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Anderson’s 62nd Berlinale Report

Berlinale Palast

Berlinale Palast

My annual jaunt to Berlin to attend the Berlinale kicks off my programming trips for the year. It’s always a pleasure and treat to visit Berlin, truly one of my favorite cities in the world. This year it was a little tough, considering that all of mainland Europe was experiencing record low temperatures. The cold was so bitter, it was consistently in the low teens Fahrenheit with a wind chill that would just cut through your very body.

The extremely cold weather promoted me to stay indoors as much as possible, and that meant mostly in the cinemas! My days mostly consist of film screenings, as well as meetings with film sales agents, distributors, and filmmakers prospecting on what I can get for my festivals. I also track what’s coming out at the various film markets and major festivals for the rest of 2012. Usually it’s over some brautwurst or some kind of pork knuckle dish with dumplings, but even that takes a toll on the system (it still amazes me to see little office girls eat like that everyday. Kind of warms my cockles but I digress).

Anyway, here are some film highlights from this year’s Berlinale. I hope to program some of these titles at HIFF, so treat this as a special sneak peek of what may be in store for October:

Sundance Film Festival Report

Sundance 2012

Sundance 2012

This year’s Sundance was an interesting year, with the documentaries being the strongest component of the programming and some gems from the narrative feature sections. I was in full marathon mode, viewing a total of 35 films in 8 days. I am a little film fatigued. But, it was a fun year, and a couple of blizzard days aside, the weather was amazing and the atmosphere in Park City was crackling with energy as usual. I was fortunate to stay in a big cabin at Deer Valley Resorts, just a couple of miles north from Main Street. Rap star Little Wayne was my neighbor!

Anyway, here’s my top film picks (in no particular order):

Pick the winners of the Academy Awards and win a dinner for two at Halekulani!

The nominations for the 84th Annual Academy Awards were announced yesterday. As part of the excitement leading up to HIFF’s Oscar Night America gala on February 26th, we’re holding a “Pick the Winners” contest that’s open to everyone, 18 and older. The prize is a dinner for two at the Halekulani Hotel’s Orchids restaurant (up to a $200 value). Entries for the contest start today and conclude the day before the Academy Awards are hosted.

Enter HIFF’s “Pick the Winners” Contest today!

The Golden Globes are finished, now we’re gearing up for Oscar Night America!

I hope you were watching the Golden Globes this past weekend, since Hawaii walked away with the prize for the Best Motion Picture – Drama category for THE DESCENDANTS, with George Clooney also winning the Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama category. We showed many of the top nominated films here at HIFF last fall, and we’re eagerly awaiting the release of the nominations for the Academy Awards, which will happen on January 24th.

Also of note is that THE ARTIST (EuroCinema Hawaii) won the Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical category, and also Best Original Score and Best Actor for Comedy/Musical by Jean Dujardin. Not many people had heard about this film when it played at HIFF, but with the exposure from the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards we’re sure you’ll get another chance to see it in Hawaii.

Some other HIFF shown nominated films and actors/actresses which have a good shot at an Oscar nomination are: WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (Tilda Swinton) and THE KID WITH A BIKE (Belgium), also from our EuroCinema Hawaii selection.

HIFF 31 Survey Winners Announced!

Many of you took a survey either online on in person while you were at our festival, and two lucky people who entered have won 6 tickets each to our upcoming Spring Showcase, held in April 2012! Congratulations to Donna Tamasese and Michael Morimoto!

HIFF Surveys are a great way for us to keep improving the Festival, and they help us to continue to offer exciting, cutting edge films, panels, and transmedia programs. At the same time, the information gathered in our HIFF surveys is vital for our fund raising capabilities, as we use the data acquired for grant applications and proposals. A big MAHALO to everyone who took a few minutes of their time to fill out one of our HIFF Surveys this year, we greatly appreciate your assistance!

Photos from HIFF 2011

Here is a selection of photos highlighting various events that happened during the 31st Hawaii International Film Festival presented by Halekulani.

Opening Press Conference at RumFire, Sheraton Waikiki. Opening Night Party at Halekulani

Justin Cravalho, Luke Aguinaldo, Warren Daubert – HumanHand, designers of this year’s HIFF Key Visual.

Featured bartenders at a private Disaronno Amaretto event during the festival.

Meet the Filmmakers reception at RumFire #1

Meet the Filmmakers reception at RumFire #2

An Afternoon With Hawaii 5-0 – Alex O’Laughlin, Daniel Dae Kim & Grace Park

An Afternoon With Hawaii 5-0, held at Halekulani. HIFF executive director Chuck Boller, and programmer Anderson Le with cast and crew from Hawaii 5-0.

Actress Tamlyn Tomita with Chairman of the HIFF Board of Directors, Owen Ogawa and his mother.

Vilcek Foundation Executive Director Rick Kinsel (center) with 4 filmmakers from the American Immigrant Filmmakers on Profile section.

Award winning filmmakers Adam Pesce (Splinters), Prashant Bhargava (Patang), Ruslan Pak (Hanaan) with a representative from awards sponsor Tiffany & Co.

The annual Governor’s Reception, held at Washington Place, where the HIFF awards were announced this year.

HIFF award winning filmmakers and Masato Harada (director of festival hit Chronicles of My Mother) at HIFF’s closing press conference.

Visiting filmmakers enjoying the festival’s closing party at Sam Choy’s Breakfast, Lunch and Crab restaurant.

Alexander Payne, director of HIFF’s Closing Night film THE DESCENDANTS, and Kaui Hart Hemmings, writer of the novel the film was based on.

Honolulu mayor Peter Carlisle and HIFF executive Direcor Chuck Boller present Alexander Payne with this year’s Vision in Film award.

Audience Awards for HIFF 31, presented by Hawaii News Now

The audience awards for this year’s festival, presented by Hawaii News Now, go to:

Narrative Feature:
THE DESCENDANTS directed by Alexander Payne
Documentary: ALOHA BUDDHA directed by Bill Ferehawk, Dylan Robertson
Short: TSUYAKO directed by Mitsuyo Miyazaki

HIFF is coming to Hilo, October 28-30

The weekend after the Hawaii International Film Festival presented by Halekulani concludes on O’ahu, there will be screenings at the Palace Theatre in Hilo. There is one new film for Hilo, not playing on O’ahu. It is FAMILY OF THE WA’A, a documentary about a group of people who paddled a canoe across 1750 miles of the Hawaiian archipelago. Here’s the schedule: 




3:00 PM – THELMA

Fiji Water presents An Evening at Sam Choy’s

Sam Choy’s Restaurant hosted the final event of the Film Festival on Saturday night. It was probably the last time that the HIFF community for this years event would gather together. Once again it was attended by film delegates, sponsors and other special guests of the festival. It was a great way to say goodbye to all the friends I made during the last 10 days.

The event was sponsored by Fiji Water and featured a wine and beer (sponsored by our festival friends at Stella Artois) station. The food was amazing and included Sam Choy’s special recipe fried poke and a shortrib luau with chili pepper Fiji Water. While it is sad to say goodbye to many new friends (although thanks to Facebook we can stay connnected), I am grateful that the Hawaii International Film Festival has connected me with many amazing filmmakers, crew and actors.

Now on to closing night with the Descendants and a private reception party after the movie.

The HIFF Awards and Governors Reception

One of the most lavish events of the Hawaii International Film Festival is the HIFF awards and Governor’s Reception at Washington Place. The festival gives out a variety of awards decided by guest jurors (both local and international). Washington Place used to be the home of the governors in Hawaii, but recently has been mainly used for special events.

Guests were treated to a catered event with Chinese cuisine, fresh fruit and vegetables. There was also a wine and beer station. Many directors, crew and stars from the movies at the festival attended this event.

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