HIFF37 presented by Halekulani anounces Juried Award Winners and Artist Honorees

By HIFF | November 14, 2017

Made In Hawaii Feature Winner: OUT OF STATE directed by Ciara Lacy
Made In Hawaii Best Short: WILDER PALMS directed by Bradley Tangonan
Best Overall Short Film: PRIA directed by Yudho Aditya
Inaugural Hawaii Movie Maker Award for 2017 Given to Alexander Bocchieri and Stacey Hayashi of GO FOR BROKE

November 11, 2017 (Honolulu, HI) - The 37th edition of Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) presented by Halekulani announced their Jury winners at a private Awards Gala yesterday evening.

The Made In Hawaii competition film awards are presented by the Hawaii Film Office, to celebrate the dynamic and flourishing local independent film scene that strives onward here in the Hawaiian Islands. Fiction, Non-fiction and short films that are made by locally-based filmmakers or involve locally-based stories are eligible for the following awards—Best Made In Hawaii Feature and Best Made In Hawaii Short Film.

The Best Made In Hawaii Feature Award winner is OUT OF STATE, directed by Ciara Lacy. The award was presented by HIFF festival jurors: Jordan Kandell (screenwriter/producer, MOANA, upcoming ADFIT), Tim Rhys (Editor/Publisher, MOVIEMAKER MAGAZINE), and Ty Sanga (Director, FAMILY INGREDIENTS, VISIONS IN THE DARK: THE LIFE OF PINKY THOMPSON).

The Jurors shared their thoughts on the award winning film: “To create a feature-length film is never anything less than a miracle.You simply need to carve out years of your life, assemble, mobilize, and lead a small army willing to go to war with you, and of course, convince someone to finance your vision to help turn it from dream into reality. Knowing all of that, the jurors for the inaugural "Best Made in Hawaii Feature" award were faced with a seemingly difficult choice: which of our worthy, passionately-made miracles should be recognized as the "best?" In the end, while each nominee had its merits, there was one unanimous choice that stood out. One movie which impressed us, in both narrative and documentary categories, for its technical merits in directing, cinematography, editing and storytelling. And most importantly one movie that most moved this jury. The themes that this powerful, poetic film explores are specifically grounded in a uniquely Hawaiian experience — exploring the struggles of contemporary Hawaiians through an intimate, honest, and empathetic lens. Yet the story this film tells, the complex characters it follows, and the struggles they face have universal relevance. For all these reasons, the jury is is proud to bestow the Hawaii International Film Festival's inaugural "Best Made in Hawaii Feature” award to Ciara Lacy's OUT OF STATE.”

The Best Made In Hawaii Short Film Award winner is WILDER PALMS, directed by Bradley Tangonan. This year’s Made In Hawaii Short Film Jurors are: filmmaker Kimberlee Bassford (PATSY MINK: AHEAD OF THE MAJORITY, WINNING GIRL), Gerard Elmore (Festival director Ohina Short Film Showcase) and filmmaker Lisette Marie Flanary (NA KAMALEI: MAN OF HULA, ONE VOICE).

The jury remarks: “We are proud to present the first Best Made in Hawaiʻi Short Film Award created to focus on the dynamic and flourishing independent local film scene here in the Hawaiian Islands. The jury was inspired by the diverse fiction and non-fiction films in this inaugural year’s competition that truly were the very best of our local stories and filmmakers. Bradley Tangonan’s WILDER PALMS is a subtle, visually elegant and thoughtful film about the resiliency of a young child. WILDER PALMS tells a unique Hawaiʻi story from the point of view and imagination of seven-year-old Rinn who is on the verge of being separated from her mother after a tense encounter with a DHS worker. In the face of a difficult reality, Rinn’s vivid imagination brings everyday household items and routines to life. Stunning cinematography, sparse dialogue, nuanced attention to detail and authentic performances are interwoven into a beautifully crafted short film from an emerging local talent and voice.”

All short films in Shorts programs #1-5, plus PACIFIC SHOWCASE SHORTS programs were eligible for the overall HIFF BEST SHORT FILM award. The jury for the BEST MADE IN HAWAII SHORT FILM also presides over the HIFF BEST SHORT FILM award. This year’s HIFF Best Overall Short Film Award is PRIA, directed by Yudho Aditya.

From the jury: “PRIA tells the story of a gay Muslim teen living in rural Indonesia who struggles between the traditions of his upbringing and his own personal pursuit of happiness on the eve of his arranged marriage. A deftly crafted and nuanced portrait of what it means to be Indonesian, Muslim and gay, the jury was impressed by the subtle storytelling and emotional resonance of young Aris's journey, the sense of place captured through the cinematography and the powerfully honest performances by Chicco Kurniawan as Aris and Karlina Inawati as Ros, his mother. A brave film about forging and embracing identity against societal norms, PRIA is ultimately a universal story that also highlights the diversity of the LGBT experience around the world.”

Announced at the event is a new partnership between Hawaii International Film Festival and Hawaiian Airlines to launch in-flight programming to celebrate and showcase Hawaiian filmmakers and locally produced short films. Beginning in 2018, the rotating programming will feature up to 15 short films annually, curated by HIFF, and available for free on over 120 Hawaiian airline routes to 28 destinations across the globe. The winner of the new HIFF Made in Hawaii short film award presented by the Hawaii Film Office is offered a spot in the program. Other showcased films will be selected based on a range of merits by the HIFF programming team.

“We are honored to launch this partnership with Hawaiian Airlines to create a platform for local filmmakers to share their stories with many new audiences across the globe,” shares Beckie Stocchetti, HIFF Executive Director. “With such increased access to these films, I hope that this opportunity inspires and empowers our talented community to continue to create, innovate, and push the boundaries of what the Hawaii film industry has to offer.”

HIFF also announced the inaugural Hawaii Movie Maker Award, which is given in recognition of a moviemaker working in Hawaii who has done more to achieve their vision than could possibly be expected and thereby embodies the spirit of independent moviemaking. The inaugural Hawaii Movie Maker Award for 2017 was given to Alexander Bocchieri of GO FOR BROKE. The prize consists of a print article in an upcoming issue of MovieMaker Magazine as well as a PR package, together valued at approximately $20K.

“As the Festival of note for Pacific filmmaking, we are always working to cultivate opportunities for filmmakers of Hawaii. HIFF is honored to be partnering with MovieMaker Magazine to present this new award,” says Beckie Stocchetti, HIFF Executive Director. “I am thrilled about this new exposure for the moviemakers in Hawaii, and the impact of this increased access to the Hawaii’s breakthrough talent and the opportunities it provides for the impressive new cinema of our region.”

The evening’s Awards Gala honorees were recognized for their commitment to excellence in their field. The honorees were announced during a press conference before the festival kicked off. The 2017 Halekulani Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to Bill Pullman in recognition of their longstanding dedication to their craft, encompassing a broad body of work. This award recognizes Mr. Pullman for his robust contributions to the arts, groundbreaking performances, and breadth of stature and notoriety.

This year the festival also honored dynamic and renowned Japanese director/producer/actor Masato Harada with the HIFF Golden Maile Award for Career Achievement. This award is bestowed to an artist who has reached the career pinnacles very few have achieved via industry awards and accolades and a body of work that is known globally. Aside from an amazing artistic career, Mr. Harada is also honored for his contribution to the cinematic arts, but also through equally significant endeavors such as social justice and the betterment of humanity.

Australian actor and filmmaker Simon Baker was the recipient of the Hawaii International Film Festival's Halekulani Maverick Award, which is given to an international cinema artist who has a unique and eclectic career trajectory, contributing to international cinema and the filmed arts in an innovative way. Mr. Baker is honored as a maverick does things on his terms, creating work that can have a rabid, cult following to a mass appreciation in today’s pop culture.

Pacific Islanders in Communications presented the 2017 HIFF Pacific Islanders in Communications Trailblazer Award to Taika Waititi (THOR: RAGNAROK; WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS). This new Award is given to a cinema artist of Pacific Islander heritage who broadens the scope of Pacific Islander stories onto the world stage, producing award winning work in independent and global cinema, becoming a trendsetter in their field and a cultural ambassador that shines a spotlight on Pacific islander culture in mainstream media. Mr. Waititi is recognized as a true trailblazer, whose work aligns with PIC’s mission—to support, advance, and develop Pacific Island media content and talent that results in a deeper understanding of Pacific Island history, culture, and contemporary challenges.

Earlier this week, the jury presented Mariska Hargitay and I AM EVIDENCE co-directors Geeta Gandbhir and Trish Adlesic with the Special Jury Award for Impact in Filmmaking. This was given in recognition of the filmmaking team's work on I AM EVIDENCE, the on-going efforts in advocating for survivors and amplifying efforts to bring each unresolved backlog case closer to justice, and Ms. Hargitay's work as founder and president of the Joyful Heart Foundation.

Two awards were given to Asian directors who are truly representative of their respective country's cinema -- Giddens Ko, who was a celebrated writer before becoming a filmmaker with his breakthrough film YOU ARE THE APPLE OF MY EYE in 2011, was awarded the SPOTLIGHT ON TAIWAN Filmmaker of the Year. HIFF screened his debut film, as well as his latest MON MON MON MONSTERS! to a sold out audience. In addition, celebrated Hong Kong New Wave director Fruit Chan was awarded the SPOTLIGHT ON HONG KONG Award. The Festival screened a 4K digital restoration of his seminal 1997 film MADE IN HONG KONG, which was followed by a masterclass with the revered director. 

The NETPAC Award is presented annually at international film festivals in Berlin, Cannes, Venice, Rotterdam, Pusan, Singapore, Taiwan, Yamagata, Amiens and Hawaii. HIFF is the only film festival in North America given permission to present the NETPAC award. This year’s NETPAC Award winner is the New Zealand film ONE THOUSAND ROPES directed by Tusi Tamasese.

From the Jury: “ONE THOUSAND ROPES is a landmark film in indigenous cinema: fearlessly independent, immune to the seductiveness of popular or commercial cinema, and a step forward in Tusi Tamasese's search for authenticity in representing the lives of Samoans today.”

The Audience Awards for Favorite Narrative Feature, Documentary and Short Film, presented by Hawaii News Now, will be announced on Tuesday, November 14 on the HIFF website at www.hiff.org.

For more information on the awards and jurors, please visit: https://www.hiff.org/filmmakers/view/awards-and-juries


    Made In Hawaii Best Feature: OUT OF STATE (directed by Ciara Lacy)
    Made In Hawaii Best Short: WILDER PALMS (directed by Bradley Tangonan)
    HIFF Best Overall Short Film: PRIA (directed by Yudho Aditya)
    NETPAC Winner: ONE THOUSAND ROPES (directed by Tusi Tamasese)
    Hawaii Movie Maker Award: Alexander Bocchieri & Stacey Hayashi (director and writer-producer, GO FOR BROKE)
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