The world premiere screening of The KoAloha Ukulele Story was in the City of Brotherly and Sisterly Love, Philadelphia.
We were an official selection of the 2nd Annual Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival and both Rocky Kev and I were very honored to premiere the film in our own backyard so to speak especially because the screening took place at the Asian Arts Initiative which is a community center that has been the birthplace of much of my artistic work in the Philly community.
This was the first time that the film was in front of an audience and it was truly moving to see it on the big screen and to hear people laughing and seeing folks get a little teary eyed at the end. Most of the audience had no idea what an ukulele was and who KoAloha was but found the heart of Alvin Okami’s story touching and profound.
I am very grateful to Joe Kim, Director of PAAFF and the PAAFF jury committee for giving The KoAloha Ukulele its world premiere screening in Philadelphia.
Here are just a few key reviews that we got from audience members who saw the film and responded on the PAAFF website after the world premiere screening.
vvline 12:28 PM
This film is inspiring. It reminded me to keep my eyes and ears open because you never know when opportunity is “literally” going to knock. I loved this film. The drawings in combination with the storytelling make this film charming as it is entertaining. Please see this film now.
blacklava 12:56 AM
The combination of artwork and story worked together seamlessly to tell a passionate story of one person’s experience in how that little extra effort in life goes farther than we can possibly dream. The KoAloha Ukulele Story is inspirational. A must see.
whimsy 9:54 AM
I was completely blown away by the heartfelt storytelling and simplistic animation style of this film. I saw several feature films and shorts at the First Annual Asian American Film Festival and The KoAloha Ukulele Story was by far my favorite film! I loved the touch of humor, the detailed and honest storytelling and the beautiful message that it offered. A very inspiring film great for not just families but all people. A definite must see!
drummergrrl 9:16 PM
This film reminds you to listen to the voice in your heart which guides you when you least expect it. Extraordinary story board animation and editing by Rocky Kev and Gary San Angel. I was blown away by how well the heart-felt story-telling of Alvin Okami was portrayed. Every person should see this film…. young, old, boy or girl… it is inspirational, funny, poetic, and reminds us all of the endless possibilities that surround us – sometimes all it takes is a little hope and faith that there is something else out there greater than all of us, gently guiding us, even during the most difficult times in our lives.
guitarte 2:00 PM
Love the art. It was great to see the story come to life in animated form. Don’t think you could have gotten the same effect by just using footage of Alvin speaking himself.
badtzuman 8:34 AM
I’ve been carrying this beautiful film in my mind ever since I saw it! Somehow, every time I think about a slightly negative thought, this film waves its little hand at me. The authentic storytelling and Okami’s animation reminds us that every life path has a golden opportunity just around the corner if we choose to acknowledge it. Thank you Gary San Angel for finding such a gem of a story about the spirit of small business, acknowledging people, and big dreams! I’d show this film to anyone who has an ounce of doubt of taking yet another step towards their dreams.
Posted In: Featured KoAloha Content, Film Fests & Awards, Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival
Tagged: Alvin Okami, asian american film, asian american film festival, asian arts, Asian Arts Initiative, Gary San Angel, Gayle Isa, KoAloha Story, KoAloha Ukulele, Michael Wingate Jones, Okami, Rocky Kev, The KoAloha Ukulele Story, world premiere