In the blink of an eye, we have approached our final day on the Big Island. It has been a bittersweet moment, as we are preparing to pack and travel back home to New York. Today, the class had a choice as to what they wanted to do. Some decided to explore with Lou’s team, others rolled with Luskay, and few decided to relax and stay at the hotel.

Students who wanted to have a calmer day went with Dr. Luskay to two beaches, the Rainbow Falls, and downtown Hilo. Although we considered this our day off, we were still on the lookout for interesting people to add to our story. Their first stop was at Carlsmith Beach Park, where the group swam in a bay with sea turtles. We were able to get an incredible close up video of the sea turtles, who swam right up to us. From there, they went to Richardson’s Ocean Park. We snorkeled, lounged on the beach, and stumbled across someone making leis by hand. We introduced ourselves and got footage of the process for our film.

The students who went with Professor Lou dedicated their day to collecting last minute interviews and b-roll. They began at Leilani Estates where they interviewed Susan Oshore, a school teacher who lost her house to fissure eight the day before her students graduated. Next, they made their way to Uncle Robert’s market to interview Sameul Kelilhoomalu, who claimed to be Uncle Robert’s son. As one student was shooting b-roll, he met someone who volunteered at The Hub that offered charity for evacuees. They ended up interviewing him about his experience.

Later that afternoon, they went to Route 137 to collect footage of the ocean and the rocky terrain. They drove along the road for an hour, stopping frequently to get out and film on their way to Isaac Hale Beach Park. Once there, their goal was to find native Hawaiians so we could include that aspect as a part of our story. Although they met approximately half a dozen native Hawaiians, Lou’s group was unsuccessful in finding anyone that was willing to speak on camera. Returning to Hilo, they continued to search for natives and talked to various business owners. By the time they got there, most of the shops were already closed, though they did meet one native; Bruce Omori, owner of the ‘Extreme Exposure’ photo gallery.

One of the students in our class, Will Giuseffi, had the opportunity to train at Penn Fitness and Training Center in Hilo, mastering the art of Jiu-Jitsu. Will got the chance to meet B.J. Penn, a well known UFC fighter who trains at the same gym. Penn holds a 5th degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Regardless of where we all went today, we came together to end our trip over dinner. Our farewell dinner has been planned for months, but always seemed so far away. Looking back, our class had an amazing time on the Big Island. We all learned a significant amount from our interviewees, locals, and even each other. On Tuesday, we begin our post-production phase. From then, we have five weeks to put together our film for our set premier date on May 7th. We still have a lot of work to do, but we all have a positive outlook on the project and we are excited to tell the story we found here in Hawaii.