Filmmaker and author, Raymond Rolak, was a guest presenter at the recently concluded Big Island Film Festival in Kona on the Big Island. Hosted at the fabulous Fairmont Orchard Resort, Rolak’s workshop was titled, “The Harmony of Music and Cinema: A Template”.

It was well received and immensely popular with the filmmakers and educators in attendance. The free seminar was put on by BIFF executive director Leo Sears. It was the 11th annual film festival and had the biggest attendance yet. “You don’t mind taking in a quick tutorial in this outstanding setting,” said Sears. Sears was a former educator in theatrical studies.

Rolak also spoke on taking advantage of IRS Code Section-181. “This is an important piece to entice angels and investors to your projects. Indies and shorts can take advantage of this financial vehicle also,” added Rolak. He added some comedy with the showcasing of old clips from Hawaii 5-0 and Magnum P. I. “I can’t forget to mention Jay Penske and the publishing empire he is developing in New York; I will see his father Roger (Penske) in the pits or a hospitalitychalet at the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. He really has rekindled that franchise.”

Workshop participant Eli Hershko from Brooklyn, N.Y. said, “As far as I am concerned, this was a valuable piece of coming to Hawaii. It made the trip worthwhile. It was real added-value to the film festival. I learned more about the process of product placement so that I am going to do a sequel. Hershko wrote, produced and directed the picture “The Closer”. It was a full feature indie, shot in Brooklyn. It was the tale of betrayal and greed among friends and it won the best feature prize at the Big Island Film Festival.


Bellamy Young and Leo Sears

Sears has bigger plans for the BIFF. “As we are an important brand in the film festival circuit, we now get better entries and with better films we can expect bigger audiences,” added Sears. The BIFF approached 3,000 in total attendance. Hollywood celebrities Bellamy Young “Scandal” and John Gross “Family Ties” mingled with guests and filmmakers at the receptions that were part of the loaded itinerary. “This is my second Big Island Film Festival,” said Gross. “They are just getting better and better and the hospitability is superb.” A unique serendipity came out at the Q & A hosted by Peter Caranicas of Variety Magazine. Young, Gross and Caranicas all graduated from Yale. They added their favorite anecdotes about New Haven, Connecticut life and their unique hiding places they each discovered in classic Vanderbilt Hall.


BIIFF-Under the stars

Young’s TV credits include CBS’ long-running series “Criminal Minds,” “CSI: Miami,” “Scrubs,” and the long-running NBC soap opera, “Another World.” A talented singer, her debut album Far Away So Close is a collection of contemporary songs influenced by her North Carolina roots. Young was presented with the prestigious 2016 Golden Honu Award, a staple honor ceremony at the Big Island Film Festival. Television consultant Jen Grisanti gave another workshop titled, “Telling and Selling Your Story”. Also, a seminar on screenwriting mistakes, presented by writer-producer Ron Osborn concluded the tutorial schedule.