Nominee Name:
Donne Dawson
Film Commission:
Hawai’i Film Office
Term Nomination:
2 Year Term

Nominee's Professional Brief

Nominee Professional Biography

For nearly 20 years I’ve committed to building a strong sustainable film industry for the state of Hawai’i. Under my leadership as manager of the Hawai’i Film Office and state film commissioner, Hawai’i’s film and digital media industry has generated more than $5B for Hawai‘i’s economy. My office administers a unique consolidated statewide permitting system and a 13-year-old production tax credit program. My office also manages the Hawai‘i Film Studio, home of Hawai‘i 5-0, now in its 10th season. Over the years, I’ve secured more than $14M in capital improvement funds to renovate the Studio, the only state owned and operated facility of its kind in the country. I’m also helping to produce a Hawaiian Handbook, a cultural protocol guide for producers filming in Hawai‘i.

Prior to serving as state film commissioner, I held positions as journalist, producer and media relations professional. I was born and raised in Honolulu and a lifelong student of hula and Hawaiian language.

Professional Knowledge, Skill sets, and Strategic planning Experience

I know how hard it is to be a successful film commissioner. My years of experience supporting difficult productions given Hawai‘i’s environmental and cultural sensitivities, as well as managing a competitive tax credit program will be helpful to my fellow AFCI film commissioners. My experience as a writer, media relations professional and strategic planner within the state government framework will also help AFCI.

I have served the past two years on the AFCI board during its most difficult period of transition. My background and expertise have been put to good use to assist AFCI in becoming a stronger, more focused and financial sound organization.

Which areas of AFCI activities and programs do you think are of the most strategic importance to you and why?

AFCI cannot be all things to all people. It needs to hone and focus its responsibilities to better serve its membership. AFCI should be the subject matter expert for all things “Film Commission” so it MUST place its energy in those areas that pose the greatest threat and challenge to film commissions worldwide. Meaningful Continuing Education is critical for film commissioners to be properly armed with necessary tools to do their difficult multifaceted jobs. We need to address the certified film commissioner program and decide how best to bifurcate the program so the CFC designation is earned by actual film commissioners. Other film office staff would be provided the same opportunities for training in this area but their designation would be slightly different, perhaps certified film commission associate or CFCA and they could work up to a CFC. There needs to be distinction between those who are actual CERTIFIED FILM COMMISSIONERS and those working toward that goal of CFC.

What is most appealing to you about serving on the board of directors?

My experience and know-how gained from years of service to the State of Hawai‘i will help me continue to support AFCI’s Board to better serve the diverse group of film commissioners who comprise AFCI. Proper funding and sustainability in that vein will be key. Solid Continuing Education particularly in areas of crisis management, tax credit programs, community sensitivities, solid locations management and use of UAS (drones) for commercial filming top my priority list.