EDMONDS, Washington (STPNS) -- You may not know Victoria and Cal Lewin yet – they’re fairly new to Edmonds – but you will soon.

The two filmmakers own Opticus Media Corporation, a company that produces public television documentaries, museum exhibit videos and corporate and commercial media.

Their latest film, “Great Grandfather’s Drum,” has already  won numerous awards and honors and will be shown by PBS Hawaii for the next three years.

“Great Grandfather’s Drum” is a documentary that  celebrates Japanese-American  culture and history in Hawaii.



It’s a story of struggle and success – of plantation life, patriotic heroism during World War II, and helping to create statehood for Hawaii.

The story is told through an intimate portrait of Maui Tailo, a contemporary Japanese-American drum ensemble made up of descendants of plantation workers.

The filmmakers travel to Japan with them, on a journey seeking their ancestral roots.

It was filmed partially in Fukushima, Japan, shortly before the earthquake/tsunami.

In addition:

•    Hawaiian Airlines will also be showing the film on their flights to Japan daily for the next year.

•    KIKU – TV (Japanese channel) has been broadcasting the film in Hawaii.

•    The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii just concluded a museum exhibit centered on the film.

•    “Great Grandfather’s Drum” was selected for screening at the Yamagata Film Festival in Japan, the largest film festival in Asia.

•    Just won the highest honors in its class at the national 2011 Telly Awards (out of 13,000 applicants).

•    Will be showing multiple times at Aki Matsuri (a fall festival  celebrating Japan's rich cultural heritage) in Bellevue.

•    Selected for showing at the Cultural Engagement Film Series in Ballard.

•    Is being used to help raise funds for the earthquake/tsunami, and has raised more than $25,000 so far.

But there’s more to the Lewins than a hit movie.

They moved to Edmonds three years ago from Hawaii, but because of their work, spend a lot of time away from home.

They’ve been filmmakers for more than 30 years,  producing public television films such as “The World in a Box,” “Standing Together,” and “Sam Fox- The Life and Art of a Yup’ik Eskimo.”

“We specialize in telling a story,” Victoria Lewin said. “We love doing cross-cultural projects.”

She says they are happy to run a business in Edmonds.

“We work all over and love coming home to Edmonds,” Victoria Lewin said. “When we moved from Hawaii we knew we wanted to locate here.”

She also said they’d like to do more work locally.

The Lewins’ films have won awards at the New York Film and TV Festival, the Milan International Film Festival, the Houston International Film Festival, Aurora Awards, Eastman Kodak and the Advertising Club of New York.

“We really just hope to let the Edmonds community know that we are Edmonds filmmakers who live and do business here in this wonderful community,” Victoria Lewin said.

Their business website is http://www.opticus.tv.  

There is a three-minute preview of “Great Grandfather’s Drum” at  http://www.enma.org/2011/specialevents/film/ggd.htm