Filmmaker’s Statement

“Shaka, A Story of Aloha” started as a passing curiosity. Then a friend introduced me to Kupuna (elders) in La‘ie who told me a story on the origin of the Shaka. It turns out that much of the story hs been kept a secret for over a century. But given advancing age and a generation that consumes stories via digital media, they asked me to share their story.

So in May 2019, I took a film crew to La’ie to capture oral testimony of the Kupuna. My only intent at the time was to preserve oral history to donate to the Bishop Museum for others to tell the stories of Hawai’i. As part of the packaging process, I wrote a summary of the content which got noticed in a chance meeting with Kamehameha Schools. KS said the story needed to be told and that they would fund the project if I agreed to do it. I agreed with one condition: that KS provide cultural experts to help ensure that the project was accomplished with sensitivity and accuracy.

Once in production, alternative origin stories came to light. We decided to present all credible findings and let audiences decide for themselves which version they liked best. The film became a global journey from Japan’s temples to Brazil’s waves to Hawaii’s white sandy beaches, as a quest to unravel the mystery of the Shaka gesture. Through the project, we discovered why it ignites pride in train-jumpers, surfers, and everyday adventurers alike. We also explore the Shakaʻs origins, meanings, and in the end, how it holds the key to creating and preserving paradise.”

While we started with education in mind, public interest in the story has pushed demand for public release, thus weʻre hopeful that a streaming service will find the subject universal enough to help us share the story with the public at large. As a now “Shaka Expert,” I know this story is relevant to a world in need of hope, inspiration, happiness and peace. Iʻm honored to have been entrusted with this story and hope that you’ll enjoy and use the Shaka to make the world a better place.

Steve Sue, Shaka Film Producer

Steve Sue, Producer/Writer “Shaka, A Story of Aloha” For more, see SteveSue.com »

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