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Let the Festival Begin!

We are a few days away from the festival and I’ve got my tickets for the movies that I really wanted to see. As my schedule starts to fill in this week, we will see what other movies I have time to enjoy. What I am really looking forward to is Thursday, a big day for the festival as the morning they host an Opening Press Conference at Rum Fire at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel, and in the evening is the Opening Night Party at the Halekulani Hotel. That party is followed by the Opening Night movie “The Front Line” at Dole Cannery Theaters. It is going to be a very busy day!

New HIFF Films Announced!

HIFF has added three new films to the program for this year’s festival. THE TSUNAMI AND THE CHERRY BLOSSOM is a documentary about Japan’s recovery from the tsunami earlier this year and is in our GREEN SCREEN section. The second added film is BUTTER, a comedy about butter carving in the midwest starring Jennifer Garner, Olivia Wilde, Alicia Silverstone, and Hugh Jackman. It plays with the short film STEVE, about a man who comes to tea. The cast of STEVE includes Colin Firth & Keira Knightley.

THE TSUNAMI AND THE CHERRY BLOSSOM: Sat, Oct 15 at 3:30 PM  /  Sun, Oct 23 at 11:45 AM
BUTTER + STEVE: Sat, Oct 22, 2011 at 10:00 PM


A new screening of THE LAST RONIN (SAIGO NO CHUUSHINGURA) has been added Sun, Oct 23 at 7:45 PM. Several additional screenings on the last day of the festival will be announced after the awards show on Tuesday, October 18th.

Win tickets to Jackie Chan’s “1911”, opening this Friday

Jackie Chan’s 100th film, 1911, is opening in Honolulu this Friday, October 7th. Thanks to the film distributor, Variance Films, HIFF has four pairs of tickets to 1911 to give away. We’re holding a quick contest, and the winners will be announced in the morning on Thursday, October 6th.

The Contest: To qualify to win a pair of tickets, entrants will need choose the correct answer to 2 trivia questions about Jackie Chan and 1911. To enter, please completely fill out this form. View the full blog post or read below for more details about 1911.

Update Oct. 6: The winners have been announced! Jae Cheung and Judy Francese won vouchers to Pearlridge 16; Dael Hayama and Brandon Wong won vouchers for the Kahala Theater.

*NOTE*: 1911 is being released theatrically, and is not part of this year’s Hawaii International Film Festival lineup.

Tickets are now on sale for members, general public sales start October 3rd.

Tickets are now on sale for HIFF Ohana members and ticket sales for the general public start Monday, October 3rd. Our box office is located inside the Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18 & IMAX lobby. You can stop by in person or call 808-447-0577 from 11am – 6pm from Sept 29 to Oct 12, and from 11am to the start of the last show during the actual festival dates (Oct 13-23).

Tickets are $12 general public, $10 senior/student/military/children, $8 HIFF members or groups of 10 or more. There are some exceptions: THE FRONT LINE and THE DESCENDANTS (opening & closing night films) and AN AFTERNOON WITH HAWAII 5-0 are $20, HIFF members $15.

Printed program guides are now available at the HIFF office, Regal Dole Cannery Theater, and are being distributed to many places on O’ahu, including all Starbucks and L&L locations. In addition, you can look at our E-Program Book here.

Watch the HIFF 31 Festival Trailer!

The HIFF 31 festival trailer was unveiled last evening at our members sneak peek screening. The trailer was created by Humanhand, the design agency that also created this year’s key visual artwork. We show this trailer before every HIFF screening.

[video: width:609 height:343]


Shot & Cut: Luke Aguinaldo
Production & Art Direction: Warren Daubert, Justin Cravalho
Original Score: Spirit Sounds by Kenny Endo – Remixed by Matthew McVickar

HIFF 31 presented by Halekulani – Film Program & Schedule Announced!

The full film program and schedule for the 31st Hawaii International Film Festival have just been announced. There are over 200 films from 45 countries represented this year! Tickets go on sale September 29th for HIFF Ohana members, and October 3rd for the general public. We expect certain films to sell out fast, and HIFF members get the first shot at acquiring tickets to them.

Browse Film Program / View Schedule


Big Nights – Opening, Centerpiece, Closing

Opening Night Film

October 13, 2011 8:00 PM

In THE FRONT LINE,  Shin Ha-gyun (SAVE THE GREEN PLANET!) plays a young officer sent to the area to investigate a possible spy and what looks like a sinister case of “friendly fire.” The surprises awaiting him include a reunion with an old friend he believed dead, several run-ins with a crack North Korean sniper, rife indiscipline and insubordination… and a surprising kind of fraternization between the two sides.


Centerpiece Presentation

October 19, 2011 8:15 PM

PINA is a feature-length dance film in 3D with the ensemble of the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, featuring the unique and inspiring art of the late great German choreographer. Wim Wenders takes the audience on a sensual, visually stunning journey of discovery into a new dimension: straight onto the stage with the legendary ensemble and follows the dancers out of the theatre into the city and the surrounding areas of Wuppertal – the home and center for Pina Bausch’s creativity.


Closing Night Film

October 23, 2011 6:00 PM

From Alexander Payne, the creator of the Oscar-winning SIDEWAYS, set in Hawaii, THE DESCENDANTS is a sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic journey for Matt King (George Clooney) an indifferent husband and fatherof two girls, who is forced to re-examine his past and embrace his future when his wife suffers a boating accident off of Waikiki.  The event leads to a rapprochement with his young daughters while Matt wrestles with a decision to sell the family’s land handed down from Hawaiian royalty and missionaries.

Luxury Row presents the EuroCinema Hawai’i Film Festival 2011

Founded in 2009, EuroCinema Hawai’i (ECH) is dedicated to using the medium of film to increase the cultural relations between the people of Hawaii and Europe and to provide financial support to Hawaii based student filmmakers through annual scholarships and awards. See details for the EuroCinema Hawai’i films.


October 17, 2011 8:30 PM



October 22, 2011 5:30 PM
October 23, 2011 5:15 PM



October 15, 2011 1:00 PM
October 17, 2011 4:00 PM



October 14, 2011 9:30 PM
October 16, 2011 9:30 PM


October 16, 2011 7:45 PM



October 18, 2011 6:45 PM
October 19, 2011 3:30 PM



October 18, 2011 9:30 PM
October 19, 2011 6:30 PM



October 16, 2011 5:15 PM
October 18, 2011 3:30 PM


Obivously I’m excited about all the movies at HIFF, but of the 10 films we’ve revealed so far, here’s the three that I’m most looking forward to. Whether it’s pyrokinetic SFX pumped or something more nuanced, the job of a good trailer is to get you excited, so these are the different degrees of excitement I feel watching these three below. Find me on opening day, be a champ and sit next to me during ’em to help me keep my cool, pleasethankyou?


This looks…interesting. But  i-n-t-e-n-s-e-l-y  interesting. And demanding (I read it was the most “challenging” piece for audiences at TIFF this year). Based on the novel by Lionel Shriver about a fictional high school massacre (fans of Van Sant’s ELEPHANT, take heed), the trailer gets me most excited about the lead performances. John C. Reilly is a renaissance dude who looks pitch perfect in his role, but two words for you: Tilda Swinton. Like, is she even from this planet? She’s incredible.

More excitement after the “Read More” click…

Digifest 2011: Watch 20+ Asian American feature-length films

Drama Fever and San Diego Asian Film Foundation present Digifest 2011, a selection of 20+ Asian American feature-length films streaming online for free until this December! HIFF has shown many of these films in the past, including narrative films CHILDREN OF INVENTION (Puma Emerging Filmmaker Award, 2009), OWL AND THE SPARROW (NETPAC Award, 2007) and documentary films CATS OF MIRIKITANI and WHATEVER IT TAKES. HIFF’s audience is similar to the SDAFF audience, so we thought you would be interested in watching these films.

DIGIFEST 2011: Watch 20+ Asian American feature-length films


HIFF Key Art Cat’s out of the bag: THE DESCENDANTS is our Closing Film 2011. The much-anticipated Payne/Clooney project based off the book by local author Kaui Hart Hemmings is going to be a guarantee sell-out. As a ~*Native Hawaiian~*~ who went to Kamehameha and sucks at math, just trust me on these things, ‘kay?

Here’s a recent review out of Variety…


Some highlights from the article:

Woodley, best known for her work on ABC Family’s soapy “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” is a revelation in the role of Alex, displaying both the edge and depth the role demands.

…never descends to griefsploitation…carefully [selecting] moments that reveal the characters’ ever-changing emotions without wallowing in their pain. …There’s also an unexpected amount of humor to be found in the circumstances immediately surrounding a loved one’s death, and [Payne] embraces both contradictions with due respect.

“The Descendants” is one of those satisfying, emotionally rich films that works on multiple levels. Some will call their travel agents to book Hawaiian vacations as soon as they dry their eyes (just as “Sideways” boosted wine-tasting in the Santa Ynez Valley), while more cynical auds should find layers to engage their sensibilities as well. Of particular interest is the way Payne allows class and race to supply an interesting, albeit subtle, subtext.

That last sentence is particularly intriguing. As it takes place in Hawai‘i, was shot in Hawai‘i, and is soon to screen in Hawai‘i, guarantee our HIFF audiences will be especially heightened to reading into its narrative, which is always exciting for any film.


Good morning! (In hungover speak, 2:01pm is a still the “morning,” comprende?)

If you’re aware that it’s a long Labor Day weekend like me, then there’s a 80%-Patron proof chance you’re slugging it with your body right now. Sssssssucks, bros, I know, but time for an in-house film festival remedy for you. What they don’t teach doctors in med school is that Alone Time over a soy latte + an Advil mixed with an ample dose of a Good Trailer is just what the nervous system orders; the sort of trailer that simultaneously numbs and stimulates the senses. MMMMmmmmm…uuuggghhhgaaaahgroanvomit.

Here are 4 picture-perfect mooOOOoooOody sights and sounds that’ll put your temples at ease – HIFF Rx approved.

1. RESTLESS // directed by Gus Van Sant

Gus Van Sant is a MOOD MACHINE. Mia Wachowski’s ethereal face meets touch of Asian ghost story whimsy sans kabuki plus delicate teenagers handing hands running over train tracks into well-lit hallways and don’t you just want to fall into a bed of crispy autumn leaves or something?! This movies look really ~*~sensitive~*~ which we could also say about our livers.

#2. WEEKEND // directed by Andrew Haigh

This looks good; we want to see this – if only for the fact it looks like it was shot in a cloud and being in a cloud would feel so f-ing nice right now. There’s few things quiet, talky films with sharp dialogue can’t cure in a hangover situation. Meaning, just ask the two dudes in this film who we’re puh-retty sure woke up with hangovers themselves, so hello, art imitating life/blog! WEEKEND is reminding us of other recent indies like MEDICINE FOR MELANCHONY or IN SEARCH OF A MIDNIGHT KISS and those were pretty good too.

Two more visual pills after the plunge…

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