HIFF presented the opportunity for filmmakers across the world to showcase their talent and provide audiences with an in-depth look into a different world. Local artists gravitate to the opportunity, Devin Graham and the Mozo family premiered their film, Transcend: The Jon Mozo Story at the 2016 Hawaii International Film Festival. It was met with great admiration during the opening night, the family in attendance, their spirit exemplified the film.
Through beautiful wave imagery similar to the photographs of Jon Mozo, his life was paid tribute by focusing on his life views and what was most important. Family, fear, God and the ocean cultivated within the film. His first priority was shown through interviews of those closest to him. He made an impact on everyone he met with his kindness and passion for life in the ocean. This was especially apparent when they traveled to Tahiti and met with the locals who can remember Jon Mozo as a spectacular man whose kindness changed them forever. His fear for the ocean fed his love and respect for ‘her’, the other woman Jon Mozo’s wife was able to accept. Facing fears and breaking the tipping point meant that Jon had fulfilled his time here on Earth.
The film projected the type of man Jon Mozo was creatively, passionately, and vividly. For first time filmmaker, Devin Graham, he admitted during the Q&A that it was their first time viewing the film on the bigger screen and changes needed to be made. They confessed they scrapped the editing 2 months prior and restarted. It was apparent through the film that the editing had some work to clean up. Many times, I found where the film would have had a great transition to the ending it continued on with more interviews and new concepts similar to the ones they had introduced.
Considering this to be the premier efforts for Graham, the film possessed qualities that were crucial for great story telling. Jon Mozo is a character whose story needs to be told so his legacy can continue on for his family, friends and those who consider themselves an ocean lover.