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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.


That’s A Wrap! For HIFF’s Guest Filmmaker Program 2011!

HIFF’s 2011 Guest Filmmaker Program officially concluded today with a wonderful visit to Waipahu High School featuring director Ryan Kawamoto. The Guest Filmmaker Program is offered annually as part of HIFF’s education programs, and takes filmmakers to schools across O’ahu to speak with local students. For more detailed information about the program click here.

Click Here for Mahalo’s!

HIFF 31 Award Winners

Last night at the Governor’s Reception, the festival awards were presented to these filmmakers. First, the NETPAC Award was given to HANAAN, directed by Ruslan Pak. The NETPAC Award is presented to an Asian director for their first or second feature film.

The Halekulani Golden Orchid for Best Documentary was given to SPLINTERS, directed by Adam Pesce. Finally, the Halekulani Golden Orchid for Best Feature was given to PATANG, directed by Prashant Bhargava. A new screening of PATANG was added on Sunday, October 23rd at 8:45 PM.

The Audience Choice Awards presented by Hawaii News Now will be announced on Monday, October 24th.

Upcoming screenings for award winning films

HANAAN – Fri, Oct 21 – 3:45 PM
SPLINTERS – Thu, Oct 20 – 4:00 PM
PATANG – Sun, Oct 23 – 8:45 PM *New Screening*

Hawaii Five O Panel and the Meet the Filmmakers Reception

An Afternoon With Hawaii Five-O was an amazing fan-friendly special event from the Hawaii International Film Festival. For two hours, attendees listened to the director, producer and five cast members discussing inside information about the show. There were also some questions from the audience including addressing the Bromance between McG and Danno, where the cast lives in Hawaii, and how Daniel Dae-Kim uses a skateboard to study his lines.


Two nights ago, I decided I never want to have kids. Why? Because I caught the first screening of WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN — a look at the relationship between a mother and her troubled teenage son. (J/K about the “never wanting kids” part………sorta.) It was also awarded BEST FILM 2011 by EuroCinema Hawaii at last night’s awards gala.

The Lynne Ramsay-driven vehicle paints a pretty bleak portrait of a mother sorting out her memories following an act of violence that involes her only son and it’s without a doubt the most demanding film I’ve seen at the fest so far. It raises a lot of questions about nature vs. nuture, parenting, and every shot is rife with symbolism, which is why it’s perfect for HIFF and our discerning audience members.

Tilda Swinton is really, really good, proving again that there’s nothing the woman can’t do (has she cured cancer yet?), but the real surprise is newcomer Ezra Miller who holds his own against her effortlessly, expanding on the work he did in his first film AFTERSCHOOL, which had similar themes.

Like anyone who fell in love with the book The Perks of Being a Wallflower as a teenager ten+ years ago (guilty!), you were probably feeling suspicious when you heard there was a film adaptation in the works. But after finding out this kid Ezra’s in it, and seeing his acting chops in KEVIN, my hope has been restored.

The director Ramsay has shot some delicately charged scenes that give the actors enough room to act, considering how loaded the topic is. There are two scenes in particular that just sum up everything I’m trying to get across unsucessfully in this post, so I’ll just let you sift through the film to try and find them.

In a perfect world, all three will be nominated come awards season. Whether you love or hate the film (two people walked out of my screening), it was an admirable effort overall.

It screens one last time tonight at 930p. Bring someone so you both can talk about it. You’ll need to.

Euro Cinema Hawaii Awards Gala & Meet the Jurors Reception

Saturday, October 15 was one of the biggest nights of the festival. In addition to all the movies playing at Regal Dole Cannery Theaters, there were three major events. First there was the Meet the Jurors Reception at Hotel Renew, then it was the Eurocinema Hawaii Black Tie Awards Gala at the Sheraton Moana Surfrider. Also going on was Sunset on the Beach screening for the film festival, but I never made it there. Too many amazing nightlife parties going on.

DiSaronno Photos on the Rocks

Have you ever met a blog post that didn’t have an iPhone? Now you have. But I figure given the subject matter, my poor Droid quality photos fit just nicely with the “on the rocks/blurry” theme. Which last night kind of was. So consider these gritty 5-mgpxls an aesthetic desicion. I’m an artist, ‘kay?








Last night Honolulu’s top mixologist (Nobu’s Dave Newman, thirtyninehotel’s Christian Self, among others—what up, Maria Burke!) got together to fashion some DiSaronno creations at the Young Market’s-organized event at the Halekulani Garden Terrace. I mean, I’mm nt a rlly big drnker but I kinda of llove DiSanronnona, cnan you tellnfrom thsse typpos?? Far superior photos on Honolulu Pulse here.

Tim Rita, the head bartender of Lewers Lounge, took home the honors (just two votes over Christian), with his “Don de Coco”—an amaretto, Dewar’s, Italian basil leaf and nutmeg concotion that had me loosening the knot off my tie and undoing my top button. Like, buy me a drink first, Tim Rita! Oh, wait…








Afterwards, it was off to my first movies at HIFF. SOUND X VISION’s THE WONDER YEAR (pictured above with Josh) and the opening of EuroCinema with WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (which we need to talk about later, but I’m still processing it).

Who else caught 9th Wonder in action? Still picking your faces off the floor because he melted it off or what?

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