April 3, 2020
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The 2009 release of State of Aloha film marked the 50th Anniversary of Hawai’i Statehood and the 2019 educational release marks the 60th, and hopefully will encourage further discussion upon topics that are still relevant to Hawaiʻi’s future. Largely anchored by personal narratives, the motivating paths toward statehood are illuminated as well as the legacy left behind. Interviewees cover a representative span of the population in Hawaiʻi, including people from the political, cultural, business, academia communities as well as the person next door.

From the overthrow of Queen Liliʻuokalani and the annexation of Hawaiʻi to Statehood in 1959, the documentary highlights topics of the research that include a range of issues and historical events. Areas explored include immigration, the Massie case, WWII, the 442, and Japanese Internment, ILWU and the “threat” of Communist takeover, pursuit of parity, and the democratic revolution, in which a group at the bottom of the social/political/economic hierarchy rose to a prominent political/economic position through the electoral process, a rare step in international history. The current dialogue and controversy about the legitimacy and future of Hawaiʻi’s state status are addressed, culminating to the Question– What is the next step for Hawaiʻi?

From the Filmmaker

From 2004-2010, professionals, faculty, and students have worked on an Academy for Creative Media, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa research project on the topic of Hawaiʻi Statehood, which culminated in the production of the feature-length documentary, State of Aloha. Research delved into diverse areas of Hawaiian and international history that led to Hawaiʻi Statehood as well as to current topics of importance—Hawaiʻi’s viability and issues of interconnectedness with the U.S. mainland, federal government, and discussions of self-governance and sustainability.

I hope that this film can be a starting point of discussion, of generating dialogue within the community, as a call to action for each person to consider what the priorities are that need to be actively cared for in Hawaiʻi, and to be motivated to act to ensure them.

—Producer and Director Anne Misawa

HiHumanities is so pleased to be sharing a Community Discussion Guide and a Curriculum & Educator’s Guide curated by the producers of this important word. We hope you’ll take advantage of these resources in conjunction with the film. In 2009, State of Aloha raised issues and questions that continue to resonate with our community today, particularly in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic, which has brought into stark relief the ways in which our islands are both vulnerable and breathtakingly resilient.

You can also see the list of credits, which list the names of all everyone who worked so hard on this film.