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HIFF 2012 – Something For Everyone

HIFF is right around the corner! We are presenting 222 films from 43 countries. With a mix of premieres, festival favorites, return engagements of classic films, cautionary tales about the world around us, midnight madness, and a selection of Oscar baiting films this coming winter, there’s definitely a film for everyone.

So, here’s a list of titles that hit that can be considered the ideal film festival viewing list, if you’re still having trouble deciding on what films to see:

Festival Favorite: THE SAPPHIRES

Yep, our Opening Night Film has been wowing audiences at major festivals from Cannes to Melbourne to Telluride, this true story of Aboriginal sisters who in 1968, formed a soul music group as Australia’s answer to ‘The Supremes.’ Starring Chris O’Dowd as their drunkard manager, they go on a USO tour to entertain American troops during the Vietnam War, where they go through life lessons full of laughter, tears, love and heartbreak. It’s simply a fun film and everyone should see it!

Oscar Bait: SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK & THE SESSIONS

Both films are going to garner lots of award nominations this coming awards season. With SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, directed by David O. Russell (THE FIGHTER, THREE KINGS) and starring Bradley Cooper in perhaps his best acting performance, the film won the Audience Award where it world debuted at the Toronto Film Festival.

Anticipated for acting nominations for John Hawkes and Helen Hunt as a disabled poet and the sex surrogate who allows him to experience physical (and emotional) love, THE SESSIONS is a thoughtful, often times funny, and humane film that again is one of those films that will fill your heart without being cliche. John Hawkes, who is known to playing more sinister characters in WINTER’S BONE (where he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor) and as the cult leader in MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE, does a complete 180 here with a touching, gentle performance that will have you rooting for him. Another great thing about the film — It’s an adult film that deals with adult issues and doesn’t demonize or whitewash issues of sex and sexuality.

Return Engagement: DIVA
One of the most seminal films of my personal cineaste journey, DIVA is Jean-Jacques Beineix’s ode to the French New Wave set in a cool ’80s-set Paris that deals with idolatry of an opera singer by a youth named Jules, brilliantly played by Frederic Andrei. The serpentine plot takes you through many twists and turns, with an amazing set-piece of a motorcycle chase through the Parisian metro. This film is so worth revisiting or visiting for the first time, especially on the big screen in 35mm!

Cautionary Tales: SEEDS OF HOPE & CHASING ICE
Climate change is a real thing. I think that’s a reasonable statement. And with us living on an island, these weather changes greatly affect our way of life, especially with our food supply. HIFF is honored to present SEEDS OF HOPE, a new documentary that examines this very problem and how it will affect the future of Hawai’i. This documentary covers a lot of ground interviewing a diverse and robust group of individuals with varying interests in farming, land use, distribution and the overall ecological landscape of our precious and diminishing food supply. If you care about the future of the State, you should watch this!

CHASING ICE, on the other hand, is a cautionary tale told through amazing still photography. In the spring of 2005, National Geographic photographer James Balog headed to the Arctic on a tricky assignment: to capture images to help tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate. Even with a scientific upbringing, Balog had been a skeptic about climate change and a cynic about the nature of academic research. But that first trip north opened his eyes to the biggest story in human history and sparked a challenge within him that would put his career and his very well-being at risk. A truly stunning film that needs to be experienced on the big screen.

Midnight Madness: ABCS OF DEATH & FRESH MEAT
The Festival loves its HIFF Extreme Films and this year’s truly a great year! Aside from the Korean anthology HORROR STORIES and gore action comedy DEAD SUSHI (Martial arts star Rina Takeda will be in attendance), there’s two very special extreme films that will definitely tickle your macabre fancy.

First up is anthology ABCS OF DEATH — 26 short films signifying one letter from the alphabet and with a death scene. From sheer horror and gore, to comedy and suspense, to claymation and computer graphics, this sensory overload of a film needs to be experienced with an audience. What’s even greater? The executive producers will be in attendance, Ant Timpson and Alamo Drafthouse founder & CEO and Fantastic Fest director Tim League! Should be major fun, especially with these two special guests in the theater.

And we’re honored to have the world premiere of FRESH MEAT, a unique take on the family who eats together (i.e. cannibalism) genre starring Temuera Morrison (ONCE WERE WARRIORS) as the patriarch of a affluent Maori family with a dark secret. Zany, over the top, satirical, and very bloody, HIFF is stoked to present this film before it’s domestic release in New Zealand. Better yet, the director, Danny Mulheron, will be in attendance!

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