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Buttons Kaluhiokalani Surfing Documentary – Project and Campaign




Buttons Kaluhiokalani was a Hawaiian surfer known worldwide as a pioneer of modern surfing. Buttons’ life-story is a prime example that truth is stranger than fiction. After a life of controversy and admiration by all he met, it was decided to make a documentary compiled of personal stories from friends, ohana (family) and fans about the Man, the Myth and the Legend of Buttons.





BUDGET: Total $150k



A filmmaker’s process of dealing with the loss of a dear friend and surfing legend Montgomery “BUTTONS” Kaluhiokalani.  This film represents the chance to say a final “ALOHA” while leaving a proper legacy for all those who loved him or never got the chance to meet him.

In addition to your pledge of support to help make the film, all proceeds from the film will go towards Button’s kids and these charities:

  • adde9wx0yrdizfwh56xpProducer/Director Chris Frank will not receive any salary or compensation, as his own way of “Giving Back” in BUTTON’S name.




In 2013, Director Chris Frank was struck with liver disease and was fighting for his life. Unbeknownst to Chris, his friend Buttons was also fighting his own battle with lung cancer.

After being in a near-death coma for 10 weeks, Chris awoke in the Intensive Care Unit with an unexplained urge to reach out to his friend Buttons, to no avail. The very next day, he was informed of Buttons’ passing. That was the day Chris knew he had to make this documentary, it is the closest he’ll get to being able to say aloha to Buttons.

Out of respect for ohana and friends, Chris waited a year before contacting any of Buttons’ loved ones. After making a plan for the film to benefit Button’s kids and the charities he cared about, Chris was given the blessings to proceed.


Development and pre-production started in Minneapolis, MN where Chris lives and has established relations with a prominent production-company and crew for this Project.  (see crew list for info)

The bulk of the the production, filming interviews is already on course, prior to this crowd-funding campaign. In October and December, principal-photography will be in California. All of November is scheduled in Oahu, Hawaii on the famous North Shore, where Buttons called home.

Post-production: editing, animation, visual effects, sound and music will take place at Token Media in Minneapolis, Mn. This will make the project the first ever surfing film made in Minnesota!


Right now!  Principal-photography will be completed in December 2016. Post-production will begin in January 2017 and is estimated for 6 months. Then, we will have a premiere and tour the film at different festivals around the world!


That’s where you come in. Making a film is not cheap. There’s no way around that. In order to make this film we’ll need to raise money for production and post-production costs.

Making a feature film is not easy.  If it was, everyone would be doing it. They are not, but motivations for this project run deep and sure.


This project is compiled of a broad range of individuals: surfers, family, friends, industry professional and a fan base that is worldwide.  Buttons was a unique and special character, in and out of the surf world.  Buttons made so many friends and fans from here to there, and everyone has a special story. We are trying to get as many as we can.  If you have a special story you’d like to share, please contact the filmmaker, ASAP.

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