Guest Filmmaker Program

Classroom Visits

(open to primary & secondary students on Oahu and Kauai)

Visiting filmmakers will help to enrich classes such as media production, journalism, language arts, foreign language and social studies. These visits will offer the logistical benefit of bringing speakers into classrooms rather than requiring field trips. Students will learn first-hand from successful professionals in the filmmaking/media industry. Teachers will be encouraged to plan activities that will involve students interacting with their guest speakers.


Filmmaker Dates and Availability

The filmmakers below are available for classroom visits on Oahu on these dates, except where noted: October 30-31, November 3-7, 2014.

The following filmmakers are available for Kauai visits on November 13-14, 2014.

  • Dean Kaneshiro
  • Anne Misawa


GFP Signup Form – Oahu   GFP Signup Form – Kauai


2014 Guest Filmmakers


Desiree Akhavan

Desiree-AkhavanIranian-American filmmaker Desiree Akhavan is the writer/director/star of APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR, which premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. She is also the co-creator and star of the critically acclaimed web series THE SLOPE, a comedy that follows a pair of superficial, homophobic lesbians in love. Desiree was featured as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” and will appear on the next season of GIRLS. She has a BA from Smith College and an MFA from NYU’s Grad Film Program.

* Available October 31st and November 3rd only.


Ana Lily Amirpour

Ana-Lily-AmirpourAna Lily Amirpour made her first film at age 12, a horror movie starring guests of a slumber party. She has a varied background in the arts including painting and sculpting, and was bass player and frontwoman of an artrock band before moving to Los Angeles to make films. Her debut feature film, the Iranian Vampire Western A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT, premiered in the NEXT section of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and was opening night selection at the New Directors/New Films Festival at the MoMA in New York. She is also creator of a comic book series A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, which chronicles the ongoing blood-soaked journeys of the lonely vampire known only as The Girl.

* Available November 3rd and 4th only.


Hasan Elahi

Hasan-ElahiHasan Elahi is an interdisciplinary artist whose work has been presented in numerous exhibitions throughout the US and overseas. He has spoken about his work to a broad range of audiences, including the Tate Modern, the American Association of Artificial Intelligence, the International Association of Privacy Professionals, TED Global, and the World Economic Forum. His work on surveillance, technology, and citizenship is frequently in the media and has been covered by The New York Times, Forbes, Wired, and has appeared on Al Jazeera, Fox News, and on The Colbert Report.

HIFF will be presenting Hasan’s work as part of a special program, the NEW FRONTIERS PROGRAM: Expanding Boundaries of Art & Media in Islamic Communities. Hasan’s work will be on display from October 30 – November 9 at the Our Kaka’ako warehouse on Cooke Street. This work will be presented as part of a larger exhibition, Chain Of Fire, co-presented by the Honolulu Biennial Foundation.


Ayako Fujitani

Ayako-FujitaniAyako Fujitani is an actress and writer, bilingual in English and Japanese. Her latest film, MAN FROM RENO directed by Dave Boyle won the grand jury prize for the Best Narrative Feature at the 20th Los Angeles International Film Festival (2014).

Unlike typical starlets, Fujitani built a unique career in Japan outside of acting. When she was 15, she penned articles for a well-known Japanese movie magazine, Road Show. Soon after, she wrote her first novel, Flee Dream, which inspired director Hideaki Anno, the creator of the phenomenal anime series, Neon Genesis EVANGELION. Fujitani and Anno co-adapted her novel into, RITUAL (2000), the first non-animated feature film by Studio Ghibli. It won the Best Artistic Film award for Tokyo International Film Festival.

In 2008, director Michel Gondry hand-picked Fujitani to play the lead in TOKYO! (2008). She followed up by moving to Los Angeles in 2009 and penned articles for art and pop culture magazine, Giant Robot.

Ayako recently wrote and directed a short film, THE DOORS in 2014 using only an iPhone 5 with legendary cinematographer, Chung-hoon Chung (OLD BOY, STOKER). The piece was invited to the Olleh International Smartphone Festival in Seoul, Korea.

* Available October 31st only.


Siti Kamaluddin

Siti-KamaluddinSiti Kamaluddin has a wealth of experience onscreen and behind the scenes. She began her career as a writer and TV host in Brunei Darussalam for the youth-oriented show ORANGE ROOM, which she both hosted and wrote. She also hosted the music reality show PASSPORT 2 FAME (P2F). From there she became the manager of Zul F, the contestant winner of P2F and took the local music scene by storm being the first ever to market a Bruneian artist outside of Brunei and airing his music video in the regional MTV channel.

She then set up Origin Artistic Management, a leading production company where she has produced and directed TV commercials and documentaries for some of Brunei’s largest corporate clients. Siti has also been involved in the production of several successful box feature films.

YASMINE is her first feature film as director. The film is also the first ever from Brunei directed by a woman. HIFF will be screening YASMINE as part of the Cultural and Visual Literacy Program.

* Available November 3rd only.


Dean Kaneshiro

Dean-KaneshiroDean Kaneshiro is the director and producer of RISE OF THE WAHINE, premiering at the 2014 Hawaii International Film Festival.

Founder of EarthSuit Media, Dean has passion and experience on both sides of the camera. As an actor, he has appeared in both film (THE ULTIMATE GIFT) and television (most recently HAWAII 5-0 and LAST RESORT). As a director, Dean has a 10+ year history producing television shows, commercials, and promotional content for non-profits. He is launching into documentary film with RISE OF THE WAHINE due to a strong desire to stimulate thought, spark discussion, and bring personal and societal change.

Why RISE OF THE WAHINE? “This incredible, mostly untold story took place in my own backyard – I had no idea. It’s a story of sacrifice and the price a previous generation paid for women to have opportunities today.”


Anne Misawa


Anne Misawa grew up in Hawaii. Having graduated from University of Southern California’s Graduate Film and Television Program, she has worked internationally in various aspects of film production. Her primary work is as a Director and as a Cinematographer.

Directorial credits include–
WAKING MELE, (Sundance Film Festival, 2000), and EDEN’S CURVE, (Emerging Film Best Feature Award, NCGLFF, 2003). Anne teaches cinematic production at the Academy for Creative Media, University of Hawai’i where she produced & directed the feature length documentary, STATE OF ALOHA, which has garnered various awards, (Halekulani Golden Orchid Award Nominee for Best Documentary at Hawaii International Film Festival, 2009).

Her work as cinematographer include many award-winning films–
MARGARITA, WITH A STRAW, (directed by Shonali Bose, script was awarded the Sundance Institute’s Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award 2012 and premiers at the Toronto International Film Festival, 2014,) JACK & DIANE, (directed by Bradley-Rust Gray, Tribeca Film Festival, Locarno International Film Festival, 2012), TREELESS MOUNTAIN, (directed by So Yong Kim, Toronto International Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival, and New Directors/ New Films, 2008), TIME OUT, (directed by Xelinda Yancy, executive produced by John Singleton, HBO Award, 2004), SALT, (directed by Bradley-Rust Gray, Caligari Award for Innovative Filmmaking at Berlin International Film Festival, 2003), and LIV, (directed by Edoardo Ponti, executive produced by Robert Altman and Michaelangelo Antonioni, Venice International Film Festival, 1998). Her work in TREELESS MOUNTAIN was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography in 2010.)

Anne is currently an Associate Professor and Chair at the Academy for Creative Media, University of Hawaii at Manoa.


James Murphy & Andrea Warren

Bio coming soon


Bao Nguyen

Bio coming soon


Minh Nguyen-Vo

Minh-Nguyen-VoMinh Nguyen-Vo grew up in a small town in Vietnam during the war. To get away from the atrocities, he escaped into the one-room movie theater in town that his parents managed. He moved to France to study on a scholarship, then continued in the US and obtained a PhD in physics from UCLA. After years of research in acoustics and optics, he came back to cinema. NUOC 2030 is his second feature film.

* Available November 3rd only.





Farzad Sangari

Farzad-SangariFarzad is a filmmaker originally from Iran. Prior to making films Farzad studied both Literature and Film and worked in Education. MUDBLOODS is his first feature documentary, and follows the UCLA quidditch team on their way to the quidditch world cup in New York.

HIFF will be presenting MUDBLOODS as part of the NEW AMERICAN FILMMAKERS program, designed to highlight the contributions of American immigrant filmmakers to contemporary American cinema. HIFF is hosting a special FREE screening of MUDBLOODS at the Ward Village Courtyard Cinema at the historic IBM Building on Monday November 3rd. The event will begin at 6PM with music, games, and food, film will begin at 7PM.

* Available November 3rd and 4th only.