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Thanks so much to HIFF sponsor, Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawaii, for sponsoring the Spring Showcase film, BEAUTIFUL ISLANDS. This film takes a look at three different islands around the world (Tuvalu in the South Pacific; Venice, Italy; and Shishmaref, Alaska), and how climate change is affecting the islands and their people. Japanese Director Tomoko Kana will be present for a special extended Q&A after the film screening. Joining her will be Dr. Maxine Burkett. Dr. Burkett is an Associate Professor of Law at the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawaii and serves as the inaugural Director of the Center for Island Climate Adaptation and Policy (ICAP), at the Sea Grant College Program.


Sunday, April 18

1:30 PM

Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18 Theaters & IMAX

Spring Showcase In Depth: Book Adaptations

Today we’re looking at four Spring Showcase films which are book adaptations: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, MAO’S LAST DANCER, VILLON’S WIFE & THE SUMMIT: A CHRONICLE OF STONES. Read more after the break about these four films and their origins as novels.


[img_assist|nid=277|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=157|height=240]First, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (Original Swedish title: Män som hatar kvinnorMen Who Hate Women) is the first book in a trilogy by the late Stieg Larsson. This series of crime/mystery novels were unpublished upon Larsson’s death of a heart attack in 2004, and are being translated into English by Reg Keeland. The third novel in the trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, has a United States release date of May 2010.

All three films from the trilogy of books have been completed, and they opened in Europe during 2009. THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO has a March 19th release date in the United States, but will not be opening here in Hawaii until sometime later, so our Spring Showcase will be the first opportunity to see the film in this state.


[img_assist|nid=278|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=153|height=240]MAO’S LAST DANCER is based upon the book of the same name, which is an autobiography of Li Cunxin. Li was born into poverty in Qingdao China (also known as Tsingtao, located in Shandong Province), but was selected when he was 11 years old by a representative of Madame Mao’s Beijing Dance Academy. After seven years of harsh training, he graduated as one of China’s best ballet dancers. He was one of the first cultural exchange students under Mao’s regime, training at Ben Stevenson’s Houston Ballet. He started a relationship with an American dancer, which caused an international incident which ended with Li’s defection from China. Li’s autobiography was published in Australia in 2003, and this film was created in 2009.

Also of note is the lead actress in MAO’S LAST DANCER, Amanda Schull, who grew up in Hawaii and danced with the San Francisco Ballet. You might have also seen her in the TV series One Tree Hill or Bones.



[img_assist|nid=279|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=165|height=240]Osamu Dazai’s 1947 novel Viyon no Tsuma (ヴィヨンの妻) is the inspiration for the film VILLON’S WIFE, directed by Kichitaro Negishi. Negishi is recently known for his 2005 film What The Snow Brings (雪に願うこと, Yuki ni Negau Koto), which won 5 awards at the 2005 Tokyo International Film Festival. Starring experienced actors Takako Matsu and Tadanobu Asano, this story is about the wife of a novelist who sticks by his side even through debt, alcoholism and affairs with other women.

The title Villon’s Wife refers to the 15th century French writer François Villon, considered one of the best poets of his time, but who also had a dark side, being known as a thief and a scoundrel.


[img_assist|nid=280|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=175|height=240]Last, but not least THE SUMMIT: A CHRONICLE OF STONES (劔岳  点の記, Tsurugidake: Ten no Ki) is based on the novel by Jirô Nitta, which is the pen name of historical novelist Hiroto Fujiwara. Fujiwara’s novels mainly deal with mountains, as he was a meteorologist before retiring to write professionally.

The film is about a team of explorers who scale Mt. Tsurugidake during the closing years of the Meiji era, as it is the last empty space on Japan’s maps. Tadanobu Asano also stars in this film, as a surveyor hired by the Japanese military. He meets a crew led by experienced woodsman (Teruyuki Kagawa) and they face a range of conditions and terrain while mapping the mountain.

This film recently won several awards in the 33rd Japan Academy awards, including Best Director to Daisaku Kimura.

Full Program/Schedule for Spring Showcase

We’ve just announced the full program and schedule for the 13th Annual HIFF Spring Showcase. We’ve also included photo stills from the films as well as trailers or clips. As a reminder, ticket sales start Monday, April 5th for HIFF Ohana members, and Wednesday, April 7th for the general public.

View the Spring Showcase Online Program Guide


[img_assist|nid=272|title=THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO|desc=|link=none|align=center|width=620|height=378]

HIFF’s Spring Showcase 2010 will include THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, the film adaptation of the international best-selling book by Stieg Larsson and the first in a series of crime novels called the Millennium Trilogy. More on Danish director Niels Arden Oplev (via NYTimes). 

Spring Showcase Opening Night Film: MAO’S LAST DANCER

[img_assist|nid=269|title=MAO'S LAST DANCER|desc=|link=url|url=|align=center|width=600|height=343]

MAO’S LAST DANCER tells the inspirational true story of a small boy’s extraordinary journey from poverty to international stardom. From a grueling apprenticeship as a classical dancer in communist China, to the glory of creative freedom in America. But, there is a painful price to be paid for his quest for self expression. MAO’S LAST DANCER captures the intoxicating effects of first love and celebrity, the pain of exile, and ultimately the triumph of individual endeavor over ideology.

Friday, April 16th – 6:30pm at Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18 Theaters

Thank you, Oscar Night America Sponsors!


Stoli • Stella Artois • Waiwera


Apartm3nt • Barbara Brown’s Nails • Better Brands/William Grant • Bobbi Brown Cosmetics • Bonsai • Chocolate Creative • Christina Hom • Clark Takashima • The Contemporary Museum • cre808 Film Production Services • Dan’s Guitar • Elle Couture Jewellers • Fendi • Formaggio • Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay • Ginger 13 • Halekulani • Hands Toward Heaven • Harry Kasanow • Hawaiian Chair Covers • Hermes • Hildgund Jewelry • Hingkie Han • Honolulu Magazine • Indru Watumull • John Michael White • Daniel K • KA • Kaiwa • KBFD • Susan Kutzman • Roz Kwon • La Mer • Louis Vuitton • Manoa Valley Theatre • Martin & MacArthur • Media 5 Architecture • Mercedes Benz • Michael Chan • Moana Surfrider • Modern Luxury • Paul Brown Salon & Day Spa • Pearl Ultralounge • Phil Bossert • Azure at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel • Royal Lahaina Resort • Roz Kwan • RumFire • Salon Blanc •Shawn Fields • Sheraton Maui Resort • St. John • STAGE • Sweet Paradise Chocolatier • Tiffany & Co. • Toys & Joys • Volkswagen • W Salon • Whole Foods Market • Director Takita Yojiro


Aloha Salads, Christopher Lufrano • April Garcia • Better Brands, Christa Wittmier • Cutter Ala Moana Volkswagen, Ron Wright • First Hawaiian Bank • Hawaii Pacific Entertainment, Chimaine Pouteau • Hawaiian Chair Covers, Stacey Hayashi • KBFD, Jeff Chung • KITV, Michael Rosenberg & John Wray • Kyler Kwock, Photographer • Modern Luxury Hawaii, Jennifer Kurano • Platinum Limousine • Royal Hawaiian Hotel, Louise Abilla • Show and Tell, Mike Higgins • Starwood Hotels & Resorts Hawaii, Michael Troy • Stella Artois, Ty Sakaguchi • Steven Bern, Photographer • Sweet Paradise Chocolatier, Melanie Boudar • Waiwera, Philana Bouvier

Winners of Quick Picks Contest

Here are the winners of our Quick Picks Contest. They picked the most winners in 8 Academy Awards categories. These lucky people each won a bundle of 5 tickets to HIFF’s Spring Showcase, April 16-22 at the Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18 theaters. Congratulations! Stay tuned for more information, we’ll be announcing the full film program and schedule next week on Monday, March 15th.

  • Elizabeth Suzuki
  • Glenn Liu
  • Lynne Taogoshi
  • Matt Prellberg
  • Nancy Kishi

DEPARTURES Director Yojiro Takita talks at HIFF’s Oscar Night America party

DEPARTURES Director Yojiro Takita – 2010 HIFF Oscar Night America from HIFF on Vimeo.

The director of 2009 Oscar award-winning film DEPARTURES, Yojiro Takita attended HIFF’s Oscar Night America party on March 7, 2010. He spoke about how HIFF premiered his film in the USA in October 2008, and how the exposure led to his film being nominated for Best Foreign Language Film.

Quick Picks Contest Ended – Winners announced March 9th.

HIFF’s Quick Picks Contest has now ended, thank you to everyone who entered. To qualify to win one of five bundles of five tickets to the Spring Showcase, you must have gotten all 8 categories correct. If no one manages to get all of them correct, we’ll choose the entries that have the most answers correct. Winners will be announced here on the blog, on our twitter account and facebook page on Tuesday, March 9th. Winners will be contacted by email to receive their prizes.

Oscar Winners for the 8 categories highlighted in our Quick Picks Contest:

  • Best Picture: THE HURT LOCKER – Kathryn Bigelow
  • Leading Actor: Jeff Bridges – CRAZY HEART
  • Leading Actress: Sandra Bullock – THE BLIND SIDE
  • Directing: Kathryn Bigelow – THE HURT LOCKER
  • Documentary (Feature) – THE COVE – Louie Psihoyos and Fisher Stevens
  • Foreign Language Film: THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES – Argentina
  • Short Film (Animated): LOGORAMA – Nicolas Schmerkin
  • Short Film (Live Action): THE NEW TENANTS – Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson

Two more films announced for Spring Showcase

[img_assist|nid=257|title=AJAMI / FATHER AND GUNS|desc=|link=none|align=center|width=601|height=430]

HIFF’s 13th Annual Spring Showcase is fast approaching, and here are two more films that will be playing April 16-22. AJAMI is a look at the conflicts between Jews and Arabs in Jaffa, Israel (near Tel Aviv), while FATHER AND GUNS is a Canadian comedy about a bickering father/son pair of cops who have to go undercover together. Also of note, AJAMI is one of the nominees for Best Foreign Language Film in this year’s Academy Awards.

The full film program for HIFF’s Spring Showcase will be announced March 15th. See more information on these films after the break.

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