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Under the Boardwalk: A Ukulele Love Story (2011)

This heartfelt film tells the story of how a small house party in an out of the way town in California grows into the biggest ukulele club in the world.

It is also the story of how a small instrument makes a long journey from Portugal to Hawaii to the mainland, lands in people’s hearts, and creates a uniquely Hawaiian-American musical tradition that is currently experiencing a world wide revival.


The Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz and the ukulele instrument itself are the two main characters of the film. Their stories are intercut, as both overcome humble beginnings to meet with unlikely success. The two stories add up to a tale of love and community that develops through the joy people find making music together.

Featuring guest appearances from Grammy Winner George Kahumoku, Bill Tapia, Ian Whitcomb, Herb Ohta Jr., Patti Maxine, L’il Rev, Tony Graziano, Rick Turner and more.

Under the Boardwalk: A Ukulele Love Story (2011)

  • Duration: 76 minutes

    Directed by Nina Koocher

  • Where to Rent/Buy

  • Awards

    • WINNER 2012 Audience Award: Best Locally Produced Film - Santa Cruz Film Festival
    • OFFICIAL SELECTION - Carmel Art & Film Festival
  • Critic Reviews

    “No other film covers the ukulele phenomenon the way Nina Koocher’s lovingly-presented “Under the Boardwalk” does. It’s fun, it’s funny, and it’s moving, with the people behind the Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz telling the Club’s story as though they’d just dropped by your home for a chat (and a strum or two).”

    — Rob Sawyer aka Ukulele Rob (Blogger)


     “My objection to this documentary is that it was hard to watch, take notes, and at the same time, horse around with my Makala Soprano. Happily, this charming, winning documentary has a place for those armed with ukes to join in.”

    — Richard von Busack,


    "We laughed and cried… this stands as a great reminder that we can strengthen the fabric of our communities through song, music is the great healer, it is a bridge builder like no other!”

    — Li’l Rev, Musician, Wisconsin


    “I’ve watched it twice and I can’t wait to show it to my friends. It’s a wonderful film, filled with empathy, good music and warm humor.”

    — Lewis Shepard, Art Appraiser Boston, Massachusetts


    “Bravissima! The best “feel good” movie I’ve seen in ages!”

    — Sharon Brooks, Music Instructor, San Jose State College, California


    “Under The Boardwalk is a delightful, humorous documentary about the little musical instrument that could.”

    — Mary McCaslin, Singer-Songwriter



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