With White Lotus Big Gains, Film Industry Director Says Hawaii ‘Leading the Way’

HONOLULU (Hawaii News Now) – The film industry in Hawaii has a lot to celebrate these days.

Filmed entirely on Maui, The White Lotus recently won 10 Emmy Awards and earned an International Site Directors Guild nomination for an Outstanding Film Commission.

“I think Hawaii has proven, immeasurably, that we are ready, willing and able to compete with the rest of the world,” said Don Dawson, the state’s film commissioner.

Dawson said the HBO Limited series already set standards for filming during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, when basically everything was shut down.

During the filming of The White Lotus, which took place at the Four Seasons Resort Maui in Wailea, a production bubble was created primarily to keep the cast and crew safe.

The country has also set up a quarantine program for film production that requires very strict protocols.

β€œWhat is really interesting is that the film industry is leading the way in terms of being the safest and most forward thinking about best practices,” Dawson said. “And the movie industry was only able to reopen after the movie industry was able to come up with these very strict protocols, because like everything else, they were shut down during the worst part of the pandemic.”

Dawson said it’s interesting to see even other companies look to the film industry on how to handle the pandemic.

But “The White Lotus” isn’t the only production celebrating it.

Even during the pandemic, Dawson said, Hawaii’s film industry has thrived with the successes of “Doogie Kamealoha, MD,” “NCIS: Hawaii,” and “Magnum, PI.”

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There is more to come.

Filmed on the island of Hawaii, “The Wind and Reckoning” is set to make its world debut at the Boston Film Festival this weekend.

And Jason Momoa’s new Apple TV+ limited series “Chief of War” is on the way.

“I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that it’s really one of the most important industries in the state right now,” Dawson said. “The film industry has demonstrated that, in a very short period of time, we can make decisions based on safe places to direct hundreds of millions of dollars of production to that region.”

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