Movie review: ‘One Voice’ takes it all

By Kiana Kamalu, Op-Ed Editor

One Voice, a documentary film about preparing for the 2008 Kamehameha Schools Song Contest, took the competition to another level when the movie hit theaters Friday, August 26.

Showing the year-long preparations for the single night competition, the film reveals to the public the heart, sweat and soul poured into every performance.

When most people hear ‘documentary,’ they cringe and groan, but fear not the documentary this time. One Voice brought emotion to the audience with its humor, sorrow, frustration, and excitement. I took in every minute of it with glee (excuse the pun).

The film crew of One Voice spent a year with the school and got the back story to this huge annual event, which is unlike any other scholastic competition. They followed each class of the Kamehameha Schools Kapalama high school and the classes’ song directors on the road to this annual tradition.

The documentary shows where the competition starts, with classes choosing their song directors. It shows that the directors have a rigorous job, and they put in hours of practice to make sure they have their techniques down to a tee.

There is a ton of pressure put on the song directors because they are one of the major pieces to winning the song contest, including the pressure of the best song director award.

It all adds up, and after months of practices, it all comes down to one night and ‘one voice.’

Personally, I found the movie interesting because it is so different from the Maui campus’s ‘Aha Mele, an annual song fest. At the Maui campus, you get one song director, one song, and one award (a ribbon in your class color tied around ka maka o ka ‘ihe), and the Kapālama campus has three songs (per class, except for the freshmen), ten song directors, and more awards.

 The film not only captured the contest itself, but director Lisette Flanary also incorporated the Hawaiian culture and how it has changed from the past.

The documentary made it’s debut at the Hawai’i International Film Festival in October of 2010.

 On Maui, it is currently playing at Consolidated Theaters Kaahumanu 6 on a limited-release, two-week run, which ends on  Thursday, August 8.

The movie is definitely worth the $9.50. I award it the Best Documentary I Have Ever Seen award.

Any Kapalama campus alumnus will be sure to relate to not only the drama and angst, but to the spirit of aloha and lokahi as well, which, after the speeches are said and trophies are given out, is really what it’s all about.