LDS Film Festival: Duke Kahanamoku’s documentary “Waterman” opens the festival

Most people have probably never heard of Duke Paoa Kahanamoku’s name or know much about his many notable accomplishments.

The Hawaii native, born in 1890, is the undisputed father of modern surfing.

He was a powerful Olympic swimmer who won three gold and two silver medals in competitions at the 1912 Stockholm Games, 1920 Antwerp Games and 1924 Paris Games. He was also a substitute for the United States water polo team at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles.

He broke down the social barriers of discrimination and prejudice.

Kahanamoku, who died in 1968, also used a surfboard to save eight men from a capsized fishing boat.

The film “Waterman” tells the story of the life of Duke Paoa Kahanamoku, considered the father of modern surfing.

“Waterman,” an award-winning documentary on the life of Kahanamoku, will be the opening night feature of the LDS Film Festival, scheduled for March 2-5 at the SCERA Center for the Arts in Orem.

The LDS Film Festival, founded in 2001, provides filmmakers with a venue to showcase family and faith-based projects.

This year, the festival is changing hands. Marshall and Michelle Moore, who are co-owners and directors, acquired the festival in March 2021. Their first decision was to rebrand the festival with a new name.

New co-owner and co-director Marshall Moore speaks at a former LDS film festival.

New co-owner and co-director Marshall Moore speaks at a former LDS film festival.

“After extensive deliberation, consultation with filmmakers and some polling, we have determined that a rebranding and renaming of the festival is necessary,” said Marshall Moore. “At the end of this year’s LDS Film Festival, we will change the name and rename the festival to Zion International Film Festival 2023.”

This year’s festival includes feature films, documentaries, short films and music videos. The festival program can be found at

The festival received nearly double the number of submissions this year, with fewer feature films and more shorts and documentaries.

“The films at this year’s festival are inherently different from each other, ranging from true stories that inspire to films that will make you laugh and make you cry,” said Marshall Moore. “Watching the movies, we realized there were still so many untold stories.”

Many films will be presented for the first time at the festival and the filmmakers will be available to answer questions after the presentation.

Here’s a sampling of what audiences can see at the LDS Film Festival.


“Waterman,” produced by Sidewinder Films, explores the life and legacy of surfing legend, Olympic medalist and Hawaii native Duke Paoa Kahanamoku. The film, narrated by actor and “Aquaman” star Jason Mamoa, has already received several awards and accolades.

BYU head football coach Kalani Sitake, who lived in Hawaii as a youngster, will deliver the opening remarks at the Wednesday, March 2 screening of “Waterman,” the Moores said.

Redeemed: The Story of Sione Havili

This 20-minute KSL general conference special, narrated by former BYU and NFL player Vai Sikahema, tells the story of a crime and its life-altering aftermath. a promising young athlete.

“All That Matters” and “Sticks and Stones”

Actor and filmmaker Corbin Allred has produced two short films that deal with youth bullying and suicide.

“Lucy and Whitney”

Writer and director Parker Gehring’s documentary follows the relationship of two sisters after the older sister marries, against the backdrop of Latter-day Saint faith. Gehring graduated from Brigham Young University.

“Steadfast: Witnesses to the Book of Mormon”

Not to be confused with the 2021 theatrical film “Witnesses,” “Undaunted” is a docudrama that delves deeper into the story of the three men — Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, and David Whitmer — who became witnesses to the Book of Mormon. of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

While the two films are part of the same overall project, Dan Peterson writes in a Patheos blog, “Undaunted” also includes information about the eight additional witnesses to the Book of Mormon and features interviews with historians and others to provide insight. depth and context to all stories. .

Gerald R. Schneider