“My parents obviously took a big, big risk.”
“Finding Ohana” is the wildly charming adventure film on Netflix that follows a pair of Hawaiian siblings searching for buried treasure, but end up discovering something much more valuable along the way: their cultural heritage.
And Alex Aiono, who stars as Ioane Kawena, knows all about the importance of family bonds after his own made “huge” sacrifices for the singer/songwriter/actor to be featured in his first full-length movie.
“I have one of the most amazing families,” the 24-year-old YouTube sensation told TooFab. “I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive family. Being 14 years old, living in Arizona and wanting to move to Los Angeles for a dream that a lot of people have — and quite honestly, a lot of people don’t really get to follow through with — so having a family that saw me at 14 years old and said, ‘Yeah, let’s do it.'”
“My parents obviously took a big, big risk,” he continued. “They had friends and family members who thought maybe they shouldn’t be doing something like that. So they had to fight their own battle for me to get there.”
Alex’s three sisters were also an integral part of the sacrifice, as their “whole lives changed” when they left their friends and school behind to move to another city.
“So I feel very grateful that I’ve had moments that they can also celebrate, not just for me, but for themselves, because they also took a huge risk for me to come out here and it could have ended terribly, you know.”
He added, “I’m so grateful that I get to do what I love every single day, but I’m also so grateful that I have an amazing family who took a huge sacrifice, took a huge risk and hopefully now can look at it and say, yeah, it was a good move.”
It appears the Aiono family was indeed on the right track, as Alex’s role in “Finding Ohana” is not only a lead one, but a chance to shine in a big budget production from Netflix that Variety called an “homage to adventure movies like “The Goonies,” “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” and “Tomb Raider.”
And not only is Alex grateful for the opportunity to be a part of a grand Hollywood movie, he’s also humbled by the idea of providing a source of entertainment in such a time as the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m hoping that this movie can serve to a lot of families as a miniature escape from the real world for a second,” he explained. “To have two hours to hug their kids and everybody laugh and have a good moment. I think that it could potentially do that for people.”