Cane Fire

90 mins.
Directed by Anthony Banua-Simon

Director Anthony Banua-Simon joins us in person for a post-screening Q&A.

Free to Amherst Cinema Members.

The Hawaiian island of Kaua’i is seen as a paradise of leisure and pristine natural beauty, but these escapist fantasies obscure the colonial displacement, hyper-exploitation of workers, and destructive environmental extraction that have actually shaped life on the island for the last 250 years.

CANE FIRE critically examines the island’s history—and the various strategies by which Hollywood has represented it—through four generations of director Anthony Banua-Simon’s family, who first immigrated to Kaua’i from the Philippines to work on the sugar plantations.

Assembled from a diverse array of sources—from Banua-Simon’s observational footage, to amateur Youtube travelogues, to epic Hollywood dance sequences—CANE FIRE offers a kaleidoscopic portrait of the economic and cultural forces that have cast indigenous and working class residents as extras in their own story.

Anthony Banua-Simon is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and editor named one of Filmmaker Magazine's 2021 “25 New Faces of Independent Film.” His debut feature documentary, CANE FIRE, was an official selection of the 2020 Hot Docs International Film Festival as well as the 2021 MoMA Doc Fortnight and won Best Documentary Feature at the 2020 Indie Memphis Film Festival and the 2021 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. His films have also screened at venues such as the Brooklyn Museum and MoMA PS1, as well as featured on The Criterion Channel, MUBI, Jacobin, Pioneer Work's “The Broadcast,” and HuffPost.

Anthony attended The Evergreen State College and was a fellow at the UnionDocs Collaborative Studio Program. He's currently a member of the volunteer-run Spectacle Theater in Brooklyn, NY.

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit