Awards and Jurors

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Halekulani Golden Orchid Award

Presented by Halekulani

The Golden Orchid is bestowed upon the narrative and documentary films that best express artistic and technical excellence and promote cross-cultural understanding. Like the rare endemic orchids of our native Hawaii, these awards recognize singular achievements amid collective beauty. Each nominated film furthers the Hawaii International Film Festival mandate to entertain, enlighten and empower. Our international jury will select the films that articulate this manifesto consistent with the cross-pollination of words, ideas and images that comprise the kinetic and visceral power of film.


Halekulani Golden Orchid Jury:


Abigail Algar — Film curator, Doris Duke Theatre at Honolulu Museum of Art
Kitty Lagareta – CEO, Communications Pacific, Inc.
Peter Shaindlin – COO, Halekulani Corporation


Wei Fang — Founder & Director, Interisland Terminal
Heather Giugni — Cultural Collections Specialist / Producer, ‘Ulu’ulu Moving Image Archive of Hawaii
Robert Pennybacker — Executive Producer of Learning Initiatives, PBS Hawaii


Audience Choice Award

Presented by Hawaii News Now

Vote for your favorite feature film, documentary or short film playing at HiFF. Ballots will be distributed for the screening of every eligible film during the film festival. No pens, pencils or i.d. required. Tear along the edge of the ballot from 1 (terrible) to 5 (excellent) and drop it in the ballot boxes as you exit the theater. Winners will be announced post-festival.



Founded in 1990 by Cinemaya and UNESCO, the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) is an international not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting Asian film throughout the world. The prestigious NETPAC award is given at select international film festivals to promote Asian cinema by spotlighting exceptional works and discovering new talent.

The NETPAC award is presented annually at international film festivals in Berlin, Cannes, Venice, Rotterdam, Pusan, Singapore, Taiwan, Yamagata, Amiens and Hawaii. HIFF is the only film festival in North America given permission to present the NETPAC award.


Wimal Dissanayake — Professor, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Bao Nguyen — Filmmaker
Mark Schilling — Film critic (Variety, The Japan Times)

Halekulani City & County of Honolulu Tiffany & Co. Hawaii News Now