Array, Google Award Feature Film Grant to Alika Tengan, Produced by Teenager

The Hawaiian filmmaker is the first recipient of the two companies’ partnership to support rising creatives from historically excluded backgrounds.

Array and Google have found the first recipient of their $500,000 Feature Film Grant in Hawaiian filmmaker Alika Tengan.

The award, fittingly (and coincidentally) announced on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, will include mentorship from the advisory committee that selected Tengan, including producer Gabrielle Glore, Visual Communications executive director Francis Cullado, IllumiNative founder and executive director Crystal Echo Hawk, Film Independent senior director of education and international initiatives María Raquel Bozzi and Mumbai Academy of Moving Image artistic director Smriti Kiran. Google will provide the $500,000 for Tengan’s production, which will be sourced by Array Crew, the database of below-the-line professionals from historically excluded backgrounds, and distributed by Array.

“This film grant, in partnership with Array, allows us to jointly celebrate and showcase the talent of creators like Alika, whose work addresses issues that need to be brought to the forefront urgently,” Google VP marketing Jeffrey Whipps said in a statement. “We’re excited to continue to help amplify more voices from underrepresented communities to tell their authentic, timely and important stories.”

Raised in Kaneohe on the island of Oahu, Tengan will be adapting his short film Moloka’i Bound, which won best live-action short at the imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival in 2019, into a feature. The short is about a young man, recently released from prison, who looks to reconcile with his ex and reconnect with his son and his native Hawaiian heritage while resisting recidivism.

“The entire Array team, along with our colleagues at Google, instantly connected to Alika’s beautifully written narrative that is set in Hawaii and tells the story of indigenous family traditions, struggles and triumphs,” Array president Tilane Jones said in a statement. “We look forward to working with Alika to bring his vision from script to screen, and to audiences all over the world through our distribution arm Array Releasing.”