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Kalaupapa Heaven

Film by Paul Cox

Year: 2011, 90 mins
Code: PCO-Kalau
ISBN: 978-1-921895-04-3

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20 minutes by plane from modern Honolulu, lies a tiny settlement forgotten by time. Kalaupapa, a peninsula on the Hawaiian island of Molokai, with its swaying palms, unspoiled beaches and stunning mountains, is a paradise on earth - but with a dark and dramatic history. Kalaupapa is a leprosy colony.

In 1998 Paul Cox was allowed by the remaining Hanson disease (Leprosy) patients of Kalaupapa to make a biopic on a Jesuit priest, Father Damien - “Molokai, The story of Father Damien”. In 2005/2006 Paul was invited back by the patients to make a documentary on their lives – a story that had never been told in total. KALAUPAPA – HAVEN is a documentary focusing on the personal stories of the remaining leprosy patients of the island, illustrated through interviews, archival footage, photographs, home movies and some re-enactments. The stories are grim, but are contradicted by present day, where elderly survivors proudly display their scars and wounds, where crippled patients “walk” their dogs by driving old jalopies through the palmlined streets, where churches reverberate with the sound of singing, where chilling tales of spirits are never in short supply… KALAUPAPA HEAVEN is an uplifting and profoundly moving portrait of a group of people who through adversity have found forgiveness and faith by creating their own bit of paradise.

Writer / Director: Paul Cox
Producer: Mark Patterson

Paul Cox: Born in Holland and settled in Melbourne since the mid-‘60s, Paul Cox is an auteur of international acclaim, having received numerous international awards.  He is one of the most prolific makers of films in Australia, with numerous features, shorts and documentaries to his name. He is the recipient of many special tributes and retrospectives at film festivals across the world, including a major retrospective at the Lincoln Centre in New York in 1992.

His films of the early and mid ‘80s – Lonely Hearts (1981), Man of Flowers (1983), and My First Wife (1984) – were highly acclaimed both locally and internationally. 
Man of Flowers premiered in Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival in 1984, and went on to win Best Film at the 1984 Valladolid Film Festival as well as Best Foreign Film at the 1991 Warsaw Film Festival.
Cactus premiered in Director's Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival in 1986 and Vincent won the Jury Prize at the 1988 Istanbul International Filmdays.
A Woman's Tale won the Grand Prix at the 1992 International Flanders Film Festival in Ghent and Exile screened in competition at the 1994 Berlin International Film Festival.

More recently, Cox's highly acclaimed feature Innocence (2000) won massive audience and critical acclaim, including Best Film and the People's Choice Award at the 2000 Montreal World Film Festival; and 5 Australian IF awards including Best Film, Independent Filmmaker of the Year for Paul Cox, and Best Actress for Julia Blake.

Cox’s career continues currently, with features such as Human Touch (2004) and Salvation (2008).


World Premier – Adelaide Film Festival – March 2007
“This deeply humanistic and beautifully directed reflection …. combined with breathtaking scenery and a meditation about life and death” Australian Film Critics Assocaition – Peter Krausz Melbourne

International Film Festival –June 2007
Hawaii International Film Festival – October 2007
Halekulani Golden Orchid Special Mention
“An important examination of a community that faces unfathomable change when the last residents die in coming decades.” Jason Genegabus -Star-Bulletin

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