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First ten HIFF 33 films announced!

With this year’s festival rapidly approaching, here’s a taste of the films that will be playing at HIFF from October 10-20. We’ll be releasing more film information on a weekly basis from now through the end of August, culminating in the release of the full festival program and schedule around September 1st.

Tickets will go on sale for HIFF members on September 20th, and for the general public on September 24th. Please see the box office page for full details.


HAUMANA-pic-2_3United States 2013 | Dir. Keo Woolford | Closing Night Film

Jonny Kealoha is the charismatic host of a struggling Waikiki Polynesian lū`au show. To everyone’s surprise, including his own, he is appointed as the successor to a high school boy’s hula class when his former Kumu Hula (master hula teacher) passes away. He becomes as much a student as a teacher through the demands of leading the boys to a significant cultural event, and rediscovers the sanctity of the culture he had previously abandoned.


BROKEN-CIRCLE-BREAKDOWN-pic-4_3Belgium, Netherlands 2013 | Dir. Felix van Groeningen | EuroCinema Hawaii

‘The Broken Circle Breakdown’ tells the love story between Elise and Didier. She has her own tattoo shop, he plays the banjo in a band. It is love at first sight, in spite of major differences. He talks, she listens. He is a dedicated atheist, although at the same time a naive romantic. She has a cross tattooed in her neck, even though she has both feet firmly on the ground. Their happiness is complete after their little girl Maybelle is born. Unfortunately, Maybelle, at six years old, becomes seriously ill. Didier and Elise respond in very different ways. But Maybelle does not leave them any choice. Didier and Elise will have to fight for her together. Will you get through something like that if you are so different? Or will love let you down if you need it most? ‘The Broken Circle Breakdown’ is an intense melodrama, full of passion and music. About how love can conquer fate, and sometimes not. Synopsis: Official Film Website


Chile, Spain 2013 | Dir. Sebastián Lelio | EuroCinema Hawaii

Gloria is 58 and lonely. To make up for the emptiness, she fills her days with activities and at night seeks love at parties for single adults, where she only succeeds in losing herself in senseless adventures. This fragile happiness changes the day she meets Rodolfo, a recently separated 65 year-old who is obsessed with her. But their relation suffers from Rodolfo’s unhealthy dependence on his children and his ex-wife. This relation, to which Gloria gives her all as she feels it may well be her last, finally sends her crashing into the cruel reality of the world. Gloria will have to pull herself together and find new strength to deal with the fact that she’s finally getting old. Synopsis: Festival Internacional de cine de Donostia-San Sebastián


France, Japan 2012 | Dir. Nicolas Philibert | EuroCinema Hawaii

Making a film about a radio station doesn’t sound like the most visually compelling of projects. How many takes do you need before the acoustic transition from the opening to the closing of a door is perfect or the reader’s voice correctly modulated? Nicolas Philibert (Être et avoir) has accepted the challenge to portray that which cannot be seen. Shouldering his camera, he spent half a year wandering the endless corridors of Radio France’s ’round house’ on the banks of the Seine where he filmed people who dedicate themselves utterly and meticulously to their work. Philibert takes his time, allowing the rich diversity of radio programmes to create a universe of their own, like an echo of the world outside.


China 2013 | Dir. Jia Zhang Ke | New Chinese Cinema

The recipient of the “Best Screenplay” award at the 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival, writer/director Jia Zhang Ke’s four part drama explores the corrosive effects of violence in contemporary China through the eyes of a disgruntled miner, a migrant worker returning home for the New Year, a receptionist who is assaulted by a wealthy client, and a frustrated factory worker.  Synopsis: Jason Buchanan


China 2013 | Dir. Hao Wu | Documentaries

This film chronicles the staging of the American musical ‘Fame,’ China’s first official collaboration with Broadway, by the graduating class at China’s top drama academy. During the eight-month process, five students of diverse personalities and family backgrounds compete for roles, struggle with pressure from family and authority, and prepare to graduate into China’s reality of income inequality and rampant corruption. Part of China’s single-child generation, they were spoiled growing up but are now obliged to carry on the failed dreams of their parents. Often confused by the conflicting cultural values shaping China today, they must confront their anxieties about an uncertain future and, in the process of staging ‘Fame,’ negotiate their own definitions of and paths to success.


RUROUNI-KENSHIN-pic-2_3Japan 2012 | Dir. Keishi Ohtomo | Spotlight on Japan

Kenshin Himura was an assassin for the Imperial side during the war that ended the Shogunate and installed the Meiji government. After killing countless people, he made a vow to never kill again. Ten years later, he finds a home at a failing dojo, only to be caught up in a string of murders related to an opium ring. His commitment to never taking a life is put to the test as the people he’s come to care about are threatened by figures from his past. Synopsis: Tyler Herbolsheimer


VERY-ORDINARY-COUPLE-pic-1_3South Korea 2013 | Dir. Deok Roh | Spotlight on Korea

A big Korean box-office hit of 2013, marking the debut of Roh Deok, one of Korea’s few female directors, this precision-tooled romantic comedy focuses on a couple who have tried to keep their relationship a secret at the bank where they work, but declare all out war on each other after they break up.



ILO_ILO_pic_1_3Singapore 2013 | Dir. Anthony Chen | Southeast Asian Showcase

Set in Singapore during the beginning of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, ILO ILO chronicles the day-to-day drama of the Lim family – troublesome grade-schooler Jiale and his overstressed parents – and Teresa, a Filipina immigrant who they hire as a live-in maid. An outsider in both the family and Singapore itself, Teresa struggles to manage Jiale’s antics. The two do form a unique bond, but as Teresa becomes an unspoken part of the family, she may in fact be worsening their already-strained relationship.


Australia, Laos 2013 | Dir. Kim Mordaunt | Southeast Asian Showcase

A boy who is believed to bring bad luck to everyone around him leads his family and two new friends through Laos to find a new home. After a calamity-filled journey through a land scarred by the legacy of war, to prove he’s not bad luck he builds a giant rocket to enter the most exciting and dangerous competition of the year: the Rocket Festival.

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