The 29th Annual Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival to Showcase Bikinian Film

The Sound of Crickets at NightMicrowave Films of the Marshall Islands announced the screening date for its latest film at the 29th annual ASIAN PACIFIC FILM FESTIVAL in Los Angeles.

The Sound of Crickets at Night (Ainikien Jidjid ilo Boñ), the fourth Marshallese feature film directed and produced by the Majuro team of Jack Niedenthal and Suzanne Chutaro that features a story about the people of Bikini Atoll, will be showcased on Wednesday, May 8, 7 p.m., at the CVG theaters in L.A. (Koreatown).

“If you have friends and family in the LA area, tell them to come:  We want to fill the theater like we managed to do in Hawaii, Guam and New York:  The more people in the theater, the more fun it is to watch!” said Niedenthal.

The Sound of Crickets at Night, which premiered at the Marshall Islands Resort in Majuro on September 7, 2012, will also be featured  at the 2013 Big Island Film Festival in Hawaii on Sunday May 26th.  Niedenthal, who wrote all the original screenplays, said they are ready to shoot the next feature film, JILEL (The Shell).

The mission of Microwave Films, according to its website, is:
  • To encourage residents of the Marshall Islands to explore the Marshallese culture and life in the Marshall Islands through the medium of film.
  • To help support the educational, cultural and other institutions of the Marshall Islands via feature-length and short films, commercial, news and infomercial production.
  • To develop, encourage and promote the culture of the Marshall Islands through the medium of film.

“To date, Microwave Films has donated over $25,000 to the Majuro Cooperative School in the Marshall Islands from our film endeavors, which has helped the school with everything from general expenses to graduations and college entrance test exam fees,“ said Niedenthal.
(Note: Parts of the above story taken from Yokwe Online post of March 21, 2013)

*Information for the Los Angeles showing:
621 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90005


Ainikien Jidjid ilo Boñ (The Sound of Crickets at Night) is the story of a family displaced as a result of  nuclear testing on Bikini Atoll and now living in exile on Ejit Island on Majuro Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

Kali, a darling-though-curious 10-year-old Bikinian girl, watches in dismay as her mother and father argue bitterly, then finally separate and leave the island.

Left alone to care for her elderly grandfather, Jebuki, who has been hiding a life-threatening illness, Kali deteriorates, refusing to eat, work or play. Fearing for his granddaughter’s wellbeing, Jebuki makes a desperate decision to summon Worejabato, an ancient deity from Bikini Atoll. Appearing in the form of an unshaven American stranger, Worejabato washes up on the beach on Ejit Island, and is discovered by Kali. The deity immediately begins to weave his way into Kali’s life, but wishes from Worejabato do not come for free. 

What will Jebuki promise to Worejabato to ensure Kali’s happiness?

The 80 minute feature film in the Marshallese language (with English subtitles) stars numerous Bikinians including:
*Former Mayor of Bikini Atoll Alson Kelen (Lead character)
*Executive Council Member Banjo Joel (Lead character)
*Trust Liaison for the people of Bikini Jack Niedenthal (Lead character, Co-director, Co-Producer, Writer)
*Salome Fakatou (10 years old, Lead character)
*Lulani Ritok (17 years old, Supporting actor and lead singer in much of the music)
*Over 20 other Bikinians star in various minor roles

L to R: Jack Niedenthal, Karen Earnshaw, Alson Kelen, Banjo Joel and Salome Fakatou receive the GOLDEN HONU AWARD for Best Family Feature Film at the 2013 Big Island Film Festival in Hawaii.

L to R: Jack Niedenthal, Karen Earnshaw, Alson Kelen, Banjo Joel and Salome Fakatou receive the GOLDEN HONU AWARD for Best Family Feature Film at the 2013 Big Island Film Festival in Hawaii.


-Big Island Film Festival (Hawaii), WINNER, GOLDEN HONU AWARD for BEST FAMILY FEATURE FILM, May 2013
-Guam International Film Festival, WINNER, GRAND JURY AWARD FOR ACHIEVEMENT IN ACTING, September 2012
-Moondance International Film Festival, WINNER, ATLANTIS AWARD FOR FOREIGN FILMS, September 2012
-Hawaii International Film Festival, OFFICIAL SELECTION, October 2012
-Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, OFFICIAL SELECTION, May 2013
-Northern California International Film Festival, OFFICIAL SELECTION, February 2013
-Asia Pacific Screen Awards, IN COMPETITION, November 2012

Here is the website for the film:
Here is the trailer:

Facebook page for Microwave Films of the Marshall Islands


The new film by Jack Niedenthal and Suzanne Chutaro, The Sound of Crickets at Night,  marks a new chapter in the history of Marshallese film. This meditation on loss and emotional deprivation represents the first attempt to articulate on the screen the pain the Marshallese have endured for generations and continue to endure in the 21st century. It is also a movie that is both beautifully imagined and sensitively composed: attributes that make it the first cinematic poem to come out of the Marshall Islands, and the single most ambitious film originating in this country to date... What both domestic and foreign audiences will  come to recognize by the end of this film is that the history of Marshallese exile is not merely history; it is also the present.

-Peter Sutoris, Filmmaker (The Undiscovered Country), August 2012
Read full review

THE SOUND OF CRICKETS AT NIGHT skillfully balances deadly radiation with the supernatural, family dysfunction with innocence, and isolation with inner peace. The results are oddly charming yet shadowed by darkness so that it never becomes cloying.  It recalls the restrained wonder of renowned Thai director Apichatpong Weerasthakul, as further tempered by the darkness of David Lynch. The fantastic, arty, and appeal is further carried out by a cast of local, nonprofessional actors playing themselves.  A priest plays the priest, while city workers and council people take on similar roles… What really makes the movie work is kids acting like kids— a miracle even in films with big budgets… THE SOUND OF CRICKETS AT NIGHT is rich with culture, heart, and intelligence.

-Martin Wong, Co-founder of Giant Robot Magazine, May 2013
Read full review

Marshall Islands-based filmmakers Jack Niedenthal and Suzanne Chutaro have created a provocative and moving drama  that weaves three stories of loss and rue into a memorable work of art… They brush across profound emotional issues – family disintegration, isolation, loss of self-identity and homeland, and the embrace of faith when man-made solutions fail – and plumb their territory with a low-keyed sensitivity that echoes the classic works of Satyajit Ray… Although the cast is made up of nonprofessionals, the ensemble is first-rate… This small and remarkable film is one of the year’s most engaging under-the-radar gems.

-Phil Hall, Film Threat, October 2012
Read entire review

“The Sound of Crickets at Night is part folk tale, part history lesson and part spiritual parable… Charming… Very well done… Pretty amazing… I give it high marks both for the impact it makes as a narrative and its use of a history that’s quickly falling towards the way of myth.”

-Misty Layne, Rogue Cinema, December 2012
Read entire review

The Sound of Crickets at Night at the Hawaii International Film Festival last week… Beautiful local music, skilled photography and a great supporting cast made this  film a total delight while addressing serious issues of life in the Marshall Islands today.”

-Caroline Yacoe, Hawaii, October 2012
read full review



~ by bikinijack on April 24, 2013.

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