HawaiiWood

Joji Yoshida
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Friday - May 20, 2005
| Del.icio.us


Chanelle Kanani Kukona and Joji at the recent 2005
Actors’ Showcase at Waialae Country Club

She aspires to open her spiritual spa, promoting healing of mind, body and spirit. Her name is Chanelle Kanani Kukona. She graduated with honors from Chaminade University in 2002 with a BA in communications. She stars in Peachmaker by director Yuki Otsuka, which is a sequel to the 2002 Hawaii International Film Festival selection Peach. Chanelle is English, Filipino, Hawaiian, Irish, Korean and Portuguese. She’s a graduate of Mililani High School — quite a few talented actresses came from that school. Fave actors are Jennifer Garner, Natalie Portman, Matthew McConaughey and Vin Diesel. Chanelle’s film and TV credits include: Hawaiian TelCom, Suzuki, Steinlager, Fit for Life, Hawaii X-Treme Sports and North Shore. She’s a spokesmodel for the Japanese beverage S-Cup. Won the Miss VIP Pageant, which qualified her to enter the 2004 Miss Hawaii Scholarship Pageant. Enjoys doing qi gong, tai chi and yoga to stay in shape. Favorite eats is at Catch of the Day for her weekly dose of sushi. Garden State and 13 Going on 30 are her choice for movies. Listens to Jack Johnson and John Meyer for relaxation. She told me it would be really neat to become the first female actor in Hollywood with a Hawaiian last name. You know what? She may very well be …

Titus Chong is producing Grandma’s Recipe starring Mane, Laine Yoshioka, Suzanne Sorensen, Lena Kaneshiro and Charlotte Dias as Grandma. The film will be directed by Imelda Betiong, who also directed To Kill A Mole with breakout star Kailey Kaneshiro. Titus worked with Meredith Baxter on the movie The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green. Phew, that was a mouthful. The movie was screened recently at Tribeca Film Festival in New York started by Robert DeNiro. This festival is becoming one of the hottest places to be if you’re an actor. Titus names Hilary Swank and Kevin Spacey as favorite actors. After several years in Los Angeles he came back home to start Rogue City Productions. Titus primarily produces local independent films, and his most recent is Finding Aloha, which is in the can — Hollywood lingo meaning it’s finished. Titus was last spotted at Mariposa at Neiman Marcus …

Aloha from Sandpoint, Idaho? Yes, that’s where the greeting comes from filmmaker Jules Nathan — relocated there for the time being. He told me he’ll be back soon. Jules graduated from UH-Manoa, where he produced the campus TV show UH Magazine. He starred in Ricky the Robot by Hank West, which premiered at the 2003 ‘Ohina Short Film Showcase. Jules adores Elisha Cuthbert from hit series 24, who plays the daughter of Kiefer Sutherland. Has an eclectic taste in movies, like myself. Loves Napoleon Dynamite, Collateral and Garden State. He likes to team up with fellow filmmaker Michael Ogasawara to do some amazing films. Jules recently directed Abandoned starring Maya Heacock and Shane Curtis. Next up for Jules is a hush-hush business venture. Stay tuned for this one …


Pat Bentley teaches at the Piano Outlet Studio in Pearl City. She graduated from Eastern Michigan U. with dual degrees in acting and music. She’s a huge fan of Dominic Monaghan and Elijah Wood, which obviously makes her favorite movie The Lord of the Rings. Her recent appearance was at the Actors’ Showcase by Wayne Ward. Pat is also an accomplished music composer and arranger. Her free time is spent at the ocean bodyboarding, kayaking or scuba diving …

U. of Connecticut graduate Lew Lappert is a brilliant character actor. His college buddy in theatre class was Ron Palillo, who was Arnold Horshack in the the ’70s megahit series Welcome Back, Kotter. Lew is a three-time Po‘okela Award nominee, awarded by the Hawaii State Theatre Council. Among his many talents, he can do accents from numerous countries, even Martian language. Speaks French, German, Italian and Spanish. He’s co-starring in the feature The Orb by Scott Lee Mason and Dusty Cross this fall. Lew opens tonight at 8 in the Lanikai Mortgage Players production of Wild Bill & Calamity Jane Or How The West was Almost Lost. He has the starring role as Billy the Kid. You’ll get free popcorn with the price of admission. Check out the play under the stars and, of course, Lew too …

Personal trainer Rick Burke is a former pro football player in Arena Football League. He owns Body Balance Centre with his wife Maria Torchia. Rick is a certified Apex nutritionist and specializes in Stott Pilates and Gyrotonic expansion systems. Let me tell you, he’s an awesome trainer. He made me a better all-around athlete. Rick’s client list is a who’s who of Tinseltown: Anna Strasberg, wife of the late Lee Strasberg, the most renowned acting coach in the world; actor Jay Johnson from North Shore; former L.A. Lakers superstar Kareem Abdul- Jabbar; and Nia Peeples from Walker Texas Ranger. Rick is an avid surfer when he’s not in the studio. Works with clients ranging from seniors and injury rehabilitation to professional athletes. Check out the website at www.bodyhawaii.com

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