Olelo Community Media

PBN Top Stories

Congratulations to ʻŌlelo producer Dr. Eva Washburn-Repollo of Chaminade University, who recently won a $100,000 grant to fund a summer program meant to increase Hawaiʻi’s capacity in Filipino culture-based education in K-12 classrooms.

Dr. Washburn-Repollo is an Associate Professor in the Communication Department at Chaminade University. Her ʻŌlelo journey began in 2013 with a multi-faceted series entitled “Ko Makou, Ko Makou Kula (Our Home, Our School) Hawaiian Learning and Culture at Chaminade.” Funded by The Council of Independent Colleges/Walmart Success Awards, Eva was tasked to create documentaries designed to enrich the curriculum of Chaminade University through an understanding of Pacific Island cultures. The project expanded to include documentaries for students and parents of Samoa and Micronesia.

Additionally, she wrote and produced ATONG GITUKOD: We Built It, a powerful story showcasing the donation of 40 homes in Bohol and Leyte through the Congress of Visayan Organizations and the Hawaiʻi Community.

Today, Dr. Washburn-Repollo is hard at work producing her ʻŌlelo series Sugilanon: Stories from Different Places. 

SUGILANON is a Visayan word from the Philippines that means “story”. Inside the word is the word SUGILON – to tell, to report, to whisper, to let someone know. Those who tell these stories are tasked with a sacred trust: that others should be told about what happened, or else. They are like secrets that are ready to be told.

Through ʻŌlelo, Dr. Washburn-Repollo has adopted a flexible storytelling style, allowing her to understand the value of collaborating with other artists. She states, “Just knowing that there is a place for the community to share their projects with open arms, with a sense of freedom, gave me a way to have my work viewed by the public especially in a medium where financial support is guaranteed to help artists achieve more.”

Sugilanon: Stories from Different Places airs every 2nd Saturday at 6:00 PM and Thursdays at 4:30 PM on on ʻŌlelo 53. You can also watch it on ʻŌlelo’s on demand service OleloNet as well as on ʻŌlelo’s mobile app.

For more information about Dr. Washburn-Repollo’s grant, CLICK HERE.

For the past two and a half decades, Nina Nguyễn Castagnetti has been working tirelessly and independently on a weekly television series called VN-TV, a program connecting people of the Vietnamese community in Hawai’i. In 2022, VN-TV will be celebrating its 25th anniversary. ʻŌlelo’s Community Services Manager Donna Ylen, who supervises the Māpunapuna Media Center where Nina frequents, sat down with Nina to get a sense of her past and her ambitions for the future.  

Nina has always had the itch to volunteer, ever since she was young. She immediately jumped on the opportunity to sign up as a volunteer producer when she discovered ʻŌlelo and the possibilities it offered her. As an ʻŌlelo producer, Nina was empowered to take training (back then, shows were recorded on tape and edited on linear machines) and establish her own weekly series.  

According to Nina, the Vietnamese community in Hawaiʻi is very small and is made up of refugees or direct descendants of refugees who have escaped from the communist invasion of 1975. It has been a long journey for Nina and her drive to share her community’s voice with the rest of our island state. 25 years ago, Hawaiʻi was exposed to truly little Vietnamese-centric media. VN-TV’s very existence is a miracle to some degree.  

Nina also has a full-time job as a Vietnamese interpreter for Helping Hands Hawaiʻi, a service she has been executing since 1988. This job has allowed her to assimilate into the local culture. She found new ways to utilize the English language and she applies what she learns to the production of her show. 

As with all other ‘Ōlelo producers, this role is completely voluntary. Nina receives no monetary compensation for all the hours she puts into shooting and editing VN-TV. So, it comes to no surprise that throughout her journey, she has been met with disdain from other members of her community, pointing out that the effort just is not worth it.  

However, none of it phases Nina. She believes that the ability to produce and air a non-commercial television series free of censorship is an invaluable freedom. She enjoys spending her leisure time building the community up, reshaping the mindsets and unlocking the power of younger generations who belong to the Vietnamese community.  

“I don’t do it for fame or money,” Nina tells Donna. “I do it because it’s necessary for my people.” As of the date of their interview, Nina has produced 757 episodes of VN-TV and does not plan to slow down any time soon.  

VN-TV airs Tuesdays at 7:30 PM and Wednesdays at 4:00 PM on ʻŌlelo channel 53. You can also watch it on ʻŌlelo’s on demand service OleloNet as well as on ʻŌlelo’s mobile app.

Written by Dane Neves, Communications Specialist, ʻŌlelo Community Media


We love it when Youth Xchange student filmmakers go on to great things. Congratulations to Nanea Ah You of Kamehameha Schools Maui whose video won this year’s Creating Peace category (High School division), on this awesome award. Read the original article here.

Kamehameha Schools Maui senior’s storytelling lands her free tuition at UH-Manoa

Nanea Ah You.
Nanea Ah You.(Kamehameha Schools Maui)
Published: May. 23, 2022 at 10:13 PM HST|Updated: 13 hours ago
PUKALANI (HawaiiNewsNow) – Nanea Ah You, 18, has been named Kamehameha Schools Maui’s salutatorian this year.

The honor is just one of her many accomplishments so far.

Ah You wants to be a filmmaker when she grows up.

She has been fascinated with visual storytelling for as long as she can remember.

Nanea and her parents thought they were doing an interview with Hawaii News Now for an award she recently won in Olelo Community Media’s Youth Xchange Student Video Competition. However, during the interview, they learned that she won another award – the “Take Me to Manoa” contest – one full year of free tuition to the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

“Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Thank you!” Nanea said.

Nanea said she always wanted to be a rainbow warrior.

Video documentation of live performances has always had a stigma, to some, as being derivative and alienating. However, in defense of the “filmed play,” it is far from artless. It is an amalgamation of filmic language (pans, close-ups, fades) and the real, retaining a bit of the magic of the live theatre experience. Although not as effective as experiencing the performance live and in-person, the advent of digital technology allows us to create sources of documentation useful for artists, scholars, and the community. It also has an extraordinary reach, offering viewers from anywhere in the world – viewers who do not have the luxury of physically attending – the best seat in the house.

In recent months, ʻŌlelo Community Media has had the honor of recording a handful of local theatrical performances through our Executive Productions service.  

Our first venture into this initiative was in the summer of 2021. Hawaiʻi Shakespeare Festival and Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives presented Henry IV, Part One featuring an all-female cast of incredible local actresses. The show was simultaneously aired on ʻŌlelo’s television channels and streamed on the mobile app and Facebook. Viewers who tuned in called it “Powerful stuff,” and a “Wonderful production! Congratulations to the performers, set designers, and camera crew.” 

The Conversion of Ka’ahumanu, a legacy play written by Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl, was revived for Kumu Kahua Theatre’s 51st season. It is the gripping tale of three Hawaiian women and two missionary women as they experience personal and cultural changes in response to Western contact in Hawaiʻi. Who You Again?, a new play written by Ryan Okinaka about a family struggling to care for their matriarch as dementia slowly steals her memories away, received glowing reviews and an extended run at Kumu Kahua. Both stories are essential to cultural education and ʻŌlelo was there to document it. 

Pictured: Production Services Specialist Scott Nordquist and Engagement Specialist Alex Miyamoto brief the cast of The Conversion of Ka’ahumanu prior to shooting their performance.

In the early months of 2022, Eden Lee Murray, a versed stage actress and theatre educator at La Pietra – Hawaiʻi School for Girls, was rehearsing her students (grades 6-12) for a production of William Shakespeare’s As You Like It. During this time, COVID numbers on Oʻahu were creeping up, which was cause for concern for Murray and the school administration. The decision was made to cancel the show but have ʻŌlelo record an audience-less performance. 

ʻŌlelo’s Production Manager Kekoa Graham and Production Services Specialist Scott Nordquist have extensive theatre backgrounds. Ms. Murray admittedly felt a bit of nervousness when the gentlemen sat in on the show’s tech rehearsal but was instantly relieved when she noticed the two wholeheartedly enjoying themselves and praising her students’ acting. “How did these kids get to this level?” Graham and Scott inquired, solidifying the importance of getting As You Like It captured on video. 

You can view La Pietra’s production of William Shakespeare’s As You Like It HERE.

Pictured: A cast photo of La Pietra’s production of William Shakespeare’s As You Like It.

At the end of the day, Ms. Murray told her students that, with this recording, “you are going to reach more people than you ever would have with three live performances.” Indeed, she was right as the recording has so far reached viewers in Italy, Japan, Canada, and throughout the United States. And although the students did not get to experience the glory of an audience’s applause, they at least have an exemplary piece of media that they can use for their acting reels.  

“The opportunity to partner with these theatre companies has really been a highlight of my time here with ʻŌlelo,” Scott Nordquist says. “The creative place and storytelling that they focus on is something that is lacking on our network. The courage and beauty of these stories and performances enlighten us all to the power, the joy, the sorrow, the fragility of the human condition. It has been a pleasure to be a part of and I hope it continues.” 

Written by Dane Neves – Communications Specialist, ʻŌlelo Community Media

UPDATE: The ʻŌlelo channel 53 signal is back on-air on Spectrum Cable as of 3:30pm today, May 16, 2022.


ʻŌlelo channel 53 is currently down on Spectrum Cable ONLY. You can continue to watch ʻŌLELO53 on Hawaiian Telcom Channel 53 or 1053(HD), olelo.org, and on our mobile app. This will be updated when more info becomes available.

ʻŌlelo Community Media presented our first annual YXC Media Teacher Award, powered by Alaska Airlines. The honor was introduced this year as a “people’s choice” award determined by a combination of votes from students, family, teachers, and school administrators; along with impact statements provided in support of teachers.

Alaska Airlines, a company dedicated to lifting people up, proudly sponsored the Media Teacher Award in recognition of the importance of media literacy in the education of today’s keiki. The teacher with the most votes and the most impactful stories wins a round trip for 2 to any destination served by Alaska Airlines and was be recognized on this year’s live broadcast of the Youth Xchange Awards Wednesday, April 20, 2022.

The winner of ʻŌlelo’s YXC Media Teacher Award as voted by her students and the community at large was Norma Gonzalez, Moanalua Elementary School.

Pictured: Norma Gonzalez with Daniel Chun, Alaska Airlines Sales, Community & Public Relations Director – Hawai‘i.

Here are some of the community’s comments submitted with their votes:

No one is more deserving of this honor Than Mrs. G (as she is known to her students). For as long as I have known her, she has always been passionate about teaching and technology. When the opportunity came to be the tech teacher at Moanalua Elementary, she jumped right in. She found ways to excite the students about technology in school, and beyond the computer games. Her passion for technology was shared with her students. You will often see students after school or with her during recess working on assignments that are beyond the books and paper, but with equipment such as a camera, computer, and microphone. Their final products are then shared with the school. And let me tell you, we always look forward to watching the MES news. She has committed several hours of personal time to help her students excel in their technology assignments, and what better way to show her our appreciation than to award her with this prestigious honor.


Norma doesn’t just teach kids at school. She leads them on a lifelong path by giving them skills and common sense along with their education. She seeks out strengths in each student and builds in the weaknesses. Norma allows students to grow together helping each other and bring creative. She is a mindful guardian of all those young souls and helps them exceed their own expectations while working with parents, colleagues, and the community.


Dedicated ~ Knowledgeable ~ Inspiring ~ Innovative Norma is an exceptional and motivational instructor. Every day she encourages students, and meets them where they are, by assessing their needs and strengths. Ms. Gonzalez is loved and appreciated by students, parents, and other staff. She is supportive of staff and freely lends her knowledge and expertise to help colleagues as they learn how to navigate the new media tools.


Mrs. G consistently goes out of her way to create meaningful, educational, engaging, and fun learning opportunities and projects for her students. She gives of her own time above and beyond the scheduled after school class sessions. The encouragement and active participation she gives throughout each project creates a wonderful space for her students to explore their ideas and learn through their experiences.


Mrs. G is an inspiration to my daughter and all her students regarding media. She has instilled a love for broadcast media, animation, and video editing with my daughter so much that she wants to be a video editor as her professional career goal. She motivates and encourages her media students and always supports them for all their troubles and needs and successes. Moanalua Elementary has the best elementary media teacher in Hawaii!


I think that Ms. Gonzalez will win YXC Media Teacher award because she is our best tech teacher that helped us with our videos and other tech stuff that we do and coding also.

Ms. Gonzalez was recently featured on Hawaiʻi Public Radio to discuss her award. Listen to the feature HERE.

Relive Ms. Gonzalez’s win at the 19th annual Youth Xchange awards banquet held on April 20, 2022:

We would also like to recognize two second and third place finalists from Middle and High School divisions.  These finalists received Sony HD video camcorders to take back to their classrooms. 

  • Lori Ann Koyama, Lahaina Intermediate School 
  • Tanya Misi, Henry J. Kaiser High School 


Pictured: Norma Gonzalez and the students of Moanalua Elementary School.

We are excited to announce ʻŌlelo Community Media has won the Entertainment & Arts Single Episode (Access Center – Professional) from the Alliance for Community Media Foundation’s Hometown Media Awards program! We received this honor for our piece, Silver Linings, an insightful and compelling story from educators, administrators, students and community members having to adapt and adopt innovative ways to continue educational journeys during the pandemic.


View the program here:

Fresh off the 2022 Alliance for Community Media (ACM) West Region Conference, ʻŌlelo took home a number of honors at the W.A.V.E. (Western Access Video Excellence) Awards. Each ʻŌlelo entry winningly demonstrated the PEG Access mission by empowering community voices through meaningful and powerful media making. Watch them (links below) to see what the judges consider award-winning.

DOCUMENTARY (Professional) – “Silver Linings (Part One)”

Produced by ‘Ōlelo Community Media and The Pacific American Foundation, Silver Linings is the compelling story of educators, students community leaders and families having to adapt and adopt innovative ways to navigate their educational journeys during the pandemic. Through the trials and tribulations of that challenging time, their stories bring to light an exciting path for the future built on “one success, one school, one student, and one family at a time.”

Featuring: Ke Kula Kaiapuni o Pūʻōhala, Mālama Honua Public Charter School, Waikalua Loko Iʻa – fishpond, Blanche Pope Elementary School, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa



TALK SHOW (Professional) – “Island Focus: Downtown Arts Center

‘Ōlelo produces Island Focus, a bi-monthly half-hour series now in its 5th season and soon to hit its 100th show.  As a community service, crew film exclusive interviews with members of our government, business, education, and community sectors and talk about their passions, and what impact they’ve made. “We focus on the personalities behind the organizations and agencies that keep Oʻahu moving,” says host Lyla Berg. “And highlight the passion and influence of these people and places that inspire, inform and impact our everyday lives, that’s Island Focus.”

This winning program was recorded at Downtown Art Center and features:

  • Hawaiʻi Theatre Center President & CEO Gregory D. Dunn
  • Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaiʻi President Russell J. Lau
  • Hawaiʻi Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director Tony Pisculli

Island Focus premieres on ‘Ōlelo Channel 53, first and third Wednesday of every month at 6:30 pm, and Sundays at 4:30pm.  All shows are on ‘Ōlelo VOD Channel 52, ‘ŌleloNet, YouTube, and ‘Ōlelo’s mobile app.


PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT (Community Producer) – “Hawaiʻinulakea School of Hawaiian Knowledge

Produced by Hawai’inulakea School of Hawaiian Knowledge via ʻŌlelo’s Giving Voice, PSAs for NPOs service, this powerful PSA was a result of outreach to the organization at a time when they needed to get an important message out to their community.  Georgette Stevens, ʻŌlelo’s Outreach Manager, is delighted “to empower these wonderful organizations to share their stories about the services they provide.”



In addition (excitedly!!!), our awesome ʻŌlelo Members were awarded the following:

NARRATIVE FILM – SHORT OR FEATURE (Community Producer) – “Boy” Edo Natasha, Dwi Goolsby, Joseph Agudo

Other entries that made the FINALISTS list included …

Mele Aʻe – Ella Malarkey, Makaʻala Perry, Trishnālei

Fortune Teller

‘Ōlelo Community Media has been a long-time member of the Alliance for Community Media (ACM), a national network of TV and radio stations and PEG (Public, Education, and Government) access advocates whose mission is to promote free speech and greater civic engagement through community media. The ACM West Region represents hundreds of local affiliate stations from six different states. (http://www.allcommunitymedia.org/about-us)

Pictured from left to right: Senior Manager Neal Rivera, Production Manager Kekoa Graham, President & CEO Roger McKeague, and Chief Administrative Officer Amy Ejercito holding up the winning plaques. 

Fond Farewell: First Friday sees its last show on Public Access March 11

Public access’ longest running series, “First Friday”, signed off for the last time on Friday, March 11. The show was founded in 1986 by Haunani-Kay Trask who also produced and hosted. Sometimes called “The unauthorized news”, the monthly talk show has been a convener of voice for Kānaka Maoli on Public Access Television for over 35 years, communicating with and educating viewers on the rights and future of indigenous peoples.

Before the internet and podcasts, an all-volunteer crew would come to ʻŌlelo’s studios to film the monthly talk show. Back then, it would take a crew of 8 to prep and light the set, operate three studio cameras, and switch and direct. Volunteers did it all… LIVE to television. With a variety of guests over the years, First Friday gave a much-needed pulpit to many influential leaders addressing important issues in the Hawaiian community.

“In the very early days First Friday was plugged-in to our political and cultural issues. Haunani and David Stannard informed us with their keen and deep analysis. Then Mililani took the helm and for years uncovered misdeeds and directly addressed issues that negatively impacted Kānaka Maoli or all people of Hawaiʻi. Her legal mind informed the viewers, every First Friday, and dissected the critical issues that caused us to be alert and move to action. This kind of brilliance will be missed. Mahalo nui to ʻŌlelo TV and the First Friday gang for what you have done for Hawaiians and the people of Hawaiʻi.” – Lehuakona Isaacs, Executive Director, ʻAhahui Mālama i ka Lōkahi

There were lots of firsts for First Friday. It was the first Live program on Oʻahu to be spoken in Hawaiian. It was one of the first shows to have a call-in component at ʻŌlelo, and it was one of the first to openly, consistently, and candidly discuss controversial topics affecting Hawaiians.

The final show on March 11th at 7:00pm is a tribute to the show’s creator, Haunani.  A woman of firsts herself, Haunani was a founding member of the UH Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies. She co-wrote and co-produced the award-winning 1993 documentary Act of War: The Overthrow of the Hawaiian Nation, and was the co-founder of the largest Hawaiian Sovereignty organization, Ka Lāhui Hawai’i. On the final program, Mililani Trask is joined by Manu Kaʻiama and Kahunawaikaʻala Wright to discuss her sister’s legacy and to say farewell.

ʻŌlelo sends the dedicated producers and crew of First Friday a huge mahalo and fond aloha for empowering voices for over 35 years. To view the final show, CLICK HERE or tune in on the following dates:

First Friday: Honoring the Life & Accomplishments of Dr. Haunani-Kay Trask

3/11/2022 7:00 PM OLELO53    LIVE
3/18/2022 7:00 PM OLELO53
3/19/2022 2:30 PM OLELO53
3/24/2022 8:00 AM OLELO53
3/25/2022 10:00 PM OLELO53


Written by Angela Angel, Chief Creative Officer, ʻŌlelo Community Media