Every spring and fall HIFF shines the spotlight on some of the best Korean films of the year, and Spring Showcase 2012 is no exception. Korean films are always some of the most popular festival fare among HIFF audiences, and are beloved by HIFF staff. This year HIFF has a whopping FOUR South Korean films at Spring Showcase! I’m probably not the only one who is jumping up and down and giggling a little at the thought. So just to give you a quick preview of what you have in store, here is a…
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As I wrote in my previous HIFF Spring Showcase 2012 blog entry, we are living through a Documentary Renaissance. With the advent of the digital age, “film” making has democratized the medium, allowing people to pick up a camera and start documenting life with aplomb and frequency.
This year’s Spring Showcase documentaries are a broad cross section of docs from all walks of life — from recent Sundance hits, to social awareness and relevatory film essays of our time, to personal and human…
The Hawaii International Film Festival SPRING Showcase is in full swing! We just made our full lineup announcement and you can peruse through the entire schedule online. But, the best way to get an insider’s look into this year’s 33 film lineup is to subscribe to the official HIFF blog. In the coming weeks, HIFF staff will blog about various perspectives on the different types of films that comprise this spring’s dynamic programming.
To start off with the HIFF Spring 2012 Blog thread, I’m going to highlight our “big films,” primarily our Opening and Closing Night films and other major highlights during the Spring Showcase.
First up, is Peter Chan’s soon-to-be martial arts classic DRAGON (WU XIA). Starring perennial martial arts star Donnie Yen and Asian heartthrob Takeshi Kaneshiro, this multi-layered take on the classic wu xia genre, is surprisingly more of a detective murder mystery, in the vein of Sherlock Holmes or even TV’s HOUSE. Kaneshiro plays an eclectic detective who is on the trail of a murderous vigilante and winds up in a quaint village, where he meets meek farmer, played by Yen, who has a young family with his virtuous and beautiful wife, played by LUST, CAUTION’S Tang Wei.
Yen, of course, hides a deep dark secret as his past catches up with him, in the form of a murderous criminal clan led by kung fu cinema legend Jimmy Wang Yu. HIFF is proud to present the US premiere of this newly re-edited version overseen by Peter Chan himself!
HIFF is hosting a special event for the opening night of LET THE BULLETS FLY, at Pearlridge West 16 on Friday, March 2nd at 7:45pm. We’re giving away (4) pairs of tickets to see LET THE BULLETS FLY during its run at Pearlridge, thanks to distributor Variance Films. Here’s how to enter:
Enter on Twitter:
Tell us why you like Hong Kong action films in 140 characters or less, and start your tweet with ‘@HIFF’. The 2 most creative entries will win. Please follow @HIFF so we can direct messag…
“So right now, there’s no other venue in Hawai’i, except for the Hawaii International Film Festival. On the Mainland, we show four to six Japanese films per year, so we want to change the situation here.”
-Shun Ohara, Eleven Arts VP of Distribution
We saw the recent coverage of Okinawan superhero movie RYUJIN MABUYER in The Hawai’i Herald, and it is currently playing at Pearlridge West 16 Theatres through March 1st. HIFF had the world premiere of the RYUJIN MABUYER film last October, then it opened in Okinawa late last year to record opening weekend numbers. It’s a great example of incorporating local culture into a film or TV series. MABUYER was filmed and produced entirely in Okinawa, plus features an all-Uchinanchu cast.
The Hawaii International Film Festival is proud to be one of the only places to showcase Japanese films like RYUJIN MABUYER in Hawaii. MABUYER is being distributed by Eleven Arts, a Los Angeles based company that focuses on Japanese and Asian films. In the past, HIFF has shown many of their films, including: WHAT THE SNOW BRINGS (2005), COBALT BLUE (2009), THE HARIMAYA BRIDGE (2009), BEAUTIFUL ISLANDS (2010), and ALMOST PERFECT (2011). HIFF provides an excellent way to expose yourself to other countries’ cultures through the medium of film. With the multi-cultural makeup of Hawai’i, you can learn more about your own heritage, as well as your neighbors.
HIFF’s Executive Director Chuck Boller was recently honored at Pacific and Asian Affairs Council dinner
At the Pacific and Asian Affairs Council’s annual dinner A Global Affair” earlier in February, HIFF’s Executive Director Chuck Boller was honored with the Paul S. Bachman Memorial Award. This award honors an individual or organization that has contributed significantly to the improvement of relations between the United States and its neighbors in Asia and the Pacific. The HIFF staff was able to attend the event due to the generosity of Gulab & Indru Watumull, who are active in the HIFF Board of Directors. See below for a couple of photos from the event.
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:
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):
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.
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.