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Colours Of Life

The Hawaiian island of Kauai bursts into a riot of colour and boasts dramatic natural locales, perfect for celluloid


Hawaii’s Garden Isle, Kauai, is famous for its colourful, tropical flowers, white-sand beaches, awe-inspiring peaks, hundreds of cascading waterfalls and lush rain forests. Being one of the fourth-largest and oldest Hawaiian Islands, Hollywood filmmakers have long favoured Kauai’s incomparable mountain ridges and valleys, tropical jungles, 143 miles of magnificent coastline, year-round streams and waterfalls, and arid dunes and canyons. Wonder movies such as Jurassic Park, South Pacific, Raiders Of The Lost Ark and King Kong have been filmed at Kauai.

Centuries of growth have formed tropical rainforests, forking rivers and cascading waterfalls here. Some parts of Kauai are only accessible by sea or air, revealing views beyond your imagination. Beyond Kauai’s dramatic beauty, the island is home to a variety of outdoor activities but it is the island’s laidback atmosphere and rich culture found in its small towns and along its one-lane bridges that make it truly timeless.

In addition to the natural beauty, the spirit and magic of old Hawaii lives on at Kauai, making it even more special. Kauai basks amid sparkling blue Pacific waters. In the shape of an almost-perfect circle, Kauai’s shoreline is covered with more beaches than any other Hawaiian Island. The almost constant, gentle Trade Winds create a cool, balmy climate in contrast to the oppressive heat in many tropical destinations.

Some of Hawaii’s most incredible natural wonders are found here, including the Napali Coast, Waimea Canyon, the Wailua River, botanical gardens like McBryde Gardens and Allerton Gardens, as well as stunning waterfalls like Wailua Falls. Plus, small towns like Hanapepe, Koloa, Waimea and Hanalei let you experience the unique charm only found on the Garden Isle.

Na Pali Coast State Park encompasses a remote area of Kauai, with dramatic mountain scenery that includes cliffs, waterfalls and lush vegetation. Waimea Canyon rivals some of the most scenic canyons on earth. Not only is it deep, but the area’s red soil, green jungles which line its streams and waterfalls, black volcanic rock, and mist cascading from the plateaus make it a rather colourful scene. The remote Polihale State Park at the western end of the Na Pali Coast offers a wide white sand beach, backed by the Makaha Ridge. Kauai’s climate is generally mild. Average temperature ranges from 22 °C in February and March to 26 °C in August and September. Kauai’s mountainous regions offer cooler temperatures and provide a pleasant contrast to warmer coastal areas. This jungle-like island can attribute its climate to the trade winds that blow over the land allowing the ancient volcanic peaks to catch rain from the sky and pull it down to the earth below.

Film Permits

The Kauai film commission can assist with the application and film permitting process for state and county land jurisdictions. Following is a brief summary of each:

State of Hawaii: Filming on state land or conservation-zoned land requires a state film permit and $10,00,000 liability insurance coverage naming the state of Hawaii as additional insured. Several varieties of permits are available depending on the specifics of the project.

County of Kauai: Filming on county property requires a county revocable film permit and $10,00,000 liability insurance coverage naming the county of Kauai as additional insured.

There are no fees for state or county permits, nor are there location fees for filming on county or state property. A refundable security or damage deposit may, however, be required depending on the complexity of the activity planned.

If the proposed location is considered sensitive, or the activity to be filmed is complex, special conditions may be imposed or supervisory personnel (ie, state-enforcement officers, off-duty police or fire personnel) may be required on location. All related costs are to be covered by the production company.

Filming on private property requires consent from the property owner, unless the set construction or complex activity is proposed for areas zoned Conservation or Special Management Area (SMA), in which case, county and/or state film permits and SMA minor permits may also be required.

Film Incentives

The state of Hawaii offers a tax incentive that may be applied to film productions. This is a refundable tax credit based on a production company’s Hawaii expenditures while producing a qualified film, television, commercial, or digital media project. The credit equals 20 per cent of qualified production costs incurred on Oahu, and 25 per cent on neighbour islands (Big Island, Kauai, Lanai, Maui, Molokai).

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