#HIFFSpring19 Documentary Spotlight: Eight documentaries consist of an Oscar winner and films 'Straight from Sundance'

By HIFF | April 01, 2019

Documentaries shine at this year’s HIFF Spring Showcase presented by Halekulani! 4 out of the 8 documentaries that will be screening are straight from the Sundance Film Festival and one is an Oscar winner for Best Documentary (a free screening of FREE SOLO at Courtyard Cinema). From AMAZING GRACE, a long lost documentary chronicling the seminal recording of Aretha Franklin in her prime, to the little known Japanese residents of the Bonin Islands in Masa Fox’s debut film BETWEEN TIDES, to the world premiere of THE ADVENTURES OF SUPER CW (*CANCER HAPPENS), about one of Honolulu’s most beloved scenesters and her fight against cancer, to the Sundance International Documentary Grand Prize winner SEA OF SHADOWS, the Spring Showcase documentaries represent a broad cross-section of subject matters that continue to highlight that documentaries are truly experiencing a renaissance today.


A beacon of positive energy, Christa Wittmier, aka #SuperCW, was one of the most prominent and photographed nightlife columnists, DJs and personalities in Honolulu for over a decade. She was a champion supporting artists, creatives, entrepreneurs, anyone that imbued the Aloha spirit in her adopted home. Then three and a half years ago, her life changed forever. THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERCW (*CANCER HAPPENS) chronicles a quirky young metastatic breast cancer warrior and her fight to beat cancer, make a impact in her community and live life to its fullest.


In 1971, Aretha Franklin went to The New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles to record an album of gospel music before an enthusiastic live audience. The result, “Amazing Grace”, went on to become the top-selling gospel record of all time, and one of her most beloved works. But even as the album gained fans around the world, few realized that those inspirational sessions had not only been recorded, they had been filmed by a camera crew led by Oscar winning filmmaker Sydney Pollack


The multi-ethnic Bonin Islanders grew up on an island in the Pacific Ocean as Japanese nationals under a U.S. Navy occupation following the Second World War. Having obtained at least a narrow view of American life that was complicated by their own mixed heritage, these islanders faced the painful task of accepting the reversion of the islands to Japan in 1968. The feature documentary BETWEEN TIDES explores the stories of a postwar community torn apart and re-bonded by history.


HIFF Presents a special screening of Oscar-winning documentary FREE SOLO as part of the Festival's monthly Courtyard Cinema series in partnership with Ward Village. This event is FREE but ticketed. Doors open at 6PM, film begins at 7PM. Follow Alex Honnold as he becomes the first person to ever free solo climb Yosemite's 3,000 ft high El Capitan wall. With no ropes or safety gear, he completed arguably the greatest feat in rock climbing history.

MEMORY reveals the chilling, untold origins of Ridley Scott’s masterpiece ALIEN, rooted in Greek and Egyptian mythologies, underground comics, parasitology, H.P. Lovecraft’s weird fiction, the art of Francis Bacon, and the symbiotic genius of Dan O’Bannon (writer), H.R. Giger (designer), and, of course, Ridley Scott. Discover a treasure trove of unreleased materials from the O’Bannon and Giger estates, including original story notes, rejected designs and storyboards, behind-the-scenes photographs and footage, and O’ Bannon’s never-before-seen, original 29-page script from 1971, titled ‘Memory’.


Merata Mita, pioneering Māori filmmaker and champion of women in indigenous film, is celebrated by her youngest son, Heperi Mita. The sudden death of Merata in 2010 led her son on a journey to uncover a story of a mother’s love that changed the landscape of indigenous participation in film forever. Merata worked across the globe. She directed on Hollywood sets, interviewed Robert Mugabe and followed Louis Farakhan, there was nothing she was afraid of especially if it meant a voice for the voiceless.


For over half a century, 60 MINUTES’ fearsome newsman Mike Wallace went head-to-head with the world’s most influential figures. Relying exclusively on archival, never-before-seen footage from the 60 Minutes vault. The film interrogates the interrogator, tracking Wallace’s storied career and troubled personal life while unpacking how broadcast journalism evolved to today’s precarious tipping point.


In Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, a group of brilliant scientists, high-tech activists, investigative journalists and courageous undercover agents attempt to rescue the most endangered and elusive whale on Earth while battling the vicious Mexican drug cartels and Chinese traffickers whose destructive poaching methods are threatening the region’s marine life. A gripping and harrowing tale, SEA OF SHADOWS, tells a story of courage against all odds.

Check out all the documentaries at the HIFF Spring Showcase!

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