant for production of Mele Murals (2015).

This event is sponsored by the Asian American/Pacific Islander Resource Center (AA/PIRC) and co-sponsored by the Film and Digital Media Department, and Community Unified Student Network. For more information or disability accommodations, contact AA/PIRC at or 831-459-5349.

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