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Spec pilot about grandmothers looking to cast on Kaua‘i

LIHU’E — The producers of a possible new travel and food series centered around grandmothers are looking to cast an “extraordinary” Kaua‘i grandmother to fill a major role, as they consider shooting the spec pilot episode on the island later this fall.

“The concept is really wonderful and really simple,” said Matthew Alvarez, a documentary producer working on the project.

The series, currently titled “Just This Much” plans to follow different grandmothers from different parts of the country and world, as they share a favorite recipe alongside a story of a meaningful event from their life.

“Grandmothers always have a lot of wisdom and life experience and things to share,” said Alvarez. “And we really want to kind of honor and capture that.”

Kaua‘i has been selected as a top domestic filming location for the pilot episode, alongside New Mexico and Maine. Alvarez is planning for each episode to also include an international location, with Turkey, Uruguay and Ireland also being considered.

“We’re not locals to these places. And we rely in many ways on the community to help us find and uplift the people in the communities,” he said.

“We’re doing this outreach to figure out where we’re going to go and who we want to film with. So we have those three locations to kind of give us the flexibility to figure that out,” he added.

According to Alvarez, his production team has partnered with travel agency Expedia, who will provide funding and travel support to get the pilot episode made.

“Hawai‘i was one that (Expedia) felt very strongly about,” he said.

Alvarez stated the production team is looking to film in places that are “underrepresented in the media,” adding that TV and media coverage on Hawai‘i is usually given to O‘ahu, Hawai‘i Island and Maui.

“I’ve never been (to Kaua‘i), but from everything that we’ve heard from some locals that we’ve talked to and some partners that we know that have been there, it just seems like a really extraordinary place,” said Alvarez, who lives in Los Angeles.

He noted being open to casting a grandmother living on a different island in the state, but they are placing a “heavy focus” on finding a grandmother on Kaua‘i.

“We just want to show that incredible talent and skill that Hawaiian grandmothers have, and really celebrate the cuisine of Hawai‘i and the culture of Hawai‘i,” he said. “We want to spotlight the incredible role that grandmothers play in communities and in families.”

Alvarez aims to have the locations and cast set later this month, as he plans on having the pilot filmed during a one-week period in mid-November.

Although the whole production team is currently Los Angeles-based, Alvarez intends to hire locally to fill some members of the approximately 10- to 15-person crew.

He emphasized that the series will be a “really beautiful way to honor culture and tradition in different places around the country and ultimately around the world.”

His plan is for the series to eventually be sold to a streaming service, such as Apple or Netflix, with the pilot being used as a proof of concept.

Anyone interested in applying or nominating a grandmother can visit www.grandmacookingshow.com.

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Emma Grunwald, reporter, can be reached at 808-652-0638 or egrunwald@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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