Creative Lab Hawaii Invites Community to Indigenous Storytellers Panel and Discussion

Posted on Nov 6, 2019 in News


Free Public Panel Among the Dynamic Range of Creative Media Events  Offered by Leading Local Organizations Throughout November 2019

HONOLULU—Creative Lab Hawaii (CLH), founded by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s (DBEDT) Creative Industries Division (CID), will host an Indigenous Storytellers Panel and Discussion on Saturday, November 16, 2019. Coinciding with an intensive CLH Weekend Ideation Program for Indigenous Storytellers, the free public panel will be held at Hawaii Pacific University and will offer insights from the program’s esteemed coaches. The timing of the panel further aligns with a number of other creative and media related development events happening in the state this November.

“It’s an exciting time for indigenous creative content. The Ideation Weekend will allow more local talent to develop compelling stories and explore the growing opportunities to reach new audiences across multiple platforms—from streaming media and videogames, to virtual reality and beyond,” said Mike McCartney, director of DBEDT.

Emerging indigenous writers, media creatives, oral history practitioners and spoken word artists, as well as non-indigenous storytellers who are working on indigenous stories and seeking partners in indigenous communities, are encouraged to attend the public discussion. Panelists will include:

  • Princess Saazhraii Johnson – Neets`aii Gwich`in; Producer, Actor, Writer, Director; Creative Producer “Molly of Denali” (PBS)
  • Jason Suapaia – Native Hawaiian; Executive, Producer, Consultant; Co-Founder of `Ohina; Content producer for ABC, HBO, NatGeo, PBS, Revolution
  • Micah Ian War Dog Wright – Muscogee (Creek) Nation; Executive, Writer, Director; Video Game/VR Designer for  “Call of Duty,” “Transformers,” “Looney Tunes,” and “The Blu”

Designed to help emerging storytellers find a pathway for developing their stories for global media platforms, while retaining the integrity of their distinct voices, the CLH Indigenous Storytellers Panel and Discussion will start at 6:00 p.m. at 1 Aloha Tower Drive. Participants are encouraged to register their attendance at:

“There are tremendous indigenous stories and storytellers just waiting to be heard, and in an exciting first for Hawaii, we are seeing more and more leading organizations across our local creative economy offering storytellers a chance to develop their work both pre-and-post the Hawaii International Film Festival,” said Georja Skinner, chief officer, Creative Industries Division and founder of CLH. “Given an opportunity to develop their concept and a strategy to navigate the entertainment industry, these creatives can better bring their vision to the marketplace while vitally upholding the essence of what makes these narratives so unique.”

In addition to the CLH Indigenous Storytellers Panel and Discussion, other relevant events and workshops across Hawaii this November include:

“We’re thrilled to see where the inspiration from these various workshops and our Indigenous Storyteller discussion will lead,” said Michael Palmieri, executive director of CLH, “Our panel’s incredible coaches will bring both their personal insights and invaluable industry expertise to the table in support our attendees and the important stories they’re committed to telling.”

CLH was founded in 2012 to develop an ecosystem to increase export, attract investment and build the state’s creative entrepreneurial capacity. Its Ideation Workshops are designed for entrepreneurs in early stage project development with the goal of building the pre-requisite requirements for CLH Immersive programs or other relevant accelerators. For more information, contact [email protected].

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About DBEDT (Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism)
DBEDT is Hawaii’s resource center for economic and statistical data, business development opportunities, energy and conservation information, and foreign trade advantages. DBEDT’s mission is to achieve a Hawaii economy that embraces innovation and is globally competitive, dynamic and productive, providing opportunities for all Hawaii’s citizens. Through its attached agencies, the department fosters planned community development, creates affordable workforce housing units in high-quality living environments, and promotes innovation sector job growth.

About CID (Creative Industries Division)
CID, a division within DBEDT, is the state’s lead agency dedicated to advocating for and accelerating the growth of Hawaii’s Creative Economy.  Through initiatives, program development, and strategic partnerships, the division and its branches implement activities to expand the business development, global export and investment capacity of Hawaii’s arts, culture, music, film, literary, publishing, digital and new media industries.

About the Creative Lab Hawaii Program)
The Creative Lab Hawaii (CLH) Program was founded in 2012 by the Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic, Development and Tourism (DBEDT)’s Creative Industries Division to accelerate the growth of Hawaii’s creative entrepreneurs through immersive, hands-on training in broadband/new media, producing, screenwriting, interactive media, music and design/fashion.  The CLH Program, a key facet of Hawaii’s creative economy, is developing an ecosystem to increase export, attract investment and build the State’s creative entrepreneurial capacity in media, music and fashion/design. The CLH Program features three program components: 1) Immersive Programs; 2) Ideation Workshops; and 3) Public Keynotes. Website:

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Media Contacts:

Tracie Young
Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism
(808) 587-2767

Charlene Chan
Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism
(808) 587-9006