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13 ASSASSINS is one of the best samurai films of all time!

I’ve been programming for HIFF for almost a decade now, and it’s been pure joy selecting films from all around the world to bring to Hawaii’s film hungry audiences. I’m especially excited about this year’s 14th edition of the Spring Showcase because we’ve got films for everyone, and we kick it off with one of the greatest samurai films ever made, 13 ASSASSINS!

Cult director Takashi Miike delivers a bravado period action film set at the end of Japan’s feudal era in which a group of unemployed samurai are enlisted to bring down a sadistic lord and prevent him from ascending to the throne and plunging the country into a war-torn future. Starring Koji Yakusho, this film is balls-to-the-wall action and the 45 minute final action sequence rivals any showdown on celluloid. It is a filmmaking feat and Miike, who is one of Japan’s most prolific and genre-bending director working today, takes no prisoners, forging truly one of the great samurai flicks. 

So, I’m really proud to open the Spring Showcase with the bushido tour-de-force, 13 ASSASSINS, which is playing twice at the Festival. You can read more about the film and find out it’s showtimes here. In the meantime, check out the trailer for the film:

I love the fact that this Japanese trailer has a cover of Desperado by Bon Jovi! Yeah!

HIFF Family Friendly Films

There is always a movie families can enjoy together during the festival.  Two featured films that are for families are MAKE BELIEVE and KARATE-ROBO ZABORGAR.  MAKE BELIEVE chronicles the lives of several teens both nationally and internationally as they take a journey to become the world’s best teen magician.  Amazing and inspiring MAKE BELIEVE is a film not to miss.  To learn more about MAKE BELIEVE go to: http://www.hiff.org/program/films/detail/make_believe_2011

KARATE-ROBO ZABORGAR is a remake of the popular Japanese film of the same name.  Fans of Kikaida-like films such as these will be glad to know that although some of the effects have been updated (no zippers showing in the back of costumes), the kitschy fun that made these type of films so popular in Hawaii is still there.  Bring your kids along so that the fun you had watching these shows can be shared by a new generation.  To find out more about KARATE-ROBO ZABORGAR go to: http://www.hiff.org/program/films/detail/karate_robo_zaborgar_2011

5 FILMS I WILL WATCH AT HIFF 2011 SPRING SHOWCASE

There are few things I look forward to in spring besides the Mets and wearing J.Crew broken-in pocket tees every single day of the week. Then I saw the line-up for HIFF Spring Showcase 2011 and that baby just groundhog day-ed it’s way up to the top of that list.

Here are the five movies I’ll be ticket rushing in two weeks. See you there!

7 MURDERS FORGIVEN

As a guy who currently has 159 foreign films in his Netflix queue (/showoff), what I’m obviously loving most about this upcoming showcase is how many foreign peliculas there are (/okay seriously done showing off).

Usually I’m not into *~Bollywood~* movies, mainly because Indian movies seemed to be OBSESSED with weddings and I can’t seem to divorce myself from the physical Slumdog Millionaire comparisons in real life. That said, Priyanka Chopra is a cerfitied hottie and I’d totally propose to the way she says, “This time I’m gonna drink his blood.” Looks like this film could turn the genre on its Monsoon Wedding head. I do.

The other four I wanna see after the jump…

John Sayles is back!

John Sayles continues to have an illustrious career that has spanned over three decades.  Notable films he’s written and/or directed include: PIRANHA, THE HOWLING, BROTHER FROM ANOTHER PLANET, MATEWAN, THE CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR, EIGHT MEN OUT, PASSION FISH, THE SECRET OF ROAN INISH, HONEYDRIPPER (HIFF 2007), THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES, and this year, HIFF is proud to present his newest film AMIGO. 

Set in U.S. occupied Philippines, AMIGO is about a war that is in many ways similar to the one we are fighting now. Rafael (Joel Torre) faces the unwelcome challenge of how to keep his people together under occupation. Ultimately he decides that cooperation with the Americans is the best way to protect the village welfare, but his compliance is considered betrayal by his brother who is a leader of the rebel fighters. Refusing to judge any of its characters, the film explores how in war all sides make compromises and no one’s innocence remains intact.

Exclusive screening of HEAVEN’S RAIN in Honolulu on March 17

We wanted to let you know about an opportunity to see HEAVEN’S RAIN, a faith-based film that is showing for one night only here in Honolulu on Thursday March 17th. Filmmaker Brooks Douglas, star Erik Vogel and co-star Taryn Manning (HAWAII Five-O) will be in attendance for this screening and will host a post-film Question & Answer session. This screening is sponsored by the Honolulu Department of the Prosecuting Attorney.

Read more below for details about the film…

Experience an International Date Night! 3 Romantic Comedies at the Spring Showcase

Can you fall in love with someone without even knowing their name? That’s the question HELLO STRANGER, a hit film from Thailand, asks. It stayed in theaters there last summer for 9 weeks and racked up around 1.3 million admissions, which is still rare in Thailand. Interestingly enough, HELLO STRANGER was filmed entirely in South Korea. One of the major themes of HELLO STRANGER is the Hallyu (Korean Wave) of TV dramas. Both lead characters in the film are in South Korea on vacation because of their interest in Korean culture and entertainment. The director, Banjong Pisanthanakun, is known for his horror films SHUTTER (2004) and ALONE (2007), but this is his first romantic comedy. As the film’s tagline says, “Sometimes not knowing will set you free”.

 

HELLO STRANGER Showtimes (tickets go on sale March 23rd, 2011)

  1. Sunday, April 3rd – 1:30PM – Dole Cannery
  2. Wednesday, April 6th – 3:00PM – Dole Cannery

 

 


Have you ever wanted to express your feelings for a crush, but weren’t sure how to do it? Enter the CYRANO AGENCY, a group of 4 theater actors who can be hired to help you obtain the romance you’re looking for. What happens when a client unknowingly hires you to help them obtain the affection of your ex-girlfriend, who you’ve never really gotten over? Don’t miss the amazingly shot scene about 35 minutes into the film which features Agnes Baltsa’s song “There Will Be Better Days, Even For Us”. Baltsa is a leading Greek mezzo-soprano opera singer.

This film stars Uhm Tae-Woong (HANDPHONE, SUNNY), Lee Min-Jung (TV: MIDAS, BOYS OVER FLOWERS), Park Shin-Hye (TV: HE’S BEAUTIFUL!) and Daniel Choi (TV: HIGH KICK! 2).

A similarly themed American film is HITCH, starring Will Smith. Both films were loosely based on the 1897 original play Cyrano de Bergerac, by French poet Edmond Rostand.

 

CYRANO AGENCY Showtimes (tickets go on sale March 23rd, 2011)

  1. Friday, April 1st – 6:00PM – Dole Cannery
  2. Monday, April 4th – 8:45PM – Dole Cannery

 


Yen is a single girl from China working at an IT company in Hong Kong, when she notices a hunky playboy guy (Sean) in a neighboring building trying to communicate with her via paper signs. This goes on for some time and when they meet, Yen realizes his signs were meant for a lady on the floor above hers when he doesn’t even recognize her.

After this embarrasing mix-up, Yen meets a handsome beggar in the park and is captivated by the sad expression on his face. After talking for a while, they become friends. Kevin was an elite architect who ended up wandering the streets. Their friendship helps him regain confidence and start building his life again.

After several months have passed, Sean is giving up his playboy ways and realizes that Yen is the dream girl for him. Kevin is planning to propose to her on the rooftop of his latest designed building. Who will Yen choose to spend the rest of her life with?

Starring Daniel Wu (HOT SUMMER DAYS, BLOOD BROTHERS), Louis Koo (TRIPLE TAP, ELECTION), Gao Yuanyuan (A GOOD RAIN KNOWS, CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH), and a return to the romantic comedy genre from famed director Johnnie To, DON’T GO BREAKING MY HEART will be one of the biggest Hong Kong films of the year!

 

DON’T GO BREAKING MY HEART Showtimes (tickets go on sale March 23rd, 2011)

  1. Tuesday, April 5th – 6:30PM – Dole Cannery

HIFF + HUMANHAND

HIFF is honored and excited to announce a new partnership with Humanhand, an independent branding and creative design firm based in Hawaii. We are excited to work with Humanhand for our yearround creative design needs starting with the key visual for Spring Showcase 2011. 

Humanhand’s portfolio of clients include: Honolulu Academy of Art, MA`O Organic Farms, La Tour Bakehouse & Cafe, and Otto Cake.

Excerpt from Humanhand’s mission: “….Exceptional design is not about making things look pretty. It is about providing solutions that are useful, efficient, intelligent, meaningful, relevant, and emotionally engaging….”
“HIFF is Hatching!” is the theme that Humanhand created for this year’s Spring Showcase. We love the spring-like colors and brightness and energy, as well as the tag line. HIFF really is “hatching” films for Spring, in fact, we’ve got 27 films and a few TBAs schedule for Spring Showcase, April 1-7 at Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18 & IMAX. The schedule is out now…we’ve officially hatched!

Full program and schedule announced for 14th Annual HIFF Spring Showcase

The program and schedule for HIFF’s 2011 Spring Showcase are now available online! We have twenty-seven films over a week period to delight your senses, and about 2-3 more that will be announced closer to the date of the festival. Tickets will go on sale March 21st for HIFF Ohana members and March 23rd for the general public.

View the full film program 

View the festival schedule 

Are you in the mood for a romantic comedy or want to take a gal out on a date? Consider HELLO STRANGER from Thailand, DON’T GO BREAKING MY HEART from Hong Kong, or CYRANO AGENCY from South Korea.

If you’d like something edgier and more thrilling, watch THE STOOL PIGEON (a.k.a BEAST STALKER 2) from Hong Kong, THE WHISTLEBLOWER (starring Rachel Weisz) from Canada & Germany, or 13 ASSASSINS from Japan.

Maybe you’re just hungry? We have three foodie films this spring. HONEY from Turkey is the story of a beekeeper’s son. THE RECIPE from South Korea is about a mystery involving doenjang, the country’s famous fermented soybean paste. PATISSERIE COIN DE RUE from Japan stars the lovely Yu Aoi as a budding pastry chef.

Thank you for your support of our Oscar Night America event!

HIFF is gearing up for our annual fundraiser event, Oscar Night America on Sunday, February 27 at Halekulani. At the event, guests will be able to watch an advance telecast of the 83rd Annual Academy Awards, and indulge in a fabulous custom “Oscar” dinner menu. The evening will also include a Red Carpet Walk, Better Brands’ Oscar Cocktail Bar, display of 2011 Porsche vehicles, and Bambooth’s fun photobooth! 

This fabulous event would not be possible without the support of our event sponsors, silent auction donors, and our guests! Thank you!

 

SPECIAL THANKS
Halekulani · Better Brands · Porsche of Hawaii · Bambooth · Herbaceous · Jus’ Right Kettle Corn
Popcorn · Mark Ramelb · Show & Tell · SKA Tropicals · Stella Artois

SILENT AUCTION DONORS
12th Ave Grill · Aida & Mike Paulin/Aqua Hotel & Resorts · Angie Laprete · Anteprima · Aston Hotels & Resorts
BAMP · Barbara Brown’s Nails · Becca Beach Kahala · BlissBiss Collection · Brian Uy · CBS
Chai’s Island Bistro · The Contemporary Museum · d.k Steak House · Doraku Sushi · Fendi · Geobunga
Grand Wailea Waldorf Astoria Resorts · Gulab & Indru Watumull · Harry Kasanow Photography · Hawaii 5-0
Hawaii Opera Theatre · Hawaiian Airlines · HIFF · Hiroshi Eurasion Tapas · Hoala Salon & Spa
Honolulu Academy of Arts · Honolulu Gay & Lesbian Cultural Foundation (HGLCF) · HONOLULU Magazine
Hotel Renew · Il Lupino Trattoria & Wine Bar · Jeff Chung (KBFD) · J.J. Dolan’s · Kimi & Ash Matar
Kristen Chan · Loco Lizard Cantina · Maui Divers Jewelry · Monsanto · Morimoto · Mountain Apple Company
Nobu Waikiki · Off the Map · Oscar Night America · Parducci Wine Cellars & Paul Dolan Vineyards
Patrick & Roz Kwan (World Wide, Inc.) · Paul Brown Salon & Day Spa · Peter Lewis · Podium Raceway Hawaii
Porsche of Hawaii · Pure Joy Day Spa · Q-pot · Salon Blanc · Sarah Honda · Sherry Wong Photography
Tamura’s · Tiffany & Co · Tod’s Boutique Waikiki · Toys n’ Joys · Town · Trump International Hotel
Waikiki Beachwalk · The Waikiki Edition · Vino · VIP Trans · Whole Foods · Wolfgang’s Steakhouse
Wolford Boutique Ala Moana · Yves Saint Laurent

Four films announced for Spring Showcase

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the films that will be playing in the 14th Annual HIFF Spring Showcase, April 1-7 2011. The full program of films & schedule will be announced the first week of March.

MAMMUTH
France 2011 | French w/ English subtitles | 90 mins

Big man, big hair, big motorcycle. Gérard Depardieu gets a tailor-made, tour-de-force role in this picaresque tale from the creators of the 2005 EUFF attraction AALTRA. He plays Serge, a former slaughterhouse worker whose recent retirement has left him as restless as a caged bear. When he finds out that missing paperwork is holding up his pension payments, Serge gets his 1973 Münch Mammut motorcycle out of mothballs and sets off to collect the required signatures from ten past employers who have scattered far and wide.

MAMMUTH Trailer – Warning! This trailer contains cursing.

7 MURDERS FORGIVEN
India 2011 | Hindi w/ English Subtitles | 143 mins

Based on the short story by Ruskin Bond, 7 MURDERS FORGIVEN is a love story that spans 35 years between a beautiful and charismatic woman and her 7 husbands.  Susanna Anna-Marie Johannes (Priyanka Chopra – FASHION) is a beautiful woman who over the course of thirty-five odd years, gets married seven times.  Six of her husbands die mysteriously, and the strange circumstances of their deaths make Susanna a prime suspect. Is Susanna a murderer or a romantic who is fated to be alone?

RUBBER
United States 2010 | English | 85 mins

Robert, an inanimate tire, suddenly and inexplicably comes to life. As Robert roams the bleak landscape, he discovers that he possesses terrifying telepathic powers that give him the ability to destroy anything he wishes without having to move. At first content to prey on small desert creatures and various discarded objects, his attention soon turns to humans, especially a beautiful and mysterious woman who crosses his path. Leaving a swath of destruction across the desert landscape, Robert becomes a chaotic force to be reckoned with.

KABUKI-ZA: FINAL CURTAIN
Japan 2010 | Japanese w/ English Subtitles | 160 mins

For the first time ever, the camera takes you inside and backstage of the historical Kabuki-za Theater, the main home ground of the Kabuki performance in Tokyo. The Kabuki-za (the 4th generation building – rebuilt after WWII) will end its years of history on April 2010, to be closed for 4 years to be renovated to a new building. 11 main actors, who had grown up on stage of the Kabuki-za navigate us into the heart of the theater, looking back at the best performances ever, the players, the background creation of the stage, and the last day of Kabuki-za. A Kabuki version of THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT! this would be a documentary that would take you to the world of Kabuki like you have never experienced.

KABUKI-ZA: THE FINAL CURTAIN Trailer

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