A Day in the Life of an Indie Film Producer: The Making of “Under the Blood Red Sun”

How a low-budget independent film set in World War II-era Hawai‘i comes together through a peek into producer Dana Hankins’ work diary.


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Location: Old Pali Road.
Photo: Courtesy of Mardi Savage


3:15 p.m.

Remind Tim to check in with music composer Chris Sanders; it’s his first time composing a score for a feature-length film. It was a huge leap for some of us to trust someone with whom we had no history on a key element of the film. But he did a great job scoring a 17-minute preview in May for the Hawai‘i Book and Music Festival.


3:30 p.m.

Talk with graphic designer Jess Johnston on ideas for the poster image. Sent him other young-adult film posters that are releasing in these next few months but all campaigns have big-name stars attached or big special-effects scenes. Not sure any of those designs nor marketing plans relevant for design for our movie.


4:30 p.m.

Got a call from director Dave Rosen about another film project The Fishing Club, (cast includes Kealii Reichel and Robert Kekaula) to be released in September at the Honolulu International Film Festival. It’s based on a short story, written by Catherine Tarleton for the Honolulu Magazine Annual Fiction Writing Contest some 15 years ago.


Photo: Courtesy of Daniel Bailey


Coloring the Sky

After our first round of color adjusting the film, I’m nervous. When the team added some sunrise colors to the sky in the attack scene, so much pink and purple showed up in the sky on my Retina display that I’m afraid our film will look like Under the Light-Lilac Sky. We need to calibrate the right mix since the movie will be streamed on a variety of notebooks, Nooks, iPads, computer monitors, where we can’t control the quality of the display.


8 p.m.

Thinking we need to add some kind of apologia to the movie credits.  We’ve had wonderful resourceful advisers but we’re a low-budget movie shooting on an island in the middle of the Pacific. We’ve had to substitute while striving to be as historically accurate as possible. (Our military jeep wasn’t on island in 1941, our gas mask is from the Korean War, our “kerosene” can looks a lot like a container to fuel a BBQ. )We’re not trying to trick anyone, but making do with what we could find and afford. Yes, apologia is a good idea.


9 p.m.

Last entry of day:

Get more sleep…


See the movie

Release date Sept. 14 online at underthebloodredsunmovie.com
Sept. 14 showing at the Pacific Aviation Museum on Ford Island
Sept. 20 showing  at the WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument

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Honolulu Magazine September 2018
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