Finding 'Ohana Is Now On Netflix

Now you have another reason to look forward to Friday because Finding 'Ohana premieres today on Netflix!  We were able to screen this movie and interview the cast and the whole family thought it was so good.  It is full of adventure, laughter, comedy and love.  The entire family will enjoy it.  Check it out on Netflix now.

Geocache champion Pilialoha “Pili” Kawena, is abruptly lifted from her busy New York life and dropped into rural O‘ahu to help care for her grandfather. Initially skeptical about her new surroundings, Pili finds a cryptic pirate’s journal in her Papa’s studio hinting at a 200-year-old shipwrecked treasure hidden away in the island's caves and mountains. With her older brother and new friends in tow, she uses her clue solving skills to lead them on an adventure of a lifetime through the natural wonders of Hawaii. As she learns to respect and love her native culture, she also discovers not all secrets should be shared and that the real treasure in life is her 'ohana (family)!  This movie was so good.  We loved it from start to finish.  It reminded me and Blake of one of our favorite 80's movies, The Goonies, and the actor who played Data even makes an appearance!  It is a must watch for the entire family.  It will also make you want to jump on a plane to Hawaii tomorrow.

The cast is amazing and includes Kea Peahu, Alex Aiono, Lindsay Watson, Owen Vaccaro, with Kelly Hu and Branscombe Richmond, Ke Huy Quan, Brad Kalilimoku, Chris Parnell, Marc Evan Jackson, Ricky Garcia and more.

We were so honored to be able to screen the movie recently and it was so good.  The entire family loved it.  Blake and I grew up watching The Goonies and it is one of our favorite movies.  Finding 'Ohana pays homage to The Goonies, so if you loved The Goonies growing up, you will love Finding 'Ohana.  We absolutely love Hawaii and visit Oahu yearly, so watching this movie made us miss Hawaii and it brought us back reminiscing of Oahu and our fond memories.  We loved how the movie was about friendship, family, teamwork, and that the treasure was not a thing, but family.

After screening the movie early we were able to interview the cast.  I was honored to be included in this virtual press junket and chat with the cast about Oahu and filming this wonderful movie.  Here are some fun facts that I learned about the cast and making Finding 'Ohana.

Here are 21 Fun Facts about Finding 'Ohana

1. Finding 'Ohana is Kea Peahu’s first feature film. Director Jude Weng had zero hesitation
casting the newcomer as the lead, “Kea is strong, spunky, fearless, authentic, sweet and
genuine, with a mischievous twinkle in her eye, every quality we were looking for in Pili.”

2. Instagram played a big part in Alex Aiono and Kea Peahu getting cast in the film. Casting
director Leslie Woo followed Alex’s (@alexaiono) and Kea’s (@keapeahuofficial) accounts
and told Weng “I could see them as brother and sister.”

3. Native trees were planted for every cast and crew member in lieu of the usual swag of shirts
and hats.

4. Dance is Kea’s other passion. She choreographed the short dance number shown in the end
credits. Kea and her dance team The Lab won Season 2 of World of Dance and went on tour
with JLo!

5. Ian Bryce, Producer, and Ke Huy Quan, who plays George Phan, worked together 37 years
ago on the set of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Ke Huy Quan was 12 years old at
the time, coincidentally, the same age Kea Peahu was while filming Finding ‘Ohana.

6. Native Hawaiian Lindsay Watson, who plays Hana, was raised on Maui. Her grandmother lived
two minutes down the road from their set.

7. Getting the Reframe Stamp was a proud achievement for the filmmakers since it recognizes
their commitment for gender-balanced production.

8. ‘Ohana, Aloha, Mahalo, were just a few of the 100+ Hawaiian words used in the film.

9. Hands down everyone’s favorite scene was when Pili meets her father Kua, played by Brad
Kalilimoku. It showcased the best of the teams’ set design, lighting, sound, effects, props, and
costumes. “When Kea looks in her father’s eyes and finally understands the true meaning of
love and family, that scene represents the heart of the film. Even after seeing it hundreds of
times Ian Bryce and I still cry,” says Weng.

10. Authenticity was paramount to the production team. They hired a Hawaiian consultant, a
Geocache consultant, a Night Marcher consultant, and a Tattoo consultant. They had a
traditional Hawaiian priest bless their sets and crews asking the spirits permission to film on
location. Weng says, “This is a movie that I want Hawaiians and Asian Pacific Islanders to look
at and say, ‘Wow. These people did their homework.’"

11. Not taking any chances with the prop and catering departments, Branscombe Richmond,
Kimo, brought his own special SPAM dish to the beach scene. “It was essential it was a real
Hawaiian dish all the way down to the Tupperware.”

Shh! Branscombe’s super secret SPAM recipe is:
1) Grill some onions and garlic with the thick sliced SPAM
2) Then add a little Furikake on it
3) Make fried rice and put it in the musubi mold
4) Put SPAM on top of fried rice
5) Wrap Nori all around it all
6) Last, put onion and garlic over it!!!

12. A surprise DNA result showed Weng was 20% Polynesian, not the 100% Chinese she was
raised to believe. This result made Finding ‘Ohana deeply personal - "It set me on a journey
similar to Pili and Ioane’s. I was discovering my own Asian Pacific Island heritage just like they
are rediscovering their Hawaiian culture and heritage.”

13. Owen Vaccaro, Casper, was the only young cast member with film experience. The more
seasoned actor gave his co-stars free advice, “First, don’t hog the chocolate at craft services.
Second, take the time you need to get in the moment for each shot.” It was his first time in
Hawaiʻi and he would like to give a shout out to the malasadas from Leonard’s Bakery.

14. No acting required! Alex Aiono’s mosquito slaps were real and made it into the final cut.
“Those bugs were real and big! I wasn’t acting.”

15. Netflix loved Christina Strain’s script which is an homage to The Goonies. “As a 90's Asian
American kid, I didn't have a lot of Asian American representation to look up to, but I had Ke
Huy Quan who played Data.  Goonies holds such a special place in my heart, I
wrote a Goonies-esque adventure movie starring mostly Datas. And now it's a real movie my
kids can watch, with Asian American and Pacific Islander heroes other AAPI kids can look up
to. I'm always going to be grateful to Netfllix for that.”

16. Easter eggs are everywhere. Weng dropped over a dozen 80’s-movie Easter eggs throughout
Finding ‘Ohana. The most obvious is when Pili steals Papa’s truck and straps cans of SPAM to
her feet to reach the pedals. This was a wink to the first time we see Short Round driving Dr.
Indiana Jones in Temple of Doom. And don’t blink or you’ll miss the Goonies reference on the
keychain George loans Papa.

17. Thailand was the location for most of the cave scenes. Hawaiian caves are “kapu” (forbidden)
because they are also known to be burial locations. Thailand’s caves had the diversity the
director of photography needed to capture the essence of true treasure hunting.

18. Finding ‘Ohana’s cast brought their musical gifts to set. Alex Aiono plays his own guitar and
sings in the film alongside Lindsay Watson and Owen Vacccaro. Branscombe Richmond also
taught cast members how to play the ukulele.

19. Leilani, Pili’s and Ioane’s mother, is played by Kelly Hu. Kelly is a native Hawaiian, former Miss
Hawaiʻi USA 1993, and attended Maʻemaʻe Elementary School and Kamehameha Schools
in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. She is also an avid poker player but says “I didn’t share any of my poker
skills with the cast. I wouldn’t want them to beat me at my own game. Lol!”

20. In Hawaiian legends, Night Marchers are ancient Hawaiian warriors. If you encounter a Night
Marcher, it’s advised not to interrupt them. It is also believed that you should never look at
them directly or you might meet your doom from a single deadly glance. If seen, remain quiet
with your eyes averted.

21. X marks the spot. Geocaching, the game Pili is playing at the beginning of the film, is an
international, outdoor, treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. There are
currently 3 million geocaches worldwide. The Geocaching ® app is the most popular way to

Thank you Netflix for the amazing package of goodies!

Finding 'Ohana premieres on Netflix on Friday, January 29th.

We love visiting O'ahu.  We try to visit at least once a year.  Click here for a blog post from our last trip in 2019 and it includes all of our favorite places to visit, things to see, and places to eat!

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