The moving and inspirational has the distinction of being the first movie to sell out in this year's San Francisco Int'l Asian-American Film Festival -- and the buzz only got better once the SFIAAFF announced that local San Francisco hula troupe Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu would perform before the screening. We met up with SFist Jim at the AMC 1000 lobby, and he took the gorgeous picture above. (We took some pictures too, but the place was so crowded and we're so short we had a hard time seeing anything. Also, Jim is a much better photographer than we are.)
The theater was filled with aloha spirit and Hawaiian-print shirts, and the line for rush tickets was around the building by 5:30 p.m. (for a 7 p.m. screening). We've never seen one of those huge theaters in the AMC 1000 filled for a documentary before! Before the movie screened, they did a show of hands, and it looked like maybe one-fourth of the ticket holders were hula dancers themselves.
Na Kamalei is the second in a three-part documentary series that director Lisette Flanary is filming about hula dancing, and this one focuses on an all male hula troupe in Honolulu. The troupe director (hulu kumu), Robert Cazimero, is a legend in the Hawaiian music scene, and the movie focuses on his troupe Halau Na Kamalei's 2005 training and performance for the top hula dancing competition in the world, the Merrie Monarch Festival for their 30th anniversary.
Male friendship, Hawaiian pride, and the thrill of competition, after the jump -- along with more pictures of Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu.Na Kamalei