‘Waikiki’ shines at Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

… center of Hawaii’s tourism was turned into a high-rise hell squeezing dollars … Despite the fact that Kea has two other part-time jobs—as a Hawaiian …
‘Waikiki’ shines at Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

Promotional image for Waikiki

America is currently experiencing a historic surge of protests igniting a cultural awakening and racial reckoning. October 12, which has been called “Columbus Day” and is now referred to as Indigenous Peoples Day has come and gone. But in this month, shorts, documentaries, and features by and about the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Islands are being given their day in the sun as part of the 36th annual Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. Since 1983 Visual Communications, a nonprofit organization, has presented LAAPFF, whose mission is “to develop and support the voices of Asian American and Pacific Islander filmmakers and media artists who empower communities and challenge perspectives.” This year. due to the pandemic. the Festival is online.

To be sure, the plethora of pictures presented at LAAPFF are by Asian and Asian-American filmmakers with roots in countries such as the People’s Republic of China, India, etc., with populations that vastly outnumber the peoples of Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia. Nevertheless, LAAPFF provides a perch for works by and about Oceanic talents and topics in Los Angeles, a global capital of cinema. This is the first in a series of reviews of selections from Hawaii, the Marquesas, Samoa, Aotearoa/New Zealand, etc., at LAAPFF, which reels through October 31.

Waikiki, mon amour

Writer/director Christopher Kahunanana’s feature film debut Waikiki is a sensitively nuanced peek behind the paradise façade paraded before tourists to lure them to come visit Hawaii. It goes far beyond old South Seas cinema’s celluloid stereotypes. Danielle Zalopany depicts Kea, a “local girl” on the skids at Oahu. When the feature opens, Kea is performing with a troupe of hula dancers at a nightclub for tourists with a backdrop of world-famous Diamond Head. The beautiful young Polynesian is alluringly clad in a halter top, sarong, and what are probably plastic leis and flowery crown. They dance to the lovely sonorous song (probably recorded) “Waikiki” by Andy Cummings that extolls the idyllic vision of a bygone era before the center of Hawaii’s tourism was turned into a high-rise hell squeezing dollars out of visitors drawn to Oahu by a heavenly vision:

Waikīkī

My whole life is empty without you

I miss that magic about you

Magic beside the sea

Magic of Waikīkī.

Despite the fact that Kea has two other part-time jobs—as a Hawaiian language teacher for children (probably as part of the Aloha State’s laudatory program to teach the Indigenous mother tongue, which has largely vanished from daily discourse due to colonial subjugation) and as a bar girl in a downtown Honolulu (perhaps in Chinatown?) gritty bar—she is homeless, like so many other landless Hawaiians dispossessed in their ancestral homeland.

Despite her beauty, Kea is anything but the carefree, sensuous sarong girl stereotypically depicted by countless Dorothy Lamour types in South Seas Cinema productions shot by “Haole-wood” filmmakers. Kea is a real, three-dimensional human being suffering as one of the wretched of the Earth in an Island stolen from her ancestors who must cope with the vicious vicissitudes of a callous capitalist society.

Apparently mistreated by her partner, brawny Branden (Jason Quinn), Kea seems to have fled her abusive household, where she may have also lived with their child—although like other facets of Waikiki this is unclear, as is the exact nature of her relationship with Branden. Kea is living out of her van, and her efforts to find a new place to live are thwarted by bureaucratic stipulations and paperwork, despite the fact that she actually has the cash on hand for the first month and a deposit required to rent an apartment in incredibly overpriced, hyperinflated Hawaii.

While living on the streets and out of her van, Kea falls in with the woeful Wo (Peter Shinkoda, whose lengthy credits include Daredevil), a homeless man whom, shall we say, she meets by accident. Kea’s misadventures in the harsh high-rise habitat that is much of contemporary Honolulu include having her van towed and her inability to retrieve it, again, due to red tape, thus depriving her of what little shelter she had.

Homelessness is a major problem in Hawaii, where thousands of disenfranchised Hawaiians and locals literally live on the beaches in tents and other makeshift shelters. In scenes that akamai (in-the-know) viewers will find poignant, a traumatized Kea wanders past the statue of a woman and a stately 19th-century building in the American Florentine architectural style. If the viewer is familiar with them, this can evoke a sense of estrangement, of becoming a stranger in one’s own land.

However, ordinary moviegoers outside of Hawaii are unlikely to recognize that the bronze figure on the pedestal is Queen Liliuokalani, Hawaii’s last monarch who was overthrown in a coup d’état executed by descendants of American missionaries and merchants, backed by the U.S. military in 1893. The statue is near Iolani Palace, where Liliuokalani had reigned over an independent kingdom before she was toppled in the planters’ putsch depriving Polynesians of their sovereignty and then placed under house arrest in America’s only royal palace by the Washington-backed traitors. Kea also traipses past the 50th State’s volcano-shaped State Capitol building.

These are all poignant symbols for residents and those familiar with Hawaii and its history, but as they are never specifically identified onscreen may go over the heads of many off-island viewers. Thus Waikiki will probably lose much of its intended impact because film fans aren’t mind readers. Movies are often criticized for being too long (are you listening, Marty Scorsese?), but the 82-minute Waikiki is one of those rare productions where a skillfully added 10 minutes or so with the exposition necessary to explain the historical background and context for the general viewer would probably enhance the work. (Of course, that’s easy for a critic to write as he’s not paying any of the costs.) But malihinis (Island neophytes) can pick up some of the nationalist vibe by listening closely to the angry lyrics of the bitter song that plays over the end credits, Brother Noland’s “Look What They’ve Done,” which contrasts sharply with the trope-filled “Waikiki.”

Nevertheless, Kahunanana is clearly an Oceanic auteur brimming with promise. Waikiki plays with time like the French director Alain Resnais, who helmed New Wave classics such as 1959’s experimental Hiroshima Mon Amour. A series of shots flashback to Kea as a child, learning aspects of her Hawaiian heritage from her tutu (grandmother, played by Hawaiian actress Claire Parker Johnson), which serve to show grownup Kea’s alienation from her culture. Interestingly, these scenes are lensed in water, either a stream or the ocean. Kahunanana has a keen eye as there are some exquisite shots of Oahu which, beyond Waikiki, the most overcrowded, crime-ridden, traffic-choked, polluted part of Hawaii, still boasts plenty of splendid scenery. Cinematographer Ryan Myamoto’s camera colorfully captures it all.

Ms. Zalopany is likewise an Islander filled with talent, who bestows dignity and poignancy on her down-on-her-luck character, grappling with the oppression of struggling to survive in a homeland torn from the rightful owners, her ancestors. Ms. Zalopany’s TV and movie credits include Hawaii Five-O and 2016’s Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, and she appears in the shorts Kālewa and Moloka’i Bound, which are also being screened at this year’s LAAPFF.

Just as I greatly look forward to future films by/with Kahunanana and Ms. Zalopany, it was a delight to see an old friend, the Hawaiian radio/stage/screen stalwart, beloved Kimo Kahoana in a cameo as Uncle Bully (who appears to abandon little Kea in flashbacks). Waikiki credits the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation, Hawaiian language expert Maile Meyer, the Sundance Institute, Native Lab Fellows, and Maori Oscar winner, actor/director/screenwriter Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit).

The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival does viewers a great cinematic service by providing a platform to film buffs of the off-the-beaten-path pictures by presenting worthy works like Waikiki. In showing the other side of the South Seas on film, with its Indigenous POV, Waikiki is a step forward in the film genre that began in Honolulu in 1898, when a Thomas Edison camera crew shot scenes of Waikiki and Oahu. Interested viewers can watch Waikikihere. For more information about the film, see here.

LAAPFF’s other Pacific Islander films this year include:

Patutiki: The Guardians of the Marquesan Tattoo; Hinekura; Faces of Oceania; Kama’āina (Child of the Land); Kālewa; Kapaemahu; Liliu; Mo’o!; Moloka’i Bound; Tā Moko—Behind the Tattooed Face; The Moon and the Night; and Toa’ipuapuagā Strength in Suffering.


CONTRIBUTOR

Ed Rampell
Ed Rampell

    Ed Rampell is an L.A.-based film historian/critic and co-organizer of the 70th Anniversary Commemoration of the Hollywood Blacklist.

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    Glancy Prongay & Murray LLP Reminds Investors of Looming Deadline in the Class Action Lawsuit …

    … acquired Alteryx, Inc. (“Alteryx” or “the Company”) (NYSE: AYX) securities between May 6, 2020 and August 7, 2020, inclusive (the “Class Period”).

    LOS ANGELES, Oct. 6, 2020Glancy Prongay & Murray LLP (“GPM”) reminds investors of the upcoming October 19, 2020 deadline to file a lead plaintiff motion in the class action filed on behalf of investors who purchased or otherwise acquired Alteryx, Inc. (“Alteryx” or “the Company”) (NYSE: AYX) securities between May 6, 2020 and August 7, 2020, inclusive (the “Class Period”).

    Glancy_Prongay_and_Murray_LLPGlancy_Prongay_and_Murray_LLP
    Glancy_Prongay_and_Murray_LLP

    If you suffered a loss on your Alteryx investments or would like to inquire about potentially pursuing claims to recover your loss under the federal securities laws, you can submit your contact information at https://www.glancylaw.com/cases/alteryx-inc/. You can also contact Charles H. Linehan, of GPM at 310-201-9150, Toll-Free at 888-773-9224, or via email at shareholders@glancylaw.com to learn more about your rights.

    On August 6, 2020, the Company announced in a press release its second quarter 2020 financial results, and disappointing growth projections for the third quarter and full year 2020. Therein, Alteryx stated that, for the third quarter, it expected revenue “to be in the range of $111.0 million to $115.0 million, an increase of 7% to 11% year-over-year.” Moreover, for fiscal year 2020, the Company expected revenue “to be in the range of $460.0 million to $465.0 million, an increase of 10% to 11% year-over-year.”

    On this news, the Company’s share price fell $47.62, or over 28%, to close at $121.38 per share on August 7, 2020, thereby injuring investors. The stock price continued to decline over the next trading session by $12.15, or 10%, to close at $109.23 per share on August 10, 2020, representing a cumulative decline of $59.77, or 35%.

    The complaint filed in this class action alleges that throughout the Class Period, Defendants made materially false and/or misleading statements, as well as failed to disclose material adverse facts about the Company’s business, operations, and prospects. Specifically, Defendants failed to disclose to investors: (1) that the Company was unable to close large deals within the quarter and deals were pushed out to subsequent quarters or downsized; (2) that, as a result, Alteryx increasingly relied on adoption licenses to attract new customers; (3) that, as a result and due to the nature of adoption licenses, the Company’s revenue was reasonably likely to decline; and (4) that, as a result of the foregoing, Defendants’ positive statements about the Company’s business, operations, and prospects were materially misleading and/or lacked a reasonable basis.

    Follow us for updates on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.

    If you purchased or otherwise acquired Alteryx securities during the Class Period, you may move the Court no later than October 19, 2020to request appointment as lead plaintiff in this putative class action lawsuit. To be a member of the class action you need not take any action at this time; you may retain counsel of your choice or take no action and remain an absent member of the class action. If you wish to learn more about this class action, or if you have any questions concerning this announcement or your rights or interests with respect to the pending class action lawsuit, please contact Charles Linehan, Esquire, of GPM, 1925 Century Park East, Suite 2100, Los Angeles, California 90067, at 310-201-9150, Toll-Free at 888-773-9224, by email to shareholders@glancylaw.com, or visit our website at www.glancylaw.com. If you inquire by email please include your mailing address, telephone number and number of shares purchased.

    This press release may be considered Attorney Advertising in some jurisdictions under the applicable law and ethical rules.

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    SOURCE Glancy Prongay & Murray LLP

    Act One Ventures Teams with Other Leading Venture Capital Firms to Launch The Diversity Term …

    Greycroft Partners, First Round Capital, Maveron and Harlem Capital Partners Among the First Firms to Commit to Including the Rider in Their Term …

    LOS ANGELES, Aug. 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Act One Ventures (Act One), a venture capital firm investing in enterprise business software companies at the seed and pre-seed stage, announced today The Diversity Term Sheet Rider for Representation at the Cap Table (Diversity Rider) alongside eight venture funds. This initiative is designed to evolve the way venture investing is done by calling for VC firms to bring in Black and other underrepresented groups including, but not limited to, LatinX, women and LGBTQ+ as co-investors on deals, thereby immediately increasing diversity at the core of the deal-making process.

    Greycroft Partners,First Round Capital,Maveron, SVB Capital,Harlem Capital Partners, Fifth Wall, Plexo Capital,Precursor Ventures andEqual Ventures are the first firms to commit to the Diversity Rider. They have each pledged to embed the boilerplate rider language into their standard term sheets, creating an opportunity between their firms and all founding teams to identify and bring diverse investors to the cap table. Silicon Valley Bank, Cooley, Fenwick & West, Stradling, Gaingels, Aumni and Crunchbase have also committed to raise awareness within their networks with the intent of helping this become an industry standard. For those interested in joining, you can sign up here.

    The Diversity Rider aims to increase the representation of minorities in all venture capital deals, even when firms invest in non-diverse teams. By inviting Black and other underrepresented groups of diverse check writers (DCWs) to co-invest with brand name funds at the early stages, it improves their track record among prospective limited partners (LPs), while founders will benefit from the addition of diverse networks joining their cap table.

    “We are encouraged by the efforts being made by all firms – small and large – who recognize we must do more in the wake of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor’s deaths which inspired the creation of this rider. Our goal is to ignite more in depth discussions around the lack of diversity in tech and venture,” said Alejandro Guerrero, Principal at Act One. “This rider will sustain our collaborative efforts as an entire industry to improve access for underrepresented minorities, every single time a deal gets done. Through this, we will expand co-investing access, evolve diversity discussions at the cap table and create more diverse deal flow across the industry. As evidenced by research, diverse teams outperform and deliver better returns. Not only is this the right thing to do, but it will have a positive impact on the bottom line.”

    “Offering a chair to diverse groups and ensuring that they have the opportunity to be in the room during every single deal-making process will lead to a larger and necessary systemic change within the venture community,” added Michael Silton, Managing Director at Act One.

    Act One has offered the following boilerplate language for the Diversity Rider to include in term sheets, outlining the firm’s commitment to include at least one DCW as a co-investor in the financing of new or follow-on deals:

    Diversity Rider: In order to advance diversity efforts in the venture capital industry, the Company and the lead investor, [Fund Name], will make commercial best efforts to offer and make every attempt to include as a co-investor in the financing at least one Black [or other underrepresented group including, but not limited to LatinX, women, LGBTQ+] check writer (DCWs), and to allocate a minimum of [X]% or [X] $’s of the total round for such co-investor.

    To support firms in finding DCWs, Act One is working with Crunchbase as part of its Diversity Spotlight Initiative to compile a list of underrepresented investors who are actively writing checks and would welcome co-investment opportunities. DCWs are encouraged to visit the opt-in Airtable and sign up to appear on this list. Once completed, firms will be able to search this list for DCWs directly on Crunchbase, filtering by industry and stage.

    “Supporting and committing to diversity and inclusion offers significant competitive advantage, particularly in younger companies that have the opportunity to integrate best practices into their core foundation,” said Dana Settle, Founding Partner at Greycroft. “This rider opens doors to conversations around diversity and inclusion in the venture community and demonstrates to our founders and partners that this is a top priority for us.”

    “For diverse investors, it is challenging to enter the venture industry without resources or the right network. Short term, the rider helps to solve this by ensuring that these groups get a seat at the table and have the opportunity to develop new relationships which can lead to future success,” said Henri Pierre-Jacques, Managing Partner at Harlem Capital Partners. “Long term, this is a step forward in changing the mindset in venture to ensure more investors are frequently considered for co-investment and follow on opportunities.”

    To learn more about the Diversity Rider, please visit here.

    About Act One Ventures

    Act One Ventures is a Los Angeles-based venture capital firm investing in business software companies at the seed and pre-seed stage. The firm has $47mm in AUM across two funds and special purpose vehicles, and has built a deep and diverse network, inclusive of underrepresented founders. Its portfolio comprises 28 companies across Fund I & II, with 70% of companies founded by people of color, LGBTQ+ or women. The firm was founded in 2016 by Alejandro Guerrero and Michael Silton. For more information, please visit https://www.actoneventures.com/.

    Media Contacts

    Katherine Segura / Breanna Rigg

    [email protected]

    646.818.9266 / 646.818.9255

    SOURCE Act One Ventures

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    Wrapbook Funding Accelerates First All-in-One Payroll, Compliance and Insurance Platform for …

    Wrapbook also received funding from Equal Ventures, Uncork Capital, founder of Paylocity Steve Sarowitz, 4S Bay Partners . About Wrapbook.

    LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Aug 25, 2020–

    Wrapbook which powers payroll, insurance, and compliance for the entertainment industry today announces $3.6M in Seed funding for its software platform that radically simplifies the grinding and labor-intensive process of onboarding, paying and insuring film and production crews. Wrapbook seeks to be the premier payroll processing platform for the entertainment industry, which encompasses TV, film, commercial production, and live events, and is worth $181 billion, according to the Motion Picture Association. The overwhelming majority of entertainment payroll is processed manually.

    Wrapbook automates payroll filings and tax payments, calculating both federal and local taxes in all 50 states. As one of the few entertainment-compliant payroll companies in America, Wrapbook calculates employer fringes and complicated timecards correctly, while collecting union pension and health benefits. When it’s time to wrap, Wrapbook makes payroll and offloading workers digitized and seamless, so those handling productions can focus on what matters most: creating captivating stories.

    Typical production crew paperwork processes require two to five on-set payroll coordination personnel to onboard cast and crew, and up to five days of post-production payroll calculations to wrap a project. This impacts production budgets, and drains hours of production time, because essential documents are completed in-person, and on-set. Wrapbook’s digital onboarding tool makes it fast and easy for producers to set up the cast and crew, often days or weeks before shooting, saving hours of startup and administrative paperwork. In times of COVID, anything that can eliminate in-person paperwork also helps to safeguard the health and well-being for cast and crew.

    “Wrapbook is the easiest way for employers to compliantly pay employees for a week of work,” says Wrapbook Co-Founder and CEO Ali Javid. “We are here to help employers and employees be paperless to assist with COVID-19 and be AB5-compliant in entertainment and across project-based industries,” Javid says.

    “One of the most stressful aspects of working in film and production is wondering whether you’re going to get paid for your job,” says Wrapbook Co-Founder, CMO Cameron Woodward, who previously founded a film and production insurance company. “Wrapbook simplifies and streamlines the business of production from start to finish, which is why we’ve been able to achieve such prolific word of mouth adoption of our software,” Woodward says.

    “Wrapbook is the first and only platform of its kind to embrace the worker, enabling them to create and own a fully portable digital profile that securely stores banking details, tax identification, and other essential HR compliance records,” says Equal Ventures General Partner Richard Kerby, who led investment in the Seed Round. “Customers love that the Wrapbook team has combined its deep knowledge of the creative industry with an impressive technical stack to completely reimagine the tedious process of setting up distributed teams,” says Kerby. “We’re very excited to be part of Wrapbook’s journey to transform the future of work,” says Kerby. Wrapbook also received funding from Equal Ventures, Uncork Capital, founder of Paylocity Steve Sarowitz, 4S Bay Partners .

    About Wrapbook

    Wrapbook provides digital profiles that facilitate compliant onboarding, payment and insurance for employers and project-based workforces in entertainment. Wrapbook enables creatives to focus more on their work and spend less time on complex systems of compliance. Wrapbook is led by a veteran founding team whose deep experience encompasses film and production, payments, and the insurance industry. Wrapbook has offices in Los Angeles, New York City, and Toronto.

    Founder Bios

    Ali Javid, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer

    Previously Ali was VP of Business Development at Body Labs, a leading machine learning technology startup which sold to Amazon.

    Naysawn Naji, Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer

    Naysawn was previously the Chief Technology Officer of Arcus Financial. Arcus is a leading payments platform for banks and retailers.

    Hesham El-Nahhas, Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer

    Hesham was previously the Lead Backend Engineer of Arcus Financial. Arcus is a leading payments platform for banks and retailers.

    Cameron Woodward, Co-Founder & Chief Marketing Officer

    Previously Cameron was the managing partner of Film Casualty Insurance Agency and Co-Founder of Sprinkle Lab a leading commercial video production company.

    View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200825005316/en/

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    INDUSTRY KEYWORD: FILM & MOTION PICTURES TV AND RADIO ACCOUNTING TECHNOLOGY PROFESSIONAL SERVICES GENERAL ENTERTAINMENT EVENTS/CONCERTS ENTERTAINMENT SOFTWARE INSURANCE HUMAN RESOURCES

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    Natalie Portman will have a women’s team in Los Angeles

    … is the top individual investor on behalf of his firm Initialized Capital. Portman, Nortman and Uhrman will have financial participation in the team.

    Actress Natalie Portman stands out as the head of the group of investors who will establish a women’s soccer league team in Los Angeles starting in 2022.

    The team, tentatively named Angel City, will increase the number of clubs in the NWSL to 11 to 11. Louisville FC will join the current nine teams next season.

    Portman and venture capitalist Kara Nortman lead the majority-owned owner group. Julie Uhrman, gaming entrepreneur, will be the president of the consortium. Actresses Eva Longoria, América Ferrera, Jennifer Garner and Uzo Aduba also participate.

    Reddit businessman and co-founder Alexis Ohanian, wife of tennis star Serena Williams, is the top individual investor on behalf of his firm Initialized Capital. Portman, Nortman and Uhrman will have financial participation in the team.

    “I think it is very important that children, both boys and girls, can admire women who are an example and also heroines. And this is a sport that is incredible for being a collective sport,” Portman said in an interview with The Associated Press. . “You can admire a woman’s success and be encouraged by everyone because a woman’s success represents the team’s overall success.”

    The founding group includes half a dozen retired footballers, including Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach and Julie Foudy. Other businesswomen also participate.

    Portman said he once listened to Wambach, a former striker for the United States national team, when he gave a speech at a “Time’s Up” event and pondered how society views women athletes. It was then that he and Nortman met with Becca Roux, the executive director of the soccer team association of the United States national team.

    “We started going to games and we got excited. It was like a revolution to be able to see my son and his little friends, these 8-year-old boys then, wearing (Megan) Rapinoe shirts, Alex Morgan shirts. ‘Wow, this is could being from another world. ‘It didn’t seem unusual to them, “Portman said.

    A clue to the gestation of the project transpired last year, when Portman, Gardner, Longoria and other celebrities attended a friendly of the United States team at the LAFC stadium before the World Cup in France that they ended up conquering.

    The women also contacted a group of fans campaigning to have a team in Los Angeles. The plan is to continue adding investors as the team builds.

    The NWSL, whose first season played in 2013, was the first professional league in the United States to resume activity amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the Challenge Cup tournament in Utah. The semifinals are played on Wednesday.

    The official name of the Los Angeles club, and its stadium, should be announced later this year.