Ululani Special Feature

Lāhui Rising Series

This educational series is designed to create a safe, respectful and enriching learning space for all audiences to hear and honor various perspectives on matters of Hawaiian interest.

Pinky Thompson Film Makes Its World Debut at HIFF

Hoʻokahua Hawaiian Cultural Vibrancy Group

 The 2014 Hawai‘i International Film Festival will culminate with the world premiere of “Visions in the Dark: The Life of Pinky Thompson,” a story of pain and promise, challenge and triumph.


The feature-length film celebrates the life of the late Myron “Pinky” Thompson, a former KS trustee, beloved Hawaiian leader, and the visionary behind the creation of KS’ Kaʻiwakīloumoku Hawaiian Cultural Center - which was the genesis of the film.

The feature-length biopic celebrates the life of the late Myron “Pinky” Thompson, a former Kamehameha Schools trustee, beloved Hawaiian leader, and the visionary behind the creation of KS’ Kaʻiwakīloumoku Hawaiian Cultural Center.


Nainoa Thompson followed in his father's footsteps and is now president of PVS, leading its three-year Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

“Visions in the Dark” will make its debut on Sunday, November 9, at Hawaiʻi Theatre. The special screening will include remarks by Pinky Thompson’s son, master navigator and former KS Trustee Nainoa Thompson, and insights from the filmmakers on capturing the inspirational story. 

The film has strong ties to Kamehameha Schools. Randie Fong – vice president of Hawaiian Cultural Affairs at KS and head of its Ho‘okahua Hawaiian Cultural Vibrancy Group, and his wife Jamie Fong – manager of Kaʻiwakīloumoku, were executive producers of the film providing support and guidance throughout its production.


KS’ Randie Fong – VP of Hawaiian Cultural Affairs and his wife Jamie, manager of Kaʻiwakīloumoku, were executive producers of the film

According to Randie Fong, the film’s release commemorates two very significant contributions made by Thompson.KS alumnus Vince Keala Lucero of Co-Creative Studios produced the film which was directed by Native Hawaiian filmmaker Ty Sanga.

“This film is being released in celebration of the Kaʻiwakīloumoku Hawaiian Cultural Center at Kamehameha Schools and the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, two early visions of Pinky’s that emerged like constellations in the darkness of the night sky to illuminate our imagination as to what is possible, and what can be for Native Hawaiians and all people of the world.”

Producer Lucero was among those touched by Thompson’s legacy.

“Pinky Thompson’s civic contributions were monumental and made a huge impact on multiple generations of Hawaiians, but his story has been virtually untold until now.”

As president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS), Thompson believed that long distance voyaging today strengthens a sense of native identity among Hawaiians.

The Film’s Beginnings

“Visions in the Dark” began as an educational short film about Thompson produced by KS’ Kaʻiwakīloumoku Hawaiian Cultural Center. It was part of a series of short films called Nā Momi Hoʻoheno featuring respected kūpuna and renowned cultural practitioners sharing their knowledge and life stories with the younger generation.

The film was intended to mark the opening of the cultural center in 2012. Over time it became clear that the significance of Thompson’s story required more time and effort to capture.  It has since evolved into a feature film and is now envisioned as the first in a new Native Hawaiian leadership series aimed at developing and inspiring young people to be leaders in their schools, families and communities.

Pinky Thompson’s story
Born in 1924, Thompson was raised in a family of very meager means, yet their home became a haven for wandering children suffering from hunger and neglect. He enrolled at Punahou School on a football scholarship where he met his wife Laura, his life-long partner and supporter.

Sustaining a serious eye wound at Normandy during World War II, he wore a head bandage that kept him in the dark for more than two years. From that darkness emerged a clear vision of his life’s purpose. 

Thompson’s early career as a social worker set the stage for a lifelong devotion to early childhood education. Understanding the debilitating effects of social, political, economic and cultural loss, he used his skills and influence to affect positive social change.

He became a leader of key Native Hawaiian organizations including Alu Like, Queen Liliʻuokalani Children’s Center, Papa Ola Lōkahi and Kamehameha Schools. He also played a pivotal role in securing millions of dollars of federal funds to advance Hawaiian education and health.

His core values were embodied in the revered long-distance voyaging canoe, Hōkūleʻa. As president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS), he believed that ancestral migrations and traditional navigational techniques represented Hawaiian intelligence and innovation, and that long distance voyaging today helps to instill pride in Hawaiian heritage and strengthen a sense of native identity among Hawaiians. 

Thompson provided visionary leadership as PVS president for almost two decades. His son Nainoa – who calls his father his greatest teacher – followed in his footsteps and is now president of  PVS, leading its three-year Mālama Honua World Wide Voyage. 


Visions in the Dark Trailer 1080HD from Co Creative Studios on Vimeo.