#HIFF38 MADE IN HAWAII Features and Shorts in competition

By HIFF | October 16, 2018

MADE IN HAWAII Films is the Festival’s annual section that presents the best in Hawaii-made films. For the second year, HIFF38 will present a competition section for select films in the MADE IN HAWAII Features and Shorts.

MADE IN HAWAII is a premiere section at HIFF with the intent to shine a light on the emerging and veteran filmmakers working in Hawaii today, presenting our stories that capture the unique cultures and communities that make Hawaii one of the most diverse spots in the world. Although the ‘I’ in HIFF stands for ‘International,’ the Festival’s mission is to also promote place-based cinematic stories and present them to our local, national and international audiences.

MADE IN HAWAII section is sponsored by Hawaii Film Office. Both competitions are sponsored by the Nichols Family Film Fund offering $10,000 in cash prizes this year.

MADE IN HAWAII Competition Features:

Armed with just his suitcase and a sax, cosmopolitan musician Alex Zhang Hungtai (Dirty Beaches, Last Lizard) returns home to the Big Island having been away for nearly a decade. Amidst possessed sax solos and brooding strolls, Alex stumbles upon a Buddhist bed & breakfast run by a woman named Akiko (Akiko Masuda). Hungtai’s wild sax and Akiko’s Buddhist bells form the base for a rich soundtrack that wraps around the audience like a sonic web surrounding the unexpected new friendship.


Bethany Hamilton is rewriting the rules on being a fearless athlete. This is the untold story of the heart of a champion and her resilience against all odds to become one of the leading professional surfers of our time. Follow her journey as a new mother chasing a toddler to chasing the biggest waves on her quest to be the best, bringing new power to the phrase #SurfsLikeAGirl. When you don't know how to stop you become unstoppable.


In 1976, a voyaging canoe sparked a cultural revival that quickly spread throughout Polynesia, breathing life into ancient myths and legends. More than four decades later, Hōkūleʻa continues to inspire a new generation of navigators and voyagers to gather their courage and sail beyond the horizon of the Pacific. MOANANUIĀKEA: ONE OCEAN. ONE PEOPLE. ONE CANOE. celebrates the historic Worldwide Voyage that connected countless communities from around the globe. A voyage that also represented the fulfillment of the vision of Nainoa Thompson and his contemporaries, the passing of the mantle to the next generation of kānaka maoli who will retain the skills of their ancestors and perpetuate this tradition for generations to come.


When Shane Stant was 22, he made international news when he struck Nancy Kerrigan’s knee the day before the 1994 US National Figure Skating Championships. He’s a different man today, but still has to deal with memories of his mistakes. Told by Stant’s sister Maile, MY HERO’S SHADOW is a compassionate look at trauma, poor choices and the redemptive value of family.

STOKE — Jane is an attorney based in Los Angeles and she’s clinically depressed. While channel flipping, she sees footage of Kilauea in full eruption. She buys a one-way ticket to the Big Island, and along the way, runs into two local guys who sell themselves as tour guides. What transpires is a road movie that captures some of the unique sub-cultures of Hawaii Island from hippie enclaves, and spiritual sanctuaries, to Native Hawaiians trying to make ends meet, and midnight ravers looking for their next hit.


T-Shirt Theatre is a low tech, high zest performing arts company based at Farrington High School. This documentary chronicles the work of the students in the company, as they address bullying, cyberbullying, and teen suicide prevention, all written and performed by the students (aged 13-18). Their 2017-2018 performance of “Kīpuka” – an oasis in a lava field – is reflective of the T-Shirt Theatre mantra that one smile, one word, one friend can make all the difference for someone in turmoil and contemplating tough decisions.

MADE IN HAWAII Competition Shorts:
MAUKA TO MAKAI — MAUKA TO MAKAI offers an unfiltered window in to a day in the lives of two cousins, who, while traveling from Kāneʻohe to Kailua, grapple with their identity, vices, and the familial bonds that make and break them.

HAE HAWAI’I — In 1893, a group of businessmen and sugar planters illegally overthrow the Hawaiian monarchy. The kingdom slowly dissolves as loyalists to the crown try to preserve what is left. A young Hawaiian thief is selected to safeguard the unifying symbol of the kingdom, the Hawaiian flag.

KĀLEWA — In the future, a Hawaiian astronaut makes the next great leap for his planet, his family, and himself. Tonight is his last chance.

KAUMAKAIWA — Kumu Hula Kaumakaiwa Kanaka'ole demonstrates how hula and oli, or chanting, connects her to the land and the spirits therein.

THE MOON AND THE NIGHT — In rural Hawaii, a teenage girl must confront her father after he enters her beloved pet into a dog fight.

SHORELINE — As the backdrop for important community discussions, Native Hawaiian artists and cultural practitioners in collaboration with artists from around the Asia-Pacific region converge in ‘Ae Kai to explore the meeting points of humanity and nature, art and community, history and the future.

SIX HUNDRED LUX — After the death of her twin sister, Ava Mauro moves to an enigmatic neighborhood where the surrounding paradise environment is not as perfect as it seems…

SURFING TO COPE — Professional surfer, Brianna Cope, looks like a girl who has it all...but there is one aspect of her life that she doesn’t share. Brianna was born with a birth defect, a deformed hand that she has kept hidden until now.

THIS AND NOTHING ELSE: REDBULL WA’A — This electrifying short documentary chronicles an outrigger canoe team from Kona, HI and is part of an ongoing series about those who follow their passions… no matter what.

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