Last Hawiian SugarDirected by Dèjá Cresencia Bernhardt
Cast: Fiona Vaifale, Moses Goods, Sisa Grey Ui
Last Hawaiian Sugar is a short drama set on the final remaining sugar cane plantation camp on Maui. NUA, twelve years-old, Samoan, identifies with the world through her intensely spiritual connection she has with the land. She is the product of this immigrant camp that ‘Big Sugar’ brought here to work these fields. On the very day Nua learns the mill is closing she struggles to tell her mother about the abuse she suffers. When her mother isn’t able to hear her cries for help Nua resolves to sabotage the final sugarcane burn as she prepares to say goodbye to the only home she’s ever known. Nua’s story is a metaphor for what’s happened to the land due to industrialized farming, a rare look into the final days of commercial sugar production in Hawai’i and the complicated relationship the islands have with it. Last Hawaiian Sugar is a contemporary story reckoning a deep Hawaiian history. HC&S produced its final harvest in 2016. This mill, on Maui, was permanently closed soon after and the last employees of the Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. were laid off.
This series of films and conversations is a collaboration with our National Multicultural Alliance (NMCA) partner, Pacific Islanders…
These tales from the Pacific dive deep into our relationship with land, culture, and mythology: a Samoan girl reconciles her spiritual connection to the sugar plantation her family works on, a Chamoru Master blacksmith seeks a place for his craft in the modern world, a desperate young woman takes on a mysterious job retrieving sacred stones, and scientists urgently attempt to save Hawaiian snails as they face imminent extinction.