Winter Institute for Black Studies

Holding Fast The Dream was featured at the Third Biennial Winter Institute for Black Studies in January 2009.

The conference included scholars from around the nation examining the theme, The “Alternative” African Diaspora–a topic appropriate for the film’s focus on little-known Black communities that have emerged and thrived.

A 22-minute sample work of the film was presented, and was received enthusiastically from conference attendees. We’re grateful to Dr. Elisa Joy White, conference organizer, for the opportunity to bring Holding Fast The Dream to an important audience.

Why This Film: Barack Obama Explains

Senator Barack Obama kicked off his stay in Hawai‘i on August 8 with a public event at Keehi Lagoon Beach Park in Honolulu. In his remarks, he explained what Hawai‘i has given to him as he campaigns for President–an explanation that aptly describes the reason why we’re producing Holding Fast The Dream.

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Production Nears Completion

Fumiko Wellington & Azure McCall

Principal photography on Holding Fast The Dream is nearly complete, after a two-day shoot on Oahu and the Big Island of Hawai‘i in June.

Among the subjects: Honolulu Symphony violinist Fumiko Wellington, and jazz icon Azure McCall, who are pictured above. They are part of the the film’s treatment of African Americans in arts and culture in Hawai‘i–participation which extends back more than 150 years to the formation of the Royal Hawaiian Band.

Ms. McCall was featured in performance at the Queen’s Marketplace in Waikoloa; she recently wrapped up a four-year gig at the Malolo Lounge in the Hilton Waikoloa Beach Resort.

Thanks to both Ms. Wellington and Ms. McCall, and to Hamakua entrepreneur Gwendolyn Hill, for their cooperation and assistance with the film and our latest production shoot!

(Now comes the difficult and expensive task of putting the film together. Your support is greatly appreciated; make a secure online donation here.)

Alice Ball honored by U.H.

The young African American researcher who pioneered the first effective treatment for Hansen’s Disease–but received little credit for it–was honored by the University of Hawai‘i almost ninety years after her death.

Miles Jackson hosts UH event for Alice Ball

Alice Ball was awarded the Regents’ Medal of Distinction for her achievements in a ceremony emceed by U.H. Dean Emeritus Miles M. Jackson, pictured here at the podium beside a portrait of Ms. Ball. The medal was formally presented by Allan R. Landon, Chair of the University’s Board of Regents.

Dr. Jackson also serves as co-producer of Holding Fast The Dream.

The ceremony took place on April 14 and also featured U.H. professor Kathryn Takara, who serves as a consultant to the film.

The announcement from the University notes:

The Regents’ Medal of Distinction is presented to individuals of exceptional accomplishment and distinction who have made significant contributions to the university, state, region or nation or within their field of endeavor.

U.H.-Manoa Colloquium Features “Holding Fast The Dream”

Holding Fast The Dream was the featured centerpiece of February’s Women’s Studies Colloquium Series at the University of Hawai‘i-Manoa. Producer and U.H. Dean Emeritus Miles Jackson and U.H. faculty members Kathryn Takara and Elisa Joy White discussed the history and issues of Hawai‘i’s African American community with a focus on the role and achievements of women.

Special preview excerpts of footage from the film were presented, featuring both Takara and White, along with Honolulu Advertiser Managing Editor Marsha McFadden, community activist Faye Kennedy, retired teacher Gwen Johnson, and recently arrived Honolulu resident Denise Boyce.

Our thanks to Women’s Studies and Ethnic Studies at the University for spotlighting the film and its participants as part of this continuing series.