Lychee Thieves

Writer/Director: Kathleen Man Gyllenhaal (credited as Kathleen Kwai Ching Man)

2010, Short Film, Hi-definition video, 30 min.

In Hawai’i, the highly prized lychee tree blooms only once a year.  Paranoid Arnie and Ethel vow to protect their fruit from lychee thieves…at any cost!  Arnie and Ethel’s feelings of suspicion are stirred when a Hawaiian stranger named Keoki (Pomaika’i Brown, 50 FIRST DATES) offers to harvest their lychee.  When Arnie’s selfish impulses drive him to hire professional pickers for the task instead, Keoki realizes that their lives are being dictated by fear, and attempts to set things right.

LYCHEE THIEVES explores the humorous – and sometimes contentious – interactions among the culturally and ethnically diverse people of Hawai’i.  Its lush dream sequences take us from the mystical valleys of Hawai’i to ancient China, where a smitten emperor will stop at nothing to feed his lady’s lust for the rare fruit. LYCHEE THIEVES is a timely multicultural tale that critic Burl Burlingame describes as “a swell little film with a complex ethos, and beyond that, it’s likely the most accurate description of life in Hawaii yet committed to film…Filmmaker Kathleen Kwai Ching Man wrote and directed LYCHEE THIEVES with restraint and a keen eye for telling detail.  LYCHEE THIEVES is a film you’d show to reveal what life is like in modern Hawaii.”

An official selection in over 40 film festivals, and winner of the following awards:
Best Short Narrative, Estes Park Film Festival
Special Jury Prize, The Honolulu Film Awards
Jury Award, Vesak Buddhist Film Festival (Sri Lanka)
Award of Merit, The Indie Fest
Bronze Palm Award, Mexico International Film Festival
Honorable Mention, Twin Rivers Media Festival
Spirit of Aloha Award (Pomaika’i Brown), Big Island Film Festival
Award Finalist, USA Film Festival (Academy-accredited)
Award Finalist, Moondance International Film Festival
Audience Award (Runner-up) for Best Actor (Pomaika’i Brown), NYC PictureStart Film Festival
“Best of the Shorts” Program, Hawaii International Film Festival

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Available on DVD