HIFF to feature 150 films for this years festival


HIFF shows feature films, documentaries and short films of all genres and from countries all around the world.

The Hawaii International Film Festival kicks off in Oahu on Oct. 30, and if film is your thing you wouldn’t want to miss it. HIFF choose and average of 150 features, documentaries and short films of all genres and from countries around the world. The festival also focuses on local artists and student video productions.

The festival starts its screenings on Oct. 30 and finishes on Nov 9. The tickets are $12 for the general public; $10 for students, seniors (62+) and military; and $8 for HIFF Ohana Members. The screenings will be held at in the Oahu area.

“I think it is great that they show local productions and showcase the local artists. It gives students something to strive for,” said Kimberly Lima, 46, a Hawaii International Film Festival goer since the ‘80s.

In 2014 the festival is being held for the 34th time. According to Lima, the festival used to be a lot smaller and the films were shown during lunchtime. The festival has always had a focus on Asian films from Japan, China, and the local Hawaii culture. In recent years the festival has grown and now features films from all over the world.

“It is really a way of exposing what is going on in different cultures and the films would usually show parts of their culture,” Lima said.

On opening night this year, HIFF will show “The Vancouver Asahi”, which is a historic drama about sports. The Japanese film tells the story of the Japanese Asahi baseball team based in Vancouver in the years before the World War II. The team struggled with poverty and discrimination, but when playing baseball they won and lifted up the whole community. Since this is the opening film, the screening time is Thursday Oct. 30, at 8 p.m. at Consolidated Ward theater.

The centerpiece film this year is “The Imitation Game”, which is a biography of the brilliant Alan Turing. He was a mathematician who was hired by the British military to break Nazi codes. Turing played by Benedict Cumberbatch (“Sherlock”, “Star Trek Into Darkness”), leads a group of misfit geniuses including Joan Clarke played by Keira Knightley (“Pirates of the Caribbean”) in solving the codes that will win the war. “The Imitation Game” has screenings on Wednesday, Nov. 5 and on Sunday, Nov. 9, at Dole Cannery.

The film that has the honor of closing the festival is “Visions in the Dark: The Life of Pinky Thompson.” It is a documentary and biography about Pinky Thompson as he has been an important character for the Native Hawaiians. The film deals with social issues and how Thompson strengthened the pride of Native Hawaiians. The screening is on Sunday Nov. 9.

“I always tried to see local films to support local artists,” Lima said. “I really like animated films so this year I’m excited to see “LAVA”, the animated film from Pixar about the volcanoes.”

The film festival is more than just screenings but also includes workshops with experts, panels to talk to the producers and artists, different programs and exhibitions.

“To be able to get expert classes in film making is amazing, such opportunities doesn’t come along too often,” Lima said.

This year the festival also has a new program called “New Frontiers Program”, which focuses on exploring diverse global Islamic communities using media arts. There will be six films that have the Islamic culture and community in focus. During the whole festival the work of three artists from the Islamic world (Sama Alshaibi, Hasan Elahi and Arahmaiani) will also be displayed at Kaka’ako, Cooke Street. As part of the “New Frontiers Program” there will also be free panel discussions on Saturday, Nov. 1 and Sunday, Nov. 2 about media and art in the Islamic communities.

Another program that the festival puts on is the “New American Filmmakers Program” presented by the Vilcek Foundation. The program looks at how immigrants contribute to contemporary American Cinema. The main event for this program is the screening of “The Artist,” which will be followed by a Master Class with the producer Antoine de Cazotte.

For more information, go to the HIFF website.

Trailers for the films:

“The Vancouver Asahi”

“The Imitation Game”

“Visions in the Dark: The Life of Pinky Thompson”