Frequently Asked Questions


1.   What is Relapse?


“Relapse” is an entertaining thriller with a strong anti-drug message. Set in colorful Hawaii, the film deals with the dark side of drug use and its consequences in communities, relationships and individual lives. The film’s innovative production model provides a powerful vehicle for a message that needs to be heard in every city or town where Crystal Meth is a growing menace.


2.   Is Relapse a documentary about crystal Meth?


No. Relapse is a fictional narrative feature film about a lawyer who is recovering from his Crystal Meth addiction and moves to a house in Hawaii with his wife in order to rebuild his life and marriage. The house has a past that threatens their hopes for recovery –in fact, their very lives are put in jeopardy.


3.   What is unique about the production model?


The film is being done within University of the Nations film school in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. The University of the Nations’ School of Digital Filmmaking has been producing award-winning short films for years.  It has launched several talented and purposeful new artists into the film industry.  Relapse is the first feature-length movie that we are undertaking. A number of Hollywood professionals are being invited to join us in the same way that we invite guest speakers to our film school. Their role will be to mentor the students as we make the film and their presence will guarantee the quality of the film.

4.   Is this a student film?

In a sense it is, but the innovative model makes it very different from any other student film you’ve seen before. First, it is a full feature film (student films are usually shorts) with the very important variation being that we are bringing several Hollywood professionals as visiting speakers.  These professionals will be the department heads while our students and graduates will fill the ranks. This will guarantee the quality of the film while providing a great learning environment for our students and graduates since they will take a real crew position under supervision of experienced filmmakers.

5.   How are you funding this film?


This is another innovative aspect. A small portion of the funding comes from donors that regularly support our university and film school. Since these contributions are only enough to cover our school related expenses, we are trying to fund the necessary money needed for actors, additional equipment and production expenses through donations from our friends and merchants in our community and by implementing an innovative on-line donation system. Basically we are inviting the whole on-line community to make this film the first one that is supported by an on-line effort. We are asking everyone to give on-line the equivalent of a movie ticket ($ 10.00) or more. The idea behind it is this: We all pay $10 (or more once you add popcorn, soda, etc.)  to watch films that are merely entertainment (and many of them even disappoint us in the entertaining aspect).  Would you give us a vote of faith for meaningful cinema by giving a $10 donation to our university so we can get “Relapse” made? By doing this you will also have the satisfaction of helping make a film that is trying to give a positive message about the danger of crystal meth.


6.   If I decide to donate: Do I get a tax deductible receipt?


Yes, UofN is a non profit organization and will provide you with a tax deductible receipt. You should know though, that you are donating it to the film school of UofN and the film school will use these funds to make “Relapse” as part of our film school program.


7.   If I give the equivalent of a movie ticket, does this mean that when the film is finished you will give me an admission to go and watch it?


No.  It’s just a voluntary donation. If you like what we are doing, if you’d like to help, if you feel for the issue that we are trying to communicate about, you can help us by donating on-line. If you don’t want to do that, keep visiting us on-line and wait until the film gets out. Once again, we are asking for donations, we are not selling anything.


8.   What about if I want to give more than $ 10 or $ 25 or $ 50? What if I want to give $ 500 or $ 5000 or more?


You can give as much as you desire, and you can do it right now if you wish. But we think that if you would like to give an amount of $ 500 or larger you should get to know us first. We would like to invite you to e-mail us so we can contact you, give you more details and make available to you any other information that could be helpful to you such as the history of our university, what we have done in the area of filmmaking as well as financial records, audits, etc. UofN is a public entity and we have nothing to hide. We believe that anyone that gives a large amount should know the organization he or she is donating to. Now, if you already know us go ahead and make a donation now.


9.   What kind of salaries are the crew getting paid?


Our graduates and students are not getting paid. Their benefit will be the learning experience, the opportunity and the credits they will obtain from the University. Our staff and faculty will also volunteer their time. Even the director is not getting paid. The Hollywood professionals that we are bringing in to work on the film are getting a small honorarium similar to what our university pays any visiting speaker. Therefore they will also be donating a big portion of their usual fees. The only ones that will be receiving some kind of regular payment will be the actors and some professional fees and services such as legal fees or insurance.



10.                 Are you using professional actors?


We will use some professional actors and some of our student actors. We will contract the main roles using SAG actors working by scale through the most basic contracts. Because we are a film school after all, we will reserve some small roles and extras positions for our student actors so they will start building some experience alongside professional actors. We believe that by implementing this model we can get a good quality cast where the main roles are experienced actors and the day players will provide opportunities for our student actors.


11.                 How are you planning to distribute this movie?


There are two aspects of the distribution of this film: a community distribution and a potential commercial distribution. Once the film is done, we will present “Relapse” in film festivals and organize different screenings to see what kind of reactions we will get from wide audiences. We believe that because the film will be shot in Hawaii and the story happens in Hawaii that we will find a strong interest to have a theatrical distribution in our state. If the interest grows, we will pursue other avenues for distribution in the mainland and other countries.


We also plan to make the film available for different community venues. We are exploring possibilities of making the film available to the educational community in order to provoke dialogue and discussion about the crystal meth issue.


12.                 What happens if the film becomes a smashing success and makes money?


The dream of every independent filmmaker is to make a film that will break the mold and be able to come out of nowhere to be a blockbuster. Films like “Napoleon Dynamite” or “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” are good examples of this dream. However, realistically speaking, the chances of this happening are similar to winning a lottery ticket.  There are thousands of films produced each year and it is only once in a while that we see a distribution success like the films mentioned above.


We do believe though that “Relapse” has the potential to generate enough interest that at some point will materialize in a financial profit. If that happens we plan to assign the profit in the following way: First we will be sure that all expenses are covered such as, differed payments to actors, post production expenses and distribution expenses (prints, promotion, etc). A lot of independent films can consider themselves lucky if they just cover all of these expenses. Then, if there is still a remaining profit, we will use a system of percentages to assign the occasional gain. Those percentages will include the university, the creative team and a number of other projects. For instance, we would like to assign some money to programs that can use the film to raise awareness about the crystal meth issue, such as discussion groups with teenagers in schools. We would also like to create a fund that will help our film school to produce other films that deal with social issues, scholarship funds, equipment funds, etc.


As we said above, we can not be certain about obtaining a profit yet, so at this point all is speculation. We will define these options if the opportunity presents itself.


13.                 Will University of the Nations distribute the film?


No. UofN is a non-profit organization and has no interest in getting itself involved in commercial practices. We will find a distribution company that can do that and license it to them and use the license fees to support the programs described above. UofN is sponsoring this project strictly because of its educational value and the potential of making a contribution to the raising of the awareness about the dangers of crystal meth in our Hawaiian community and elsewhere the film could be shown.


14.                 I don’t want to give money but I think this is fantastic project. How can I help?


Tell all of your friends and tell them to tell their friends. Let them know about our web site, blog, myspace, etc. and ask them to visit us, and if they like what they see, make a contribution on-line.