PACIFIC FOCUS includes two new films straight from Sundance

By HIFF | March 11, 2019

PACIFIC FOCUS is a new section of this year’s HIFF Spring Showcase spotlighting the latest in Pacific Islander-driven cinematic works. It is an extension of the “Pacific Showcase” we have annually during the Fall Festival, which is presented by Pacific Islanders in Communications:


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.


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. The film just had its North American premiere at the recently concluded Sundance Film Festival.


Lauren and Ned are engaged. They are in love. And they have just 10 days to find Lauren's mother (who has gone AWOL somewhere in Australia’s remote far north), reunite her parents, and pull off their dream wedding. In this heartfelt romance, director Wayne Blair (THE SAPPHIRES, HIFF 2012) takes viewers on a sweeping journey from the big city to the Top End of Australia, culminating in a beautiful story about returning home. The film just had its world premiere at the recently concluded Sundance Film Festival.

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