(FOR A QUICK LINK, CLICK ON ANY "SOUTH SEAS CINEMA PAGE TITLES" IN BAMBOO PAGE BAR BELOW)
About 25 years ago a freelanced writer, Ed Rampell, who had traveled to over a hundred South Seas islands because he specialized in Pacific island news. Then Ed had settled in Honolulu, and he had a hobby - South Seas movies. Even with a population around one million (including tourist) Rampell managed to find three other people on the island of O'ahu who had similar, serious interests in Hawaiian movies. Rampell was also able to contact the three others; DeSoto Brown, a part-Hawaiian author, collector and expert on 19th and 20th century Hawaiiana and a film and historian at the prominent Bishop museum in Honolulu; Bob Schmitt, the Hawai'i State Statistician, celebrated Hawaii historian and author of the first South Seas Cinema book Hawaii in the Movies 1898 to 1959; and Matt Locey, also part-Hawaiian who is a veteran of movie and TV production in Hawai'i, a member of the prestigious Directors Guild of America who has always dreamt to make, in his retirement, a documentary on Hawai'i movies. Rampell learned of the diversions and dreams that the other three had for this subject and managed to gather all four of them to meet. Even with the different backgrounds of each of the four, it was soon apparent that they shared the same interest and passion. In their first meeting it was also soon resolved that "South Seas" and Hawaii movies are within the same film category because from a "Hollywood's" ignorant prospective these movies were one and the same. With the cross mix of culture, customs and costumes of the Pacific, it was obvious that writers, producers, directors and art directors of most of these films had no knowledge that there were distinctions between the island nations. Also discovered in this first meeting was the realization that given the numbers and similarities of these films, there could be the argument that there exists a distinct film and TV genre about the South Seas. The foursome combined their research and shared some of their ephemere and other South Seas movie collectibles that they brought with them that night and this continued until today in the form of the South Seas Cinema Society. Soon after this first meeting the founding Society members discovered that in fact a justifiable film and TV genre had existed since Edison films of Hawai'i lensed in 1898 but this genre was not acknowledged and these founding four and many additional members of the Society has since then set out to change the "lost genre" into a legitimate and recognized film category.
Through the years members the Society has sponsored or has been the subject of books, newspaper and magazine articles, TV news stories, other society, university lectures and has even sponsored a Film Festival to get the word out. The Society has organized other members with similar interest throughout the Pacific and in Japan, Australia, Continental U.S. and Europe. The world wide web is the perfect venue to find others with the same passion on this subject and to promote the existence of this neglected but fun genre. Thus the sponsorship of this website, which has been attempted before, but "this" website, finally got off the ground and into the net.
Founders of the Society has chosen the Polynesian style of organization. Hang loose, no paper work, no fees nor any exchange of money, just the serious love and commitment to the genre. Just tell us why South Seas movies and television is of interest to you and we will register you for communications purposes and you will be a member. Simple as that. In Honolulu we have meetings to announce future new South Seas productions, share South Seas movie memorabilia, screen movies, comment on same films, take notes and eat and enjoy ourselves. Polynesian style; eat, relax, learn and have fun. No Jefferies rules of organizational conduct. But with the world wide web more lovers of this genre can become members and share news, photos, research, and comments over the net. No newsletters now, just this website and email blasts. And it is all at no cost to you or us (except for computers, software, service providers, web hosts, etc.). Of course if you are a bored "trust fund baby" or have money to blow, we don't mind monetary donations. The society has a dream of opening a museum on the subject of South Seas Cinema with a cafe and shop within to defray costs. Also a multi part documentary for PBS who in the past has approved the subject but we just had to find our own sponsors (money). (Excuse me can I have a million dollars?) We can dream, without dreaming nothing ever gets done. Again contact us through the webmaster in the CONTACTS page.
To study, promote & establish South Seas Cinema as a legitimate film genre. To support indigenous Micronesian, Melanesian & Polynesian actors, screenwriters, and other filmmakers. To collect and archive South Seas Cinema films, videos & their memorabilia. To view, critique and categorize said films. And to educate producers and audiences alike on proper representations of native Pacific Islanders and their cultures.