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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 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!


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

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.


2011 Oscar Nominated Short Films

I had a chance to see the Oscar Nominated Short Films for 2011 last week, and here’s my take on them. There are ten films in all, five animated and five live action. These films are playing for a limited time at the Kahala Consolidated Theater, so see them while you can! Also, the animated feature film The Illusionist and Best Foreign Film nominee Biutiful are playing at Kahala. Read more for details about the short films.

Student Filmmakers in Hawaii – The Academy for Creative Media’s SMART Exchange Program

The University of Hawaii at Manoa Academy for Creative Media’s SMART Exchange is a unique program of U.S. – China student films, filmmakers, film festivals and film co-productions – shot on location in Hawaii and Shanghai, China. The program was developed as part of the long-time partnership between the Hawaii International Film Festival and Shanghai International Film Festival, and is supported by both festivals.

In June 2010, students from the UH Academy for Creative Media (ACM) attended the Shanghai International Film Festival and collaborated with students from Shanghai University’s School of Film and TV Arts & Technology. The result were three short films, which played at HIFF last October as “A Summer, A Boy and A Cab”. This collection also won the Best Student Film award at the EuroCinema Hawai’i Gala. In addition, students from Shanghai attend the Hawaii International Film Festival in October, show some of their short films at the festival, and collaborate with ACM students on more film projects. If you missed seeing these shorts at HIFF, you can now watch them below, courtesy of ACM. 

We also wanted to highlight a short documentary about the ACM students trip to China, directed by George Chun Han Wang. This shows “behind the scenes” footage from the production of “A Summer, A Boy and A Cab”.

Nominations Announced for the 2011 Academy Awards

The nominations for the 83rd Academy Awards (to be held February 27, 2011) were announced this morning. You can see a full list of nominations here, but we wanted to talk about some of the less obvious picks this year. First, HIFF showed the following films in 2010 which are up for nominations:

Actress in a Leading Role
Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine)
Costume Design
I Am Love
The Tempest
Documentary Feature
Waste Land

Also of note are the entries in the Foreign Language Film category, most of which you may not have seen at this point. They are:


Biutiful (Mexico)
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu

Dogtooth (Greece)
Director: Giorgos Lanthimos

In a Better World / Hævnen (Denmark)
Director: Susanne Bier

Incendies (Canada)
Director: Denis Villeneuve

Outside the Law / Hors-La-Loi (Algeria)
Director: Rachid Bouchareb

Javier Bardem (Biutiful) is also up for a nomination in the Actor in a Leading Role category. The film competed for the Palme d’Or award at Cannes last May. Our blogger Dana talked about Dogtooth in this post from July 2010. In a Better World is playing now at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, along with Incendies. Outside the Law is a very controversial film about the Algerian struggle for independence from France.

IP MAN 2 Hits Theaters on January 28th!

If you missed the Hawaii premiere of IP MAN 2 at HIFF last October, here’s your chance to see it in theaters, or see it again! We hope to see more Asian films in theaters here; If you’re a fan of Asian cinema, please support this film so that more films can be released in Hawaii, not just action films, but dramas, comedies, thrillers, etc.

The film will be playing at these theaters:

  • In Honolulu at Ward Stadium with TITAN XC
  • In Aiea at Pearlridge West 16
  • In Kapolei at Kapolei 16

IP MAN 2 Synopsis:
The martial arts spectacular that’s been breaking box office records across Asia comes to the big screen in its full uncut and undubbed glory. In 1950’s Hong Kong, Master Ip wants to open a martial arts school – but first he must pass the tests put forth by the local grandmasters and their corrupt leader (the legendary Sammo Hung). If that weren’t enough, a bullying British boxer is in town, and violently insulting the Chinese locals and their martial arts – and it’s up to Master Ip to defend the honor of both in a brutal East vs. West showdown.  International megastar Donnie Yen reprises his iconic role as Ip Man, the real-life Wing Chun grandmaster who trained Bruce Lee. This is a stand alone film, so if you’ve been unfortunate enough to miss out on IP MAN, you can still enjoy both the story and the kung fu mastery of IP MAN 2.

For More Theaters & Info, Please Visit:
For Showtimes, Please Visit:


Okay, so I didn’t actually watch watch the Golden Globes. I had things to do last night, you know? Like use whatever food-related Groupon I purchased in my sleep and finish Snooki’s novel A Shore Thing.

So I’m gonna take a leap of faith and assume the following: Ricky Gervais made some can’t-believe-he-just-said-that-he’s-so-British! quip… on the telly!!!, Tina Fey’s facial scar looked absolutely stunning in Tina Fey, Jake Gylallnahahneneahal (or however you spell) wore a bow tie, Charlie Sheen was just looking for a bathroom when he stumbled into The Globes, and Rachel Zoe hyperventilated into a Vera Wang bag someplace somewhere for no apparent reason (this last part is probably still occurring, I mean, have you seen her show?). Throw in the obligatory “Golden Globes” double entendre on the red carpet and Jesse Eisenberg averting all human eye contact throughout the evening and there you have it: the Golden Globes 2011!

Nonetheless, I did take the liberty to look up the list of last night’s winners and nominees. Here’s what you didn’t miss! I think…

Best Picture

THE SOCIAL NETWORK. I liked this movie. But only with as much effort as it takes to “like” something on Facebook. I just hope this doesn’t mean Justin Timberlake thinks we’re gonna take him seriously ’cause we’re not.

Read on…

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