ICAN-International Cultural Arts Network

International Cultural Arts Network (ICAN) is a non-profit 501(c) (3), established on April 13, 2023 in the State of Hawaii. Film industry veterans – Angela Laprete, Brian Keaulana and Robert Suka – co-founded ICAN to serve a mission – elevating, educating and empowering diversity with focus on Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NHPI) in Hawaii’s TV and Film Industry and bridging cultural connections globally in various forms of storytelling and entertainment.

Pacific Islanders make up 1.4 million of the US population with 0.4% being Native Hawaiian. Latest statistics show 355,000 Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NHPI) live in the State of Hawaii, with 52% of Native Hawaiians relocated to other states, due to lack of opportunity and high living costs. Despite the large number of TV and Film productions filming in Hawai’i, NHPI population is still the smallest percentage represented in the overall entertainment industry.

ICAN’s focus is to help create opportunities in work force development, build infrastructure and establish placement goals by amplifying training with extensive ongoing master classes, by bridging connections beyond Hawaii.

“Life Changing”    ”Community”

These are the key words ICAN students are using to describe the inaugural program:  Phase 1 of Mana I Ka Mana.  ICAN held its first culmination on December 10, 2023 on Oahu at Entrepreneur’s Sandbox/Hub Hawaii,  celebrating 16 Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander acting students who completed  7 acting intensives from October  – December. This initial program focused on the industry connection between New Zealand and Hawaii.  Maori actor-coaches Cliff Curtis, Rena Owen, program director, Te’ao O Hinepehina and from “NCIS Hawaii”,  Alex Tarrant and wife/team Luci Hare brought expertise of their craft and shared stories of their journey as a Pacific Islander actor in the film industry.  The “Chief of War” cast including Tongan actress, Luciane Buchanan from “Night Agent” and Hawaii’s own Sisa Grey, Brandon Finn, Moses Goods and Ioane Goodhue (“Next Goal Wins”) also joined the actor-coach team and trained the students with their own style of discipline, including integrating culture and ‘olelo into the structure.  Beyond elevating the craft, these mentorships brought access and personal guidance allowing ICAN students to thrive in building confidence, bringing personal experiences into their craft and realizing their potential not only as actors but as humans.  With the support amongst the students – both in and out of class – was born a COMMUNITY.

ICAN welcomed guest speakers Director/EP Larry Teng, LA Casting Director Michelle Wade Byrd, Hawaii’s own Casting Directors Katie Doyle and Rachel Sutton, and LA Talents Agent Jovan Meredith and Rob Cassandro. Bridging connections on a global scale is integral to ICAN’s programs.  We will continue to provide access to top industry professionals for education purposes while creating opportunities for work force development and bringing visibility and awareness to diversity in our industry.

ICAN’s writer invitational launched in late 2023, led by Thomas “Pa’a” Sibbett, Co-creator, Writer, EP of “Chief of War”.   This writers COMMUNITY will open up in Spring 2024.

ICAN will help create opportunities and develop placement goals by amplifying the experience of ongoing training of master classes in performing arts, industry crafts, and screenwriting for Hawaii’s entertainment community while building infrastructure within the State. The programs may expand as it grows into other areas of performance and storytelling.

ICAN will work with unions to heighten opportunities for local crew and talent and foster the next generation of filmmakers by providing shadowing, internships, and one-on-one meetings with industry mentors.

ICAN will collaborate with top industry professionals internationally to help streamline a path for success and an understanding on how to meet the demands of each industry.

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