Freshman Sean Fleetham’s hobby is not only fun, but it’s also benefiting the world


Evan Houle

Seabury Hall freshman Sean Fleetham pursues his passion for filmmaking through his involvment with Maui Huliau.

Maui Huliau

Evan Houle, Staff Writer

Perseverance. Determination. Endurance. These are just a few traits that Sean Fleetham possesses. He needs everyone of these traits to survive the Seabury Hall workload paired with making films for Maui Huliau.

Fleetham is a freshman attending Seabury Hall. He loves living on Maui, and he cherishes the Seabury Hall community. Fleetham has been at Seabury since sixth grade and has made great friends over the years. “All the great friends I have that support me in everything I do,” he said.

Fleetham has earned academic success at Seabury, but it is truly his dedication to
extracurricular activities that sets him apart from his peers. He not only participates in sports and clubs, but he also does activities that help him experience Maui’s nature. “I like going to the beach. I like hiking in the forest by my house. It’s extraordinary,” said Fleetham.

Fleetham is part of an organization called Maui Huliau, which is a nonprofit organization that aims to aid Maui’s environment while teaching kids new skills, such as film making. Fleetham explained that, “Maui Huliau is an organization that teaches kids about the environment through making films, going on hikes, and participating in beach cleanups.”

With many different clubs in Maui Huliau, Fleetham is specifically part of the Huliau Environmental Filmmaking Club. “What I am focusing on right now is just making films,” Fleetham said. “I haven’t gone on any hikes without filming lately. I’m focusing on educating people about the issues going on in the environment.”

Maui Huliau is a perfect balance of work and fun. Fleetham is making new friends because of how tight-knit his group is and all the time they spend together. “I enjoy making friends at Maui Huliau,” he said. He also believes that Maui Huliau is helping his confidence. “I’m learning how to talk with strangers better,” he shared.

While at Maui Huliau, Fleetham has uncovered new reasons to make these films. “When I first joined Maui Huliau, I just wanted to make films. I wasn’t as interested in the environmental aspect of Maui Huliau. But once I joined, I got a passion for helping the environment,” he admitted.

Alan Hodara, a Seabury Hall English teacher and Maui Huliau’s president of the board, suggests that Maui Huliau greatly benefits its students. “It’s an after school program, so it is providing something that that students may not get in school,” Hodara stated.

Maui Huliau introduces new skills to its students. Hodara elaborated, “It helps [students] focus on their interests and passions, and all these kids are very concerned about environmental issues on this island. This is a way for them to actually do something.”

Hodara hopes that students from Seabury will join Maui Huliau. “I want to invite all Seabury students to check [Maui Huliau] out. Go to the website. Look at the programs. Especially if you’re interested in film,” he encouraged.

Fleetham’s most recent film is one called “Distress Call.” “It’s a film about climate change. It’s geared toward the younger audience,” he said. He understands the importance of targeting the younger generation because they are the ones who will inherit the responsibility of keeping this planet healthy.

This film was selected for an award on the mainland for its ability to entertain children while also explaining environmental issues.

“My film got chosen to be in the Wild and Scenic Film Festival in Nevada City, California. My film earned the Kid’s Choice Award. The adults voted for their favorite film, and the kids voted for their favorite film, and [the kids] voted for our [film]. That was our goal, because our film was geared towards the younger audience,” Fleetham explained.

Another upcoming film from Fleetham is a film about watersheds. “The Maui Huliau foundation just got a quadcopter and we are going to the rainforest soon and flying that quadcopter for some B-roll. I’m just pumped!” Fleetham exclaimed. Fleetham hopes that this film will outdo all the other work he has done at Maui Huliau.

“I definitely have a goal. I want it to get into several film festivals because I feel like this [film] is going to be a great one,” Fleetham said.

Fleetham also has personal goals for his success as a filmmaker. “I want to be more comfortable around the strangers that I am interviewing. Right now, I am a little bit too shy. I think I can definitely work on that,” Fleetham admitted.

Looking deeper into life, Fleetham hopes that filmmaking will play a big role in his life. “When I graduate high school, my goal is to create some animation films, so it’s a huge part of my life,” he said.

Fleetham has plenty of practice in animation films, and even created one for his eighth grade project. He loves animation, and gets better at it every day. “I love the simplicity of animation. It brings out so much information in that simplicity,” he said.

His skills in the art of animation are only growing. A major part of that growth is due to Maui Huliau. “In my last film, I made a couple of animations, and I learned a lot of stuff about animation,” Fleetham revealed.

In the future, Fleetham will look for his skills to improve as both a filmmaker and animator. With his talents growing, don’t be surprised if you see the name Sean Fleetham on the big screen in the future.