Meet Kauai’s Creatives

Garden Isle residents Serge Marcil (left) and Nadya Wynd — members of Creative Lab Hawai‘i’s creative immersive programs — discuss their latest projects, what inspires them and the importance of fostering creativity.

Creative Lab Hawai‘i is taking the careers of talented artists to the next level. The state-led program — which focuses on enhancing the work of those within the media, music and fashion industries — recently wrapped its immersive programs for writers and producers at Kaua‘i Marriott Resort.

“I hit the jackpot to be able to take advantage of this,” says Nadya Wynd, who was one of four individuals selected to attend the Writers Immersive.

CLH was founded in 2012 in order to help expand the creative community and diversify the state’s economy.

“So it’s not all in the tourism basket,” adds Wynd.

Kaua‘i’s Serge Marcil and Jeff Orig of O‘ahu take part in Creative Lab Hawai‘i’s Producers Immersive.

Participants are given the knowledge and skills it takes to succeed as creative entrepreneurs. The first step is taking that leap of faith and applying to be a part of the free, yearlong program, which includes the opportunity to attend immersive workshops that provide intensive, boot camp-style, hands-on training conducted by industry experts.

“I feel so fortunate and have such gratitude that our state is willing to invest in creative artists,” says Wynd.

The Kaua‘i resident was also part of CLH last year, when she attended a weekend program that included professional coaching. She was selected based on her play, Ghost of the Sinclair Plantation, which she was able to adapt into a feature-length screenplay after attending the workshop.

Since then, she’s been working hard on developing the final product and submitted it as part of her application for this year’s program. With the help of CLH, her goal this year is to progress her work even further and create an action plan to get a movie funded and into pre-production.

Serge Marcil and Nadya Wynd are the only two Garden Isle residents chosen to take part in this year’s Creative Lab Hawai‘i immersive programs for writers and producers.

She says CLH is incredibly professional, and Wynd is confident that she’ll be able to achieve her goals. She’s received not only the inspiration she needs to succeed, but also the empowerment and a chance for professionals in the industry to give her feedback on the multiple and complex steps of the process.

Serge Marcil, another Kaua‘i resident who was selected to be a part of CLH, recently attended the Producers Immersive and shares similar sentiments.

“It’s like going back to school, but this is like a Ph.D.,” he says. “They are trying to bring us to the big leagues.”

Marcil, who has experience as a documentary director, has been working on an entirely new genre and style of film. It’s new territory for him, but he says he’s learning many new tricks of the trade that will help him accomplish his goal of getting his feature dramatic film (complete with action and science fiction) onto the big screen.

“It’s completely out of my box and comfort zone,” he says. “This is perfect for me. It’s the missing link.”

Marcil says he’s learned about the budgeting process, writing and pitching scripts, and everything else that goes into launching a film. There are six people who were part of the immersive he participated in, and Marcil says he appreciated the fact that everyone worked together rather than against one another.

“It’s almost like Shark Tank, but it’s not competitive. We’re here to help each other,” he says.

CLH executive director Michael Palmieri is impressed by Wynd and Marcil, who were the only two CLH applicants from Kaua‘i selected this year. Palmieri, for his part, has been designing, facilitating and producing “talent development programs” for creatives for more than 20 years. He’s been involved in a number of projects, including helping produce the movie Six Days, Seven Nights. His background enables him to recognize talent when he sees it.

“Nadya’s passion for indigenous people, especially Native Hawaiians, is a key component of her screenplay, titled Ghost of the Sinclair Plantation, which was based on her play,” says Marcil.

“Her background in media, commitment to be of service to others, and desire to continue her journey as a creative entrepreneur to turn her screenplay into a motion picture are some of the major reasons she was chosen to participate in the Writers Immersive program,” he adds of Wynd. “She has been a big proponent of the arts in Kaua‘i and a pleasure with whom to work.”

He also has high praise for Marcil, whom he met about five years ago.

“When he (Marcil) found out what Creative Lab Hawai‘i was about, he made it his mission to bring it to Kaua‘i,” says Palmieri. “His screenplay, titled Within, his background as a documentary television director, his passion for anthropology, and desire to support the arts on Kaua‘i are some of the reasons he was chosen to participate in the Producers Immersive program. Serge is a doer, and I am certain he will come to write, direct, and produce his project.”

CLH will continue to mentor Wynd and Marcil for the duration of the year by initiating regular long-distance group meetings and scheduling one-on-one conversations with Palmieri.

“He’s the best teacher, mentor and coach that I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with,” says Wynd of Palmieri.

She’s thrilled to be a part of CLH and knows that it will help open doors.

“I’ve always had that wish to do more film,” she adds. “This has given me the impetus to say, ‘I can do this.'”

Visit creativelab.hawaii.gov for more information.