Cultural & Visual Literacy Program

Cultural & Visual Literacy Program (CVLP)

    The Cultural & Visual Literacy Program (CVLP) provides free theater screenings of outstanding films that are rarely available in Hawaii. These films are applicable to many subjects; teachers in previous years have incorporated CVLP films into classes ranging from social studies and language arts to media production and character education. Whenever possible, HIFF invites the film’s director to participate in a post-screening discussion with students.

Students may be required to read subtitles. Schools will be responsible for their own transportation. One adult chaperone will be required for every twenty students. Open to students grades 7 to 12 on Oahu and the Big Island.

Sign up for CVLP Oahu here and CVLP Big Island here!


2016 United States | Directed by Tadashi Nakamura
English | 65M

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4th, 2016 – 9:45AM at Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18

View MELE MURALS Trailer

MELE MURALS is a documentary on the transformative power of modern graffiti art and ancestral wisdom for a new generation of Native Hawaiians. At the center of the story are two former illegal graffiti writers turned community artists – Estria Miyashiro (aka Estria) and John Hina (aka Prime) – a group of Native Hawaiian youth, and the rural community of Waimea.

Set against the resurgence of Hawaiian language and culture of the past twenty years, Estria and Prime tell how their street art has taken them on personal journeys to discover their history, identity and responsibilities as Hawaiian people. Estria, who left Hawai’i to study art in San Francisco, made a name for himself as an internationally known graffiti artist before returning to reconnect with his Hawaiian roots. Prime, who grew up in the projects and became one of the first kings of the Honolulu graffiti scene, left a life of hustling and drugs after the birth of his first child and returned to the art when he realized it was a way to help youth.

Through the stories of these two graffiti artists and their joint quest to connect to people and place through mural-making, MELE MURALS shows how public art rooted in underground graffiti unexpectedly but powerfully fuses with Native Hawaiian traditions and contemporary life to impact the students, the town of Waimea, and most of all the artists.



2016 Japan | Directed by: Shunji Oga
Japanese w/English Subtitles | 90M

Monday, November 7, 2016 – 9:45AM at Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18, Oahu

Friday, November 18, 2016 – 9:45AM at The Palace Theatre, Big Island

View HIKAWA MARU Trailer – This film will play with English subtitles

HIKAWA MARU commemorates the real-life 85th anniversary of the maiden voyage of the Hikawa Maru ocean liner from Kobe to Seattle. The film is based on essayist Genjiro Ito’s book of the same name.

Jirō Hirayama is a boy who lost his mother in the great Kanto earthquake, and who runs a soba stall with his father. He decides to join the crew of the famous ocean liner Hikawa Maru, and finds work cooking in the ship’s galley. Through his eyes, the film explores the ship’s 85-year history. – Asian Film Festival of Dallas


2016 United Kingdom, Mongolia, United States | Directed by: Otto Bell
English, Kazakh w/English Subtitles | 87M

Thursday, November 10th, 2016 – 9:45AM at Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18



Step aside, Katniss! Make room for Aisholpan, the 13-year-old eagle huntress from Mongolia.

For 2,000 years, the Kazakh people of the Altai region in western Mongolia have practiced a tradition of hunting with golden eagles, whose wingspan can reach up to 7.5 feet wide. Though this practice has traditionally been the domain of men, Aisholpan decides that she wants to become an apprentice hunter after spending her childhood helping her father, a renowned eagle hunter, care for his birds. Under the tutelage and support of her father and her grandfather—and very few others—Aisholpan learns all aspects of falconry, from taming her very own eagle to training for an annual competition, where she will compete against 70 eagle hunters on her quest to gain acceptance.

Featuring breathtaking cinematography and intimate footage, this film not only explores the life of a young girl striving to pursue her passion and break down gender barriers in a very traditional culture but also provides an engaging glimpse into the lives of this remote community, as they balance their traditional lifestyle with the modern world. -Sundance Film Festival

Sign up for CVLP Oahu here and CVLP Big Island here!