To You Sweetheart, Aloha

Can life begin again at age 94?
Year Released
Film Length(s)
57 mins
Remote video URL


Bill Tapia, a 94-year-old Hawaiian jazz pioneer, gave up on music—thinking that life wasn’t really worth much after his wife of 63 years and his only daughter passed away within two years of each other. But when he befriends 26-year-old Alyssa, a Hapa-Hawaiian woman with a special connection to Bill’s past, he rediscovers his musical passion and youthful spirit. He begins a gripping journey back to his full potential, as a musician and as a man living an active life despite his advanced age and failing body.

Featured review

A must see for all aging people, who are all of us.
Doris Bersing
Executive Director, Pacific Institute, San Francisco


To You Sweetheart Aloha explores four themes:

* Productive Aging: Leaders in gerontology call Bill’s experience “productive aging”, an aging process where at 20, 50, or 95 one is socially engaged, is exercising body and brain to ensure high physical and mental function, and is expressing oneself creatively.

* Intergenerational Relationships: explore the sincere, unvarnished, and compelling dynamic between two people bound by culture, music, and a genuine affection for each other—in spite of their almost 70-year difference in age.

* Caretaking: the film exposes conflicts that can fester amongst caretakers and the elderly when there is growing loss of independence. It explores various caretaking roles while revealing misunderstandings that arise out of simple naïveté or self-preservation.

* Art and Aging: a musician is liberated from his personal loss by returning to performing and singing the music he loves. By using his art to entertain adoring audiences and to connect to a new generation, he experiences the joy and pain of life and revives himself in mind and body.


A very moving and personal story about a remarkable man.
John Berger
Honolulu Star-Bulletin
Kevin Thomas
Los Angeles Times
A gem!
LA Weekly
LA Weekly
Surprisingly poignant...
TimeOut Chicago
TimeOut Chicago
The wonderful lesson to be learned form this delightful film is that if Hawaiian musician Bill Tapia can create a new life for himself at age 94, we should all be inspired to live our lives as meaningfully as possible, despite our losses.
Sheila Malkind
Director, Legacy Film Series

Awards and Screenings

PBS National Broadcast
ASA-NCOA Join Conference Media Festival
Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (Audience Award)
Silver Images Film & Video Festival (Special Recognition Award, Documentary)
Hawi'i International Film Festival
Chicago Asian American Showcase
Singapore International Film Festival
WorldFilm, Estonia
Taipei Film Festival

Features and Languages

Film Features

  • DVD Extras

Promotional Material

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