We’ve highlighted the work of nonfiction filmmaker Anthony Banua-Simon before, notably 2018’s compilation documentary short Pure Flix and Chill: The David A.R. White Story. Banua-Simon’s debut feature, Cane Fire, was set to make its world premiere at this year’s Hot Docs, and still will in its online edition. A mixture of personal and archival material, refracted through both personal and national history, informs Cane Fire. From the press kit:
The Hawaiian island of Kauai is seen as a paradise of leisure and pristine natural beauty, but these escapist fantasies obscure the colonial displacement, hyper-exploitation of workers, and destructive environmental extraction that have actually shaped life on the island for the last 250 years. Cane Fire critically examines the island’s history—and the various strategies by which Hollywood has represented it—through four generations of director Anthony Banua-Simon’s family, who first immigrated to Kauai from the Phillipines to work on the sugar plantations. Assembled from a diverse array of sources—from Banua-Simon’s observational footage, to amateur YouTube travelogues, to epic Hollywood dance sequences—Cane Fire offers a kaleidoscopic portrait of the economic and cultural forces that have cast indigenous and working-class residents as “extras” in their own story.
The film is available to stream from Hot Docs starting May 28th (click here to learn more), but note that that option only applies to residents of Ontario. We’re happy to premiere the festival trailer in advance of Cane Fire‘s online launch.