Our Islands, Our Future

Recently, Hawaii’s Brian Kohne, an award-winning music producer and independent motion picture writer, director, and producer of the movies Kuleana and Get a Job, was the guest speaker at Maui TechOhana. Presented by Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) with the support of the County of Maui, Kohne talked story at the virtual meeting.

“The arts can be a key ally in the preservation and evolution of Hawaiian values and culture,” said Frank De Rego, Jr., Director of Business Development Projects for MEDB. “This is evidenced by Kohne’s work,”

Kohne noted, “I hope the attendees gained a greater sense of our interconnected industries: the arts, media, and motion pictures. That in order to build a thriving, sustainable industry here on Maui, we must place equal emphasis on infrastructure, workforce development, and education.”

Kohne returned to Maui in 2005 from Silicon Valley, having excelled as a national director of sales and marketing in corporate video production and sports broadcasting, as well as a senior user-interface architect for an interactive television corporation. Presently, Kohne is principal of Hawaii Cinema Inc., and director of the Academy for Creative Media at University of Hawaii Maui College.

“During Maui TechOhana, I illuminated a few projects we were able to successfully complete , and how the state tax incentives were essential, as was the support of our local community,” Kohne recalled. “I also talked about the Academy for Creative Media, a multi-media school I have built in recent years that is beginning to thrive. We offer degrees in filmmaking, graphic design, creative media, and, coming soon, animation. Island creatives no longer need to leave the island to receive high level educational opportunities in media.”

Speaking about opportunities on Maui, Kohne added, “once the pandemic is no longer a major governing issue, producers and studios will return to business as usual in chasing the ripest tax and financial incentives in determining where they will spend their time and money. So, we must continue to invest resources to support and grow an industry from within. Hawaii residents must originate viable productions in order to truly enjoy the benefits of the arts, media, and motion picture industries.”

Kohne shared his unique experiences in film and music along with his efforts to build the creative industries sector of our local economy.

Frank De Rego, Jr., Director of Business Development Projects, MEDB