Longing for Hawai'i

Waikiki Beach on O’ahu's southern shore is the most famous and most popular beach in Hawai’i, the most secluded archipelago in the world’s oceans. Only few miles away Barack Obama was born and near there he attended high school. "You can understand Barack Obama only if you know Hawai’i,“ Mrs. Obama says.
What makes Hawai’i so special? What is this Aloha Spirit that everybody here talks about? The film pursues these questions, starting at Waikiki Beach.
In 1959, Hawai’i became the 50th state of the U.S.A. Since then Waikiki has changed enormously - not always for the better. Nowadays it resembles Manhattan more than the old fishing village under waving palm trees. Hotels, beach bars, and restaurants make it a crowded place. Everywhere you can find the colorful Aloha shirts which are worn by almost everybody here, as well as the famous flower chains, Leis, which you can also take home with plastic flowers. They are most popular with the Japanese, the biggest tourist group, who love to get married in Waikiki. But Waikiki should and wants to change. People here know that resources are scarce. Sustainability is the new keyword on O’ahu. The film intends to follow up on this, searching for the Polynesian side to Hawai’i. What is left of the old Hawaiian myths? The film will show the beauty of the island and will introduce you to Hawaiians who live and work for a sustainable, multi-ethnical Polynesian O’ahu.

The film is part of a series on famous beaches such as the Copacabana, the Côte d'Azur, the famous beaches at the Baltic Sea and the Coast of Amalfi.

Premiere: January 12, 7.30pm, on Arte

Produced by

SWR in cooperation with arte

A film by

Sigrid Faltin



Running time

45 min.


  • cinematographer: Christian Zecha
  • sound: Michael Geißer
  • editor: Ellen Scheider
  • composer: Andreas Radzuweit
  • narrator: Rufus Beck (German voice)
  • commissioning editor: Ulrike Becker

„We produce documentary films - it's real life that interests us.“
Sigrid Faltin, white pepper films


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