HIFF preview: ‘The Fishing Club’

Photo by Ed MoritaRainy and muggy weather nor questions of will or won’t hurricane Ana hit Oahu didn’t stop the cast and crew of the “The Fishing Club” from gathering Friday night at Kaka‘ako Agora for a preview screening of the film that they worked so hard on.

The short film featuring Robert Kekaula and Keali‘i Reichel in his acting debut will make its world premiere at the upcoming Hawaii International Film Festival, which runs Oct. 30 through Nov. 9 on Oahu and Nov. 13-16 on the Big Island and Kauai.

our-trailer-for-summer-20134-550x500In the film, Kekaula and Reichel lead a band of friends to stop the development of a new resort. As the plan unfolds and the news media move in, the group of friends feel the pressure.

The film does a good job of not offering a slanted, anti-development view with characters questioning if the potential jobs that the development will create would benefit the community while being respectful of Hawaii’s cultural heritage.

Reichel came across at first stiff and hesitant in his first acting role, but it actually played well with the unsure nature of his character, who serves as the spiritual glue of the group of friends. By fighting his inner turmoil of respecting his ancestors, while living in a modern world, we get a glimpse at the depth of emotion that he incorporates so well in his music.

“The Fishing Club” will be screened during HIFF as part of the Made in Hawaii showcase at the Regal Dole Cannery Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 2 at 1:30 p.m. and Friday, Nov. 7 at 8 p.m. with Neighbor Island screenings in the works. Buy tickets.

HIFF: China Night Gala

Photo by Ed MoritaThe Hawaii International Film Festival on Saturday launched its fall showcase with its annual China Night Gala. Held at Ward Village Courtyard at the IBM Building, proceeds from the event benefited the newly formed HIFF Foundation.

Headed by former HIFF executive director, Chuck Bowler, the HIFF Foundation supports emerging talent, cultural exchange through the cinema arts through an exchange program between students at the Academy for Creative Media at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and film students at the University of Shanghai.

In attendance at Saturday’s gala: Chinese actor Huang Xiao Ming; Ai Fei, finalist of Chinese Idol 2013; and Chinese mega-star Yue Sai Kan.

Here’s a look at HIFF’s China Night gala.

2014 China Night

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Photo by Ed Morita

Party pics: SurvivALOHA Paina

Highway Inn in Kaka‘ako played host to a unique launch party for Brother Noland Conjugation’s new book, “The Hawaiian Survival Handbook.”

Featuring food gathered by Conjugation and prepared by the Highway Inn staff, guest were also treated to live performances by Raiatea Helm, John Cruz and Henry Kapono.

Here’s a look at Brother Noland’s SurvivALOHA Pa‘ina:

SurvivALOHA Paina

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Assorted poke for the guests. Photo by Ed Morita


Brother Noland performing

Brother Noland’s ‘Survival Handbook’

handbook“How to survive a shark attack” and “how to find water” are just a few of the entries included in “The Hawaiian Survival Handbook.” The new book by local musician Brother Noland Conjugation is a compilation of general survival knowledge he learned throughout his life hunting and foraging from the land and sea.

The book isn’t really intended to be a survival guide, however. “Chances are you won’t ever have to escape a charging wild boar, or make a fire without matches, or fight off a tiger shark,” Conjugation writes. “…it can be a real adventure just reading about such survival skills from the comfort of your beach chair.”

HSHMediaDay_24Reading through the the handbook and looking at the illustrations by Andrew J. Catanzariti invokes memories of camping on Moloka‘i as a youth where an old fisherman named “Cappy” took me under his wing and taught me how to live off of the land.

Going through the book, I recalled Cappy’s lessons on how to lay a net. We set it up 10 yards offshore from where I set up my tent on the beach. I was instructed to check the net every day at low tide. Whatever was in the net was mine to eat, and I ate well. Every day I would pull out fish and 7-11 crabs. The only exception was to put any slipper lobsters into a small fishpond nearby. Later Cappy showed me how to use those lobsters as live bate for fishing for ulua.

I particularly enjoyed Conjugation’s entries on how to field dress wild game like chickens, turkeys, deer, and wild pigs, which made want to hunt down some wild game just to practice.

My most vivid memories of Moloka‘i were triggered by Conjugation’s entry on how to hunt a wild pig. I recalled a day when I was 12 years old. I was at my camp site when I pointed to a passing truck and said, “Cappy, look, they caught a pig!” Cappy looked at the passing truck, which had a dead pig tied to the hood and several hunting dogs in the back. “Nah, that’s not how you catch a pig,” he responded.

The next day, I found myself hiking in the forest with Cappy. We arrived at a certain spot that Cappy identified as a fresh trail. He knew there was a pig in the area, so he took out a loaf of bread and fifth bottle of rum from his pack. He emptied the rum into the loaf of bread and mashed it up in a bag. He then dumped the liquor-soaked bread on the ground and instructed me to climb up a nearby tree. We waited in the tree for an hour until a pig came out of the woods. It sniffed the bread before devouring all of it. Within minutes, the pig tipped over and was a asleep. We climbed down from the tree and Cappy said to me, “That is how you catch a pig.”

Conjugation’s book is a quick and entertaining read and whether your are the outdoors type or not, some of the tips like “how to treat a blister” or “how to treat an insect bite” may prove useful in everyday life. As for the rest, Conjugation puts it best. “What are the odds you’ll ever have to find water underground or field dress a turkey? Not too high, to be sure. But of course, you never know!”

Brother Noland will be hosting a launch party for his book at Highway Inn in Kaka‘ako on Tuesday Sept. 23, from 5:30-9 p.m., with special guests Henry Kapono, John Cruz, Raiatea Helm and others. Tickets are $65 and can be purchased online. Here’s more information about the event.

The Tokachi Food Challenge

nTyQpZK7w9M5iDXDNLyyysiBNEZWN9GhaS2c1yNAtAwThe winner of the first Tokachi Food Challenge will be announced at Thursday’s Hawaii Food and Wine Festival event, A Lucky Modern Buddha Belly, at The Modern Honolulu. The Tokachi Food Challenge is a unique recipe contest that invited the festival’s 80 participating chefs to create recipes using the prized azuki beans produced in Japan’s Tokachi District.

Several chefs accepted the challenge, and received bags of both the red and white Tokachi azuki beans. The winner among three finalists will be announced at The Modern on Thursday and be awarded a culinary adventure for two to Tokachi, Hokkaido. All three finalists will also receive $3,000, and all the recipes will be included in a cookbook.

I was able to get a jumpstart on some of this food-driven fun after being given some red and white beans to create my own recipes, although not part of the contest.

G0Hcoc8OlNkRlyc4n4wUt9jPPMn4fGvXs7JcDE6o8HkLike most beans, azuki is a good source for a variety of minerals, including iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and folic acid. Unlike most beans, however, azuki is most often boiled with sugar and mashed into a red bean paste known as “an,” which is commonly used in Asia and here in Hawaii as a confectionery ingredient to fill buns and rice cakes.

For this reason, I knew I wanted go savory with my recipe. I tried to think of an uncommon cooking method for azuki beans, and came up with dry-rubbed barbecue. I first roasted the red azuki beans in the oven along with a few coffee beans before grinding them in a spice grinder with dry oregano, dry basil, dry parsley and rosemary. From there, I added brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, paprika, cayenne pepper, white pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and Hawaiian alae salt.

QhOtP2mglcNwGll4bxXlB4cbrLlMjKTAk36rddM_IPANext, I made a glaze by soaking the red beans in water overnight. I added liquid smoke, and after the beans had plumped up, I boiled them in water for 45 minutes. I then drained the water and continued to cook the beans in a mixture of honey soy sauce and sweet chili sauce. Once the beans were soft, I pureed everything. It was at this point that I noticed a slight plum flavor in the beans. Those who I had taste it even mistakenly thought I had added hoisin to the mix.

I slathered the azuki bean glaze over a pork butt, then rubbed the dry rub onto the roast. I covered it with foil and cooked it in a 300-degree oven for three-hours. The result was a succulent pork roast, but the best part was the sweet charred gristle formed by the rendered pork fat and dry rub.

m74xXYJo_RyHAAFpXdTDSdw3ykBmMcg2_CtJ3cTklcMDrawing inspiration from this summer’s foodie movie, “Chef,” I used the barbeque pork to make a Cuban sandwich. to prepare the sandwich, I sliced the pork and grilled it while generously brushing it with the azuki bean glaze. Just like in the movie, I spread mustard on my bread before adding my slices of roast pork and topped it with pickled mountain apple. I grilled the sandwich beneath a weighted press and yielded an amazing azuki bean Cuban.

Z5CVMv_peWWczM7moLgCOwBujMnAZo2m4VYtKU5PrCkgDv3TVSm2hfDAwhn95hpe2PArzFT06gK3xmU-xFUwZAWhen Highway Inn’s chef Mike Kealoha tasted the azuki bean glaze, he said it tasted like baked beans, which got me thinking, “Why not?” For the baked beans, I soaked the white azuki beans overnight in water and liquid smoke, then boiled them for one hour until they were the texture of boiled peanuts. I then diced up the pork butt and added them to the beans along with Portuguese sausage, chicken stock, brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, tomato paste and dijion mustard. I mixed it well, then baked it in a 325-degree oven for an hour. The resulting beans tasted just like the glaze, which complemented the Cuban sandwich nicely.

Although I won’t be eligible for any prizes, I had a lot of fun experimenting with these azuki beans and look forward to seeing what the winner of the contest came up with.