Hawaii Film Blog

Friday, October 20, 2006

Hawaii Films at HIFF

Stephanie Castillo's "Strange Land: My Mother's War Bride Story"

The 26th Annual Louis Vuitton Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) kicked off last night with screenings of "Babel" and "Duelist." There are 254 films from 47 countries this year! How to choose what to watch? How about starting with films made in Hawaii or about Hawaii or by current or former Hawaii residents?

Hawaii Panorama 1
Fri, 10/20, 6:15pm

  • BARRY is the lovable drug dealer next door trying to impress a girl, and the latest short from prolific local filmmaker Gerard Elmore, whose "Valtor the Great vs. the Universe" won the best short film award at last year's HIFF.
  • RUCKUS is the name of a boy band made up of pathetic 30-somethings in this short by Dean Ishida.
  • CRIMINALLY INEPT is a comic caper set in metro Honolulu and the first feature by Iolani grad and current USC film school student Ryan Ishii. The film will be shown with related music video HIP HOP FELONS featuring a cameo by director and honorary local boy Bryan Singer ("Superman Returns," "X-Men"). There's also an after party for the film upstairs at the Dole Ballrooms.

Hawaii Panorama 2
Sun, 10/22, 3pm

  • THE INTRUDER (Titus Chong, 5 min) - A mysterious woman trespasses into a playboy's sloppy crib to clean up his act.
  • THE CLEANER (Martin Troy, 8 min) - Two hired guns sent to off a mobster get more than they bargained for.
  • SURVIVOR (Lena Kaneshiro, 4 min) - A local woman straddles two different worlds--the corporate world and her down-home hood--with ease.
  • THE ENEMY (Hanzo Hamamura, 10 min) - The "Chosen One" from Japan chop-sockys his way across Oahu.
  • THE GOOD OL' BOYS (Michael Perez, 13 min) - Goofballs bungle a break-in.
  • BROWN (Renato Fontaine, 10 min) - Fil-Am love triangle. Fontaine is a former ACM student whose film "Promise of Paradise" screened at HIFF last year
  • HER (Brett Wagner, 5 min) - NYU film school grad Wagner explores the gender-bending twists in an island couple's relationship. Originally screened at Showdown in Chinatown.
  • QUICK FIX (Andrew Ma and Vince Keala Lucero, 5 min) - An agitated man's missing keys lead to an intimate encounter with a prostitute. Ma is a former ACM student and Lucero is best known for his turn as a scantily clad Hawaiian man in last year's HIFF trailer. Originally screened at Showdown in Chinatown.
  • MAYORS, MIMES, MEMBERS & MERCHANTS (Roger Wilko, 20 min) - Honolulu city councilmembers clash with Waikiki street performers.

Hawaii Panorama 3: The Tide is High
Sun, 10/22, 6:15pm
"The Tide is High" depicts the antics of two women, fresh out of UH-Manoa, who open a Chinatown coffeehouse. Stars local actors Stephanie Sanchez, Jenn Boneza, Kalai Miller and Dezmond Gilla.

Hawaii Panorama 4: ACM Night
Mon, 10/23, 8:45pm

This is the annual showcase of shorts by students at UH's Academy for Creative Media. Buy tickets early--this show always sells out fast!

  • FOLLOW THE LEADER (Ty Sanga, 11 min) - Kenji learns about discrimination when a local mom and pop shop refuses service to one of his moke peers. Director Ty Sanga screened "Plastic Leis" at last year's HIFF.
  • SORE SHOULDERS AND ACHING JAWS (Roger Nakamine, 22 min) - Nick blows an opportunity to massage his would-be sweetheart and spends Saturday night in a karaoke bar with a foul-mouthed, pidgin-talking troublemaker.
  • DAO (Jay Hubert, 13 min) - Xiao, a pregnant woman trapped in an abusive relationship, meets Leilani, a neglected child who may give Xiao the courage to save herself. From the filmmaker of last year's "Tunnels."
  • MY DAD'S STORY (Joelle-Lyn Sarte, 19 min) - A man escapes plantation labor in the Philippines to find a better life in Hawaii, only to find himself in Hawaii's plantation fields.
  • CHOPSTICKS (Henry Mochida, 15 min) - A cross-cultural love story between an American and Chinese living in Tokyo.
  • EVE (Brian Makanoa, 10 min) - A clockmaker makes a mechanical girl who comes to life.

Hawaii Panorama 5
Wed, 10/25, 6:30pm

  • SUNDAY WIND (Michael Wurth, 10 min) - Three farmers--2 Hawaiians and 1 Japanese--go on their routine Sunday walk in the forest. But it's not just any Sunday, it's December 7, 1941. Wurth's film offers a civilian perspective of a day that will live in infamy. It was shot and produced by Shawn Hiatt and features the late Ray Bumatai's final screen appearance.
  • SUITE FOR 2 (Robert Pennybacker, 10 min) - A visual poem about lovers exploring true intimacy, starring former KHON reporter Donalyn Dela Cruz and Lopaka Kapanui.
  • NA KAMALEI: MEN OF HULA (Lisette Marie Flanary, 56 min) - Documentary about Robert Cazimero's Na Kamalei, which has been Hawaii's only exclusively male hula academy for 30 years. The film traces the Hawaiian man's disconnection with the hula (denounced by American Protestant missionaries as a heathen dance) through the hula renaissance of the 1970s when men overcame stereotypes and completes its journey at a recent Merrie Monarch Festival.
  • DARK CLOUDS (Taylour Chang, 12 min) - The narrative fiction companion to Punahou student Taylour Chang's documentary UNRECHT (screening in the Student Showcase), about the little known internment of Germans in Hawaii in WWII.

Hawaii Night
Thurs, 10/26, 7:30pm

HIFF's annual Hawaiian movie and music showcase at the Hawaii Theater.

  • THE SHIMMERING - An ethereal piece based on the shark tale It Swims When You Sleep by Hawaiian singer-songwriter Keola Beamer. Followed by a performance by Keola Beamer.
  • MADE OF MUSIC: THE STORY OF JOHN CRUZ - Documents the life of Na Hoku Hanohano award winner John Cruz, from hanabata days in Palolo Valley, to years of struggle on the East Coast, to ultimately achieving personal and professional equilibrium back in the islands he loves. Followed by a performance by John Cruz.

Student Showcase
Sat, 10/28, 10am

11 films by high school students from around the Hawaiian Islands.

  • CALL TO OUR PEOPLE (Kamaka Pili, Kamehameha Schools, 11 min)
  • CHILDREN OF MAUNALUA (Amanda Suiso, Kaiser High School, 5 min)
  • DEVIL'S TRILL SONATA (Kamehameha Schools, 7 min)
  • FALL (Dana Yoshizu, Hawaii Baptist Academy, 3 min)
  • MARVEL BOY (Aaron Kim, Hawaii Baptist Academy, 5 min)
  • MY TRIP TO AOTEROA NOVEMBER 2005 (Kalalea Ka'uhane, Kanuikapono School, 5 min)
  • REMEMBERING... (Randel Jim, Kamehameha Schools, 34 min)
  • REWIND (Dana Yoshizu, Hawaii Baptist Academy, 29 min)
  • SHADES OF GREY (Aaron Kim, Hawaii Baptist Academy, 16 min)
  • TI CEREMONY (Camtin Ragudo, Kanuikapono School, 5 min)
  • UNRECHT: AN UNTOLD CHAPTER OF HAWAII'S PAST (Taylour Chang, Punahou School, 28 min)

Strange Land: My Mother's War Bride Story
Wed, 10/25, 8:30pm
Stephanie Castillo, one of our foremost documentary filmmakers ("Simple Courage," "An Untold Triumph," "Remember the Boys") examines her own mother's experience as one of the first war brides to come to Hawaii from the Philippines.

Mabuhay with Aloha: The Hawaii Filipino Experience 1906-2006
Sun, 10/29, 7pm
Emme Tomimbang commemorates the 100th anniversary of Filipinos in Hawaii (which is also, incidentally, the 100th anniversary of Filipinos in the U.S.) in this documentary that covers the whole history of Filipinos in Hawaii.

Wed, 10/25, 6pm and Sat, 10/28, 1:15pm
Moanalua grad Eric Byler ("Charlotte Sometimes," "Tre") adapts Shawn Wong's landmark novel American Knees, an affecting Asian American story of love marred by issues of sex and race. Stars Asian American heavy hitters Chris Tashima, Joan Chen, Sab Shimono, and former Miss Teen USA and Oahu native Kelly Hu. This film won an Audience Award and the Jury Prize for Outstanding Ensemble Cast at the 2006 South by Southwest Film Festival.

DisORIENTation Shorts Program
Wed, 10/25, 9:45pm and Sat, 10/28, 6:15pm
A potpourri of Asian American short films that includes MAPS by Iolani and ACM grad and current USC film school student Christopher Yogi. MAPS is a 6-minute film about a young traveler that sneaks into a bookstore after hours and becomes intrigued by the deaf girl who lives there. Another Eric Byler project, MY LIFE DISORIENTED, is also part of this program. It tells the story of the Fung sisters who struggle to find acceptance after their family relocates to a town lacking in Asian Americans.

>> Full HIFF Film Listing
>> HIFF Blog
>> Isle film fest grows into global blockbuster [Hnl Star-Bulletin, 10/20/06]

Hawaii Int'l Film Fest Announces Line-Up
>> HIFF Trailer Shoot
>> Hawaii Film Panorama at LVHIFF
>> LVHIFF 2005: A Retrospective
>> September "Showdown in Chinatown"
>> 'Ohina Short Film Showcase: Aug 4-5
>> In Production: Super 16 Short Film "Chief"
>> Hawaii at SFIAAFF

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