Sept. 15--Destin Daniel Cretton insists that success has not changed him. His new film "Short Term 12" is playing in theaters across the country, including a held-over run here, but he's the same unassuming guy from Maui who went to Los Angeles to make movies.
Even as reviewers praised the film -- his second feature -- he wrote and directed, Cretton has gone about his life just as he always has. He barbecues with his friends, lives at the same home in Echo Park and still drives a '93 Toyota pickup with 180,000-something miles.
"Things got busier, I am traveling more and more people are seeing the movie, which is wonderful," he said by phone from L.A. "But my life in general is wonderfully the same."
Still, the 34-year-old Cretton can't help but think of how far his film has come since its successful premiere six months ago at SXWS -- that's South by Southwest for those who aren't hip enough to know the acronym for the popular music, film and interactive conference and festival in Austin, Texas. The film about teenagers in a facility for at-risk youth won both the Grand Jury prize and Audience Award in the narrative feature competition.
A distribution deal with Cinedigm followed and suddenly "Short Term 12 is one of the most talked about indie films of the year.
The lost young people of "Short Term 12," both the patients and their counselors, give life to hope and heartache. They cope by creating a family of their own. It stars Brie Larson ("The Spectacular Now") and John Gallagher Jr. (HBO's "The Newsroom").
It was one of the top draws when it opened here last weekend at the Kahala 8, finishing No. 4 behind "The Grandmaster," "Lee Daniels' The Butler" and "The Spectacular Now."
"Even though the film takes place in a very specific environment, the themes are very universal," Cretton said. "I think everybody can identify with the idea of going through really difficult times. But walking through those times with somebody who loves you and is there for you makes it so much more easier and beautiful."
Cretton feels Hawaii audiences will understand that better than most. And why not? There are few cultures where you refer to a friend's parents as auntie and uncle.
"The idea of family goes so far beyond just blood," said Cretton, who graduated from Maui High School.
"It's more of an extended love for all humankind," he said. "Growing up there it feels like you are all in it together. And that is the theme of 'Short Term 12.' They don't have a typical family but they come together in this unique setting."
Some of that will come full circle on Friday when "Short Term 12" screens at Consolidated Theatre's Kaahumanu 6 in the Kaahumanu Shopping Center in Kahului. When Cretton was 9, he saw his first movies at the shopping center. It's where he fell in love with films.
He's hoping he can get to Hawaii for the Maui screenings and if he does, he promises to answer questions from the audience after some of them. Cretton has done the same thing at several mainland screenings.
"I love hearing how people personally connect with the movie," he said. "I get to learn so much more about what we did right, what we could have done differently."
IT TURNS out that OC16 wasn't the first channel to regularly broadcast football games in Hawaii, which is what we said here last week.
In the mid-1960s, KGMB broadcast numerous Oahu Interscholastic League games on Saturday afternoons from Aiea High School, according to longtime sportscaster Jim Leahey, who would help his father, sportscaster Chuck Leahey, at the games.
And longtime KHON anchor Joe Moore, who remembers watching football games on TV when he was a student at Aiea High in 1963, handled play-by-play coverage from the old Honolulu Stadium in the early 1970s when he was a young sportscaster at KGMB.
Those games were a big deal and not just because they were live, Moore said. It was because they were in color.
AND that's a wrap ...
Mike Gordon is the Star-Advertiser's film and television writer. Read his Outtakes Online blog at honolulupulse.com. Reach him at 529-4803 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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