LOS ANGELES ASIAN PACIFIC FILM FESTIVAL 2022 REVIEW! Every day in Kaimuki is the first feature by Hawaiian writer-director Alika Tengan. It’s the story of Naz (co-author Naz Kawakami), a nightly DJ on an indie radio station and a skateboard enthusiast. The young man, who describes himself as a “Hawaiian guy who grew up in Hawaii and never traveled”, is about to leave his peaceful but unfulfilled life in Kaimuki to the Big Apple with his girlfriend, Sloane (Rina White) . She is a promising ceramic artist who has been admitted to an art program in New York.
But while Naz is anxiously planning all the details surrounding their departure, Sloane has considered their move and he is unsure if their reasons for leaving are the right ones. Naz trains his successor on the radio station and spends his last days with his mates in the skate park, all the while trying to sell his belongings to friends and Craiglist buyers. But his determination reveals a certain hesitation as everyone around him questions Naz ‘relocation plans (to a colder place no less) or, even worse, has options for him if he is willing to stay.
“…[Naz] is in the process of leaving his peaceful but unfulfilling life in Kaimuki for the big apple … ”
Every day in Kaimuki does an excellent job of portraying the feeling that countless young people have before emigrating far away when everything is uncertain. Those who move from their small islands, or small towns, to large cities, can relate to the protagonist’s turmoil (and headaches!) When dealing with all the logistics of such a journey. Likewise, the excitement that this next big step presents to lovers considering whether to make the right decision together will resonate with many couples who were or are in similar predicament.
Tengan and Kawakami have created a journey full of emotions. They offer a completely unique story told almost documentary-like with (possibly) some non-professional cast members, but the synergy and chemistry between all worked to the desired effect. The dialogue is also very realistic and can make viewers wonder if some lines were improvised. The drama is low-key immersive with its beautiful filmography, natural light and minimalist style. In addition, the amazing score and soundtrack will delight many indie music and movie lovers.