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Growing Up Local

In a place known as paradise, Stanley’s life is far from it.

Using the unexplored and often tough neighborhoods of Hawai'i as a backdrop, Growing Up Local uncovers a boy’s struggle to establish his identity beyond his father’s fists and his loyalty to his friends. The tale of Stanley explores three generations of the Nagata family, and tells the universal story of the conflict between father and a son and the expectations and burdens that are passed on from generation to generation.


Growing Up Local takes us beyond the stereotypical view of Hawai'i, and goes deeper into a world and a culture that many call home. 

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Premiering August 4th

Consolidated Theatres Pearlridge

tickets are on sale now!

Also available on Amazon Prime



James Sereno

Writer, Director

James, a Hawaii native, graduated from the USC Film School with a degree in Cinematic Arts. Upon graduating, he worked at Disney Studios and Columbia Pictures.

As a film producer, James has numerous accolades under his belt, and was personally invited by Roger Ebert to showcase his work at Ebert's Ebertfest. His short film, "Silent Years" won numerous awards including first runner up at the exalted British Academy Awards, L.A. (BAFTA/L.A) He has also won a coveted Cannes Bronze Lion for his commercial work. 

Through his production company, Kinetic Films, he directed and produced the feature film, "Paradise Broken," a gritty drama about the underbelly of Waikiki; produced the feature film, "Hang Loose," a coming-of-age comedy both of which were nominated for best film at the LA Asian/Pacific Film Festival; and “Man Up” distributed by Lakeshore Entertainment. James has also executive produced, Gook and Ms. Purple, Sundance winners, as well as August at Akiko’s, listed as one of the best films of 2019 by The New Yorker.


Shawn Hiatt

Director of 

Award winning Cinematographer, Shawn Hiatt grew up on the mainland US before moving to Hawaii in 1985 to attend the University of Hawaii at Manoa, earning a B.A. in Broadcast communications, with a concentration in Advertising.

In 1988, he interned with Hawaii's #1 production company QDD. After graduation in 1989 Shawn joined Pacific Focus Inc. and grew to be a staff Cinematographer. Since pursuing his freelance career in 1998, his client list continues to expand.

Recent clients and credits include; national spots for JEEP Tour of Duty, McDonalds, Steinlager, Regional work such as: Phillip Morris Asia, Swedish American Hospital in Illinois, First Hawaiian Bank, Bank of Hawaii, American Savings Bank, Central Pacific Bank, Island Insurance, Farmers Insurance, Hawaiian airlines, and Sempra (a California energy company serving all of Southern California).

Cast & Crew



Virtuoso, songwriter, singer and theater producer, Taimane, has established herself as one of the leading ukulele players in the world, known for her fierce and inventive style of play transcending traditional views of the instrument as a restricted device. Taimane’s musicality and approach to the stage further add to her draw. Through both beautiful originals and one-of-a-kind mashups (seemingly disparate songs (e.g. Led Zeppelin and Beethoven) merged into medleys with pop appeal), Taimane conjures a wide-range of deep emotions smashing the notion of Hawaii music’s being light and simple. 


Hailing from a musical Polynesian family including her late mother, Palepa Tauiliili Gardner (Miss Samoa 1978), Taimane’s attraction to the four-string island staple began at age 5. By age 10, she regularly performed in public, busking in Waikiki every Friday night with her father holding down security duties and Waikiki Beach Boys (adults whose home & workplace was the beach) serving as her band. By age 13, Taimane landed a position in Don Ho’s show, literally playing in the spotlight every week until Ho’s passing. Ho was not only a Hawaii legend (his “Tiny Bubbles” hit remained on Billboard’s Hot 200 for over a year making him world famous) but also a consummate entertainer who significantly influenced Taimane’s perspective on performance. Each night, when the typically full house turned its attention to the petite young girl suddenly anointed band leader for a rendition of the surf classic “Wipeout,” it was time to rock.

Crew & Cast


Spoken Word

Kealoha (born Steven Kealohapauʻole Hong-Ming Wong) is a poet and storyteller based in Hawaii. He was the first Poet Laureate of Hawaii and the first poet to perform at a Hawaii governor’s inauguration.[2] In 2022 he received a Poets Laureate Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets.

He is an internationally acclaimed poet and storyteller who has performed throughout the world from the White House to ‘Iolani Palace and including hundreds of live venues.[5] In 2010, he was honored as a "National Slam Legend" at the National Poetry Slam and was selected as a master artist for a National Endowment for the Arts program.[6][7] In the genre of storytelling, he has gained national recognition by showcasing at events such as the National Storytelling Network Conference, the Bay Area Storytelling Festival, and the Honolulu Storytelling Festival

Crew & Cast


Albert Ueligitone

Henry Nagata

Originally from American Samoa, Albert studied Theater at the University of Hawai’i Mānoa. He has appeared on Hawai’i Five-0, Marvel’s Inhumans, and Magnum P.I., as well as the films Hae Hawai’i, Haole, and Last Hawaiian Sugar. He has performed onstage at Kumu Kahua, Kennedy Theater, and Hawaiian Mission Houses. Based in Honolulu, Albert also works as a carpenter and storyboard artist.

Crew & Cast

Makoa Sanchez

Stanley Nagata

Makoa Sanchez is a Kanaka Maoli actor and model, making his acting debut in Growing Up Local. As a model, he has worked with local designers and brands such as Kahulale'a, Mayjah League, Old Queen Street Stadium and more.


Makoa grew up in Kāne'ohe, Hawai'i where he continues to work as a youth mentor for a nonprofit organization, serving under-resourced children within his community. Makoa graduated from the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa with a BA in Political Science and will be attending flight school in California, where he will pursue his dream of flying and newfound love for acting.

Crew & Cast
Kawika Nobriga

Thiessen Wright

Thiessen Wright is an actor/dancer/athlete from Pearl City, Hi. Born September 5, 2003, to Selena Chang Costa and Kaipo Wright, he attended Waiau Elementary School until he was homeschooled in 3rd Grade. He moved to the hybrid-modeled Hawaii Technology Academy in 5th Grade and graduated in 2022.


Thiessen discovered his passion for performing at 8 after seeing the 808 Breakers breakdancing crew perform at a drug awareness assembly. A few months later he found Pas de Deux Hawaii performing arts studio where he enrolled in breakdancing and musical theater. The many theater productions and dance concerts by PDD Hawaii taught him the importance of being surrounded by good people, developing his craft, and approaching all things professionally. Most importantly he learned that kindness matters and to have good energy in all that he does.


He’s most known for Liani on Hawaii Five-O and Kai on Haole. As an athlete, he’s known for being an All-OIA First Team Linebacker and for helping the Aiea Na Ali’i football team win the 2021-22 OIA Division 1 football championship.

Natalie Young

Stephanie Chun

Natalie is a Native Hawaiian actress, appearing in the upcoming film Growing Up Local (2023) and known for 6B: An Anthology of Hawaii Films (2011) and My Brother’s Keeper (2007).  She started acting at age 12 and was cast as the lead in the television program Tradewinds- Dancing with the Long Bone at her first acting audition.  She has since been in several films, theater performances, and both local and national television and radio commercials, including Sprint, McDonalds, AIG, Macy’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Honda, American Savings Bank, Hawaiian Telcom, and Foodland.  She was Hawaii’s representative for the America’s Junior Miss scholarship program in 2001, and she has danced and sang competitively at both high school and collegiate levels.  She graduated as valedictorian at Kamehameha Schools and with honors at Stanford University with a BA in Human Biology with a concentration in Ethnomedicine.  She went on to graduate from the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine and completed her Internal Medicine Primary Care residency at NYU School of Medicine.  In addition to acting, she is an Internal Medicine physician.

Ocean Rea

Eva Costa

Ocean Rea is 23 years-old, and was born and raised on O’ahu. She began her acting journey at age 10 taking classes, and performing in her school plays. In her teen years, Ocean was a model for shopping centers and Waikiki magazines. After high school, she landed roles in local commercials, independent films, and theatre productions with Kennedy Theatre. She was crowned Miss Hawaii High School 2016, and Miss Paradise Hawaii 2020, and with her title she wrote and illustrated an anti-bullying and ocean conservation childrens book entitled, “Owen Octopus the Brave”. She visited schools on O’ahu and read to over 1000 students, and donated her books to the school’s library. Ocean is also a black belt in shito-ryu karate under IKF, and studied martial arts for over 11 years. She is a student at University of Hawai’i Mānoa studying theatre, and wishes to continue pursuing acting as her career. 

Ana Garcia

Auliʻi Kahalepauole

Auli’i Kahalepauole is a Native Hawaiian actress, student & writer from Waimānalo, O’ahu. She began her acting journey at 10 years old, making her stage debut in Shakespeare's Macbeth at Ron Bright Theater. Since then, she’s appeared in an array of different theater productions, eventually leading her to the world of film and television where she's fulfilled opportunities to work with production companies such as HBO and Apple TV. With her newfound love for film, she plans to attend UH West O’ahu to pursue a film degree with hopes of creating raw and authentic visual stories focused on Pasifika culture and its people.

Masato Nagata

Darin Fujimori

Darin Fujimori started his career in 1999 working on the feature film Windtalkers as a Japanese soldier. After meeting many stunt performers on the film he decided to pursue the film and television industry.  Now, 23 years later he currently works as a stunt coordinator and stunt  perfomer on local, national , and international films.

Pualalea Panaewa

Leimoni Costa

Pualalea Panaewa is a Kanaka ‘Ōiwi actor and filmmaker from Waiʻanae, Oʻahu. She grew up immersed in Hawaiian and local culture on the westside. As well as doing theatre for many years. As a product of this, they are dedicated to telling authentic stories of Hawai’i both in-front and behind the camera. Pualalea is currently pursuing a film degree at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa with a focus on Indigenous filmmaking.

Mrs. Costa

Margaret Jones

Margaret Jones is a Native Hawaiian Actress that started her career at Kumu Kahua Theatre, doing numerous productions that were written by Hawai’i playwrights sharing life in Hawai’i. Her plays: “the season of yellowginger” was staged at KKT, and  “A Period Piece” was staged at Mark’s Garage. Margaret has appeared in a few Hawaii 5-0 episodes, independent films and local commercials. She first worked with Sereno in Ha’ole and is happy to be a part of “Growing Up Local”. She is a proud graduate of Kamehameha and the University of Hawaii, having earned a Masters of Education. She continues to hone her acting craft at Z/A studio Honolulu and writing stories of Hawai’i. 

John Nobriga

Daryl Bonilla

Daryl Bonilla is an actor/comedian from Waianae, Hawaii. Best known as “The Bank Guy” for the Bank of Hawaii ad campaign that ran from 2000-2007 as well as a starring role as “Keao” in the 1998 hit independent feature film “Beyond Paradise” he has appeared on stage, television and film. Some credits include “Hawaii Five 0”, “To End All Wars”, and “The Short List”. Daryl is also a stand up comedian opening for the likes of Augie T, Andy Bumatai, Kermit Apio, Tom Segura, Felipe Esparza, Gary Owen as well as headlining his own shows. He released a comedy album entitled “What Year You Grad” in 2017 which is available on Spotify and iTunes.

Drae Saya

Felipe Galang

Drae Saya (Draedon Sayaboc) is a Hawaiʻi native born and raised on the island of Oʻahu with family roots beginning on the island of Molokai. Graduating High School in 2019 and later being accepted into San Diego State University with a focus in Marketing, Covid-19 cut his California college journey short, pushing him to move back home to Hawaiʻi. Rekindling his passions of photography and working in the local entertainment industry back home, Drae has garnered accomplishments of working on production sets for Disney+, Amazon Prime, Warner Bros, etc. Along with the filming industry, Drae has also gotten the privilege to work with local fashion designers and creative businesses as a photographer and model for brands like Manaola, Kahulaleʻa, Laulima Hawaiʻi, etc. Drae aspires to one day utilize his future experience in the entertainment industry to give back to local creatives and brands to uplift their dreams and projects for the world to see how talented Kanaka/Kamaʻāina minds truly are.

Fred Mederios

Damani (Isaiah)

Isaiah better known on tik tok as “Damanimua” is a content creator and actor. His love of make up stemmed from the art of theater. Which he has been a part of since 2016. Some of his favorite credits include “Maui” and “make up artist” in Moana JR-2022 ,“Weasel Town” in Frozen JR- 2019 ,”Iago” in Aladdin JR- 2018 and “King Herod” in Jesus Christ Superstar -2018. He also worked on a commercial as “Mission Control Hero”for challenger hawaii (2017). Lastly in 2022 he took an acting master class at “Sight and Sound Productions” with Theo Coumbis. 

Emily Nagata

Arianna Chenoa

Arianna Chenoa is a full time Professional Polynesian Dancer that made her acting debut in the movie Growing Up Local. She has been an extra in multiple T.V. Shows such as NCIS: Hawaiʻi, Doogie Kamealoha M.D., and Magnum P.I.

Arianna also does Runway and Print modeling for Paradise Island Fashion Week Hawaiʻi, Hawaiʻi Fashion Week, Hinano, Ciel Blue Hawai’i, Dolkii,  DaniLi Apparel.

Working with Director, James Sereno and the cast of G.U.L. was a great learning experience for her. She is very proud of the fact that her first movie she was apart of is an all local film, especially because she is born and raised on O’ahu. She is grateful, humbled and will carry this opportunity and lessons learned, with her wherever her journey may lead. 

Arianna Chenoa dances at many venues on O’ahu, but you can catch her at the Ala Moana Centerstage Hula Show, Monday-Friday at 5PM.

Blue Skies


Kinetic Films

Honolulu, HI 96814

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