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DBEDT NEWS RELEASE: Creative Lab Hawaii Accelerator Program begins its 2016 season

Posted on Mar 14, 2016 in Latest Department News

HONOLULU – The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s (DBEDT) Creative Industries Division (CID) announces the start of its Creative Lab Hawaii Accelerator Program (CLH Program).

The CLH Program is an economic development initiative that started in 2012, and is composed of three separate modules: Immersive Programs, Ideation Workshops, and Public Programs.

“We continue to focus on our overall growth strategy to create jobs, raise income and cultivate innovation,” said DBEDT Director Luis Salaveria.  “These types of programs help to position Hawaii as an innovation and knowledge-based economy.”

The CLH Program is designed to accelerate the growth of Hawaii’s creative entrepreneurs through immersive, hands-on training in broadband/new media, producing, screenwriting, interactive media, music and design/fashion.

“The State’s CLH Program initiative is marking a new era of economic development,” said Georja Skinner, chief officer, CID and founder of the CLH Program. “We are grateful for the Hawaii State Legislature’s investment of $150,000, the Governor’s support and the investment of $400,000 by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.”

The 2016 season begins with the Creative Lab Immersive Program, which is a yearlong experience comprised of three phases: an immersive 5-day workshop, 10-months of project mentoring, and a week of business development meetings with industry leaders in key markets outside of the state. Strategic partners include: the Writers Guild of America, West, Producers Guild of America, The Modern Honolulu, Hawaii International Film Festival, and SpeediShuttle.

1.        Screenwriting Immersive (March 14-18, at The Modern Honolulu): A track for writers in all genres to develop new content for motion pictures, television, and broadband (web series). Selected qualified applicants will receive coaching on script writing and taking projects to market on multiple platforms. Coaches participating in the immersive workshop include the following:

  •    Leo Chu and Eric S. Garcia, writers, producers, and showrunners of television.
  •    Jessica Bendinger, an American screenwriter and novelist.
  •    Margaret Nagle, an award winning screenwriter, television producer and human rights activist.

Information on each coach is located at:

2.        Producing Immersive (March 21-25, at The Modern Honolulu): A track focused on the opportunities and skills needed to navigate today’s multi-platform media landscape in film, television, mobile, and online media. Selected qualified applicants will receive coaching from the following individuals:

  •    John Soriano, a graduate of the University of Southern California’s famed film school, who has worked in Hollywood for more than 20 years writing, developing, and supervising motion picture and television projects.
  •    Kevin J. Foxe, a producer, writer, and director, who has been producing in film, digital, web, and multimedia for more than 30 years.
  •    Sonia Mehandjiyska, a 15-year entertainment industry veteran, who has extensive experience in the selling/distribution of films and television series and is Head of International Distribution at Electric Entertainment.

Information on each coach is located at:

“We are absolutely thrilled about the caliber of coaches who have agreed to share their time and expertise with our participants,” explained Skinner.  “The CLH Program has seen tremendous success. Through a public-private partnership, Hawaii’s creative entrepreneurs have been mentored to hone their craft and to expand their global export capacity.”

About DBEDT (Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism)
DBEDT is Hawaii’s resource center for economic and statistical data, business development opportunities, energy and conservation information, and foreign trade advantages. DBEDT’s mission is to achieve a Hawaii economy that embraces innovation and is globally competitive, dynamic and productive, providing opportunities for all Hawaii’s citizens. Through its attached agencies, the department fosters planned community development, creates affordable workforce housing units in high-quality living environments, and promotes innovation sector job growth.

About CID (Creative Industries Division)
CID, a division within DBEDT, is the State’s lead agency dedicated to advocating for and accelerating the growth of Hawaii’s Creative Economy.  Through initiatives, program development, and strategic partnerships, the division and its branches implements activities to expand the business development capacity of Hawaii’s arts, culture, music, film, literary, publishing, digital, and new media industries.

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Media Contacts:

Christine Hirasa
Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism
Phone: (808) 587-9006
Mobile: (808) 286-9017
Email: [email protected]

Piia M. Aarma
Pineapple Tweed PR & Marketing (for Creative Industries Division)
Phone: (808) 737.1904
Mobile: (808) 221.2102