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:


Jérôme Paillard — Executive Director, Marché du film, Festival de Cannes
Nina Yang Bongiovi — Producing Partner, Forest Whitaker’s Significant Productions (FRUITVALE STATION, DOPE, SONGS MY BROTHERS TAUGHT ME)
John Badalu — Film Publicist, Producer, Film Programmer, Berlin International Film Festival, Shanghai International Film Festival, Q! Film Festival


Nate Kohn, PhD — Director, EbertFest; Associate Director, Peabody Awards; Professor, University of Georgia
Freida Lee Mock — Writer-Director, Academy Award® Winner, MAYA LIN: A STRONG CLEAR VISION
James Moll — Filmmaker, Allentown Productions, Academy Award® Winner, THE LAST DAYS, Founding Executive Director, Shoah Foundation


Taylour Chang — Theatre manager, Doris Duke Theater, Honolulu Museum of Art
Ty Sanga — Filmmaker, VISIONS IN THE DARK: THE PINKY THOMPSON STORY; STONES, Sundance Native Lab Fellow
Vera Zambonelli — Executive Director, Hawai‘i Women in Filmmaking

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.


Wong Tuck Cheong — Film Historian, Scholar, NETPAC Founding Member
Zakir H. Raju — Professor/Dean, School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Independent University, Bangladesh
Misa Tupou — Co-founder, Aotearoa New Zealand Film Festival in Honolulu, Acting instructor, Kapiolani Community College

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