Honolulu, HI – (March 10, 2017) – The Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) returns with its Annual HIFF Spring Showcase presented by Halekulani, scheduled for March 31 – April 9 at the Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18. 2017 marks the 20th edition of the showcase. Audiences can expect to enjoy must-see narrative and documentary films from Hawaii and around the world.
The Spring Showcase will open with THE PRISON, an action thriller directed by Na Hye-on and starring Han Suk-Kyu (NO. 3; SHIRI) and Kim Rae-Won (series A THOUSAND DAYS PROMISE; DOCTORS). On Closing NIght, the showcase will present the award-winning film CHASING CORAL, directed by Jeff Orlowski (CHASING ICE). The film had its world premiere at Sundance, where it won US Documentary Audience Award.
“HIFF Spring Showcase has always been an opportunity for us to be on the forefront of the hottest film festival films and bring them to Hawaii,” says Anderson Le, co-director of programming. “‘Straight From Sundance’ is a perfect example of getting these hot films right after their world premieres just over 2 months ago in Park City, where Sundance is held. Spring Showcase allows us to be relevant in bringing these films to Hawaii before many other cities around the nation.”
HIFF Spring Showcase wouldn't be “HIFF” if it were not for its strong Asian film focus. For the 2017 edition, major films such as the opening night film THE PRISON from South Korea, as well as BLUEBEARD, are examples of HIFF’s goal to bring the best and most popular titles from Asia to Honolulu.
“Aside from South Korea, East Asia is strongly represented with major films from Japan and China,” says Anna Page, co-director of programming. “We have some major films including the US premiere of RAGE starring Ken Watanabe and DUCKWEED, the time travel drama that was the big Lunar New Year title in China.”
Special to this year's Spring Showcase, is the film program co-presented by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which produced two film productions that perpetuate the challenge, history and future outlook of Native Hawaiians.
The documentary film NA HULU LEHUA, which shares the historic return of Kalaniʻōpuʻu’s treasured ʻahu ʻula, will screen with JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED, directed by Dawn Kaniaupio, a short film that tells of the ongoing struggle to ensure that the State of Hawaiʻi fulfills its commitments to the Native Hawaiian people stemming from the loss of their ancestral lands.
The Spring Showcase is also bringing back a classic film, TAMPOPO, in a newly remastered version. The classic “ramen western” from the great director Juzo Itami, is considered one of the greatest Japanese films of all time.
Below is the full 2017 HIFF Spring Showcase lineup:
Opening Night Film
SOUTH KOREA 2017 | KOREAN W/ENGLISH SUBTITLES | 125M
DIRECTOR: NA HYEON
In a maximum security prison, an underground network has been set up where inmates are hired to sneak out at night to commit perfect crimes. Ik-Ho is a prisoner and also the head gang leader there. Yoo-Gun is a new inmate and former detective who was framed for crimes he didn’t commit. Ik-Ho pays attention to the hot tempered Yoo-Gun, and sees a future for him in this conspiracy where crime and corruption go hand-in-hand for political and financial gain.
31-MAR 8:00 PM
Closing Night Film
UNITED STATES 2017 | ENGLISH | 93M
DIRECTOR: JEFF ORLOWSKI
Coral reefs are the nursery for all life in the oceans, a remarkable ecosystem that sustains us. Yet with carbon emissions warming the seas, a phenomenon called “coral bleaching”—a sign of mass coral death—has been accelerating around the world, and the public has no idea of the scale or implication of the catastrophe silently raging underwater. CHASING CORAL follows scientists as they invent the first time-lapse camera to record bleaching events as they happen.
9-APR 7:30 PM
ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL
UNITED STATES 2016 | ENGLISH | 88M
DIRECTOR: STEVE JAMES
Steve James (HOOP DREAMS) chronicles the incredible saga of the Chinese immigrant Sung family, owners of Abacus Federal Savings of Chinatown, New York. Accused of mortgage fraud by the Manhattan District Attorney, Abacus becomes the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The trial forces the Sung family to defend themselves – and their bank’s Chinatown legacy – over the course of a five-year legal battle.
2-APR 7:45 PM
6-APR 6:00 PM
VIETNAM 2016 | VIETNAMESE W/ENGLISH SUBTITLES | 113M
DIRECTOR: HAM TRAN
In the age of information technology, computers and smartphones aren’t the only things advancing in complexity and mobility. BITCOIN HEIST is a riveting action-adventure that showcases how speed, data, and collaboration can lead to the dazzling expansion of crime… and crime-stopping. When a cop vows to capture a person stealing billions of dollars in bitcoins, she entrusts several criminals to find the “Ghost” and bring them to justice.
7-APR 6:15 PM
9-APR 7:15 PM
NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
SOUTH KOREA 2017 | KOREAN W/ENGLISH SUBTITLES | 118M
DIRECTOR: LEE SOO-YOUN
Seung-hoon (Cho Jin-woong) is a doctor who has seen better days. Relegated to performing colonoscopy procedures at a neighborhood clinic, he spends his nights in a tiny apartment, and struggles to reconnect with his estranged wife. But one day while operating on a patient (who happens to be his landlord), the man reveals details of a gruesome murder. Before he knows it Seung-woon is drawn into a mystery that has him questioning his own sense of reality.
7-APR 8:30 PM
8-APR 5:15 PM
CANADA, SPAIN 2016 | ENGLISH | 110M
DIRECTOR: NACHO VIGALONDO
Gloria (Anne Hathaway) drinks too hard and parties too much. Her boyfriend has enough of it and throws her out. Gloria returns to her hometown, dreaming of making a new start, but instead revives her childhood friendship with Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), who runs a bar. After drinking a night away with Oscar and his friends, she wakes up to discover a gigantic monster rampaging through Seoul and realizes that somehow the monster is connected to her.
1-APR 7:45 PM
SOUTH KOREA 2017 | KOREAN W/ENGLISH SUBTITLES | 125M
DIRECTOR: KIM SUNG-HOON
A North Korean detective (Hyun Bin) is on the hunt for a fugitive who has escaped to South Korea, and is integral to a counterfeit money operation. He reluctantly works with his South Korean counterpart (Yoo Hae-jin) forging a temporary alliance between the two nations to take down a crime boss (Kim Joo-hyuk), who is housing the fugitive.
1-APR 8:15 PM
3-APR 5:45 PM
COOK UP A STORM
HONG KONG SAR CHINA, CHINA 2017 | MANDARIN, CANTONESE W/ENGLISH SUBTITLES | 97M
DIRECTOR: YIP WAI MAN
A culinary competition becomes a battleground as a famous Cantonese street-food chef goes up against his Michelin-starred, classically trained rival. But their rivalry takes an unexpected turn when they discover a common foe and must combine their skills in a fusion of East and West. Starring Nicholas Tse and Jung Yong Hwa as the rival chefs, this film will make you truly hungry!
3-APR 8:00 PM
8-APR 6:00 PM
SOUTH KOREA 2016 | KOREAN W/ENGLISH SUBTITLES | 103M
DIRECTOR: CHAE DOO-BYEONG
Three friends from college, now nearing 40, reunite to attend a funeral and revisit their youth — Joog-pil, a business exec biding his time for retirement, Soo-tak, who has been taking the civil service exam for 13 years and Eun-dong, a womanizing news anchor. Together, they embark on a journey that brings up old wounds and, hopefully, closure on issues from their youth.
2-APR 5:00 PM
5-APR 6:00 PM
CHINA 2017 | MANDARIN W/ENGLISH SUBTITLES | 102M
DIRECTOR: HAN HAN
DUCKWEED is both a time traveling crime drama and an emotional story of reconciliation between a father and his son. Ah Lang is a car racer, who through a fateful event, time-travels back to the late ’90s and becomes his estranged father’s partner-in-crime. Through this bizarre event, will son and father reconcile? DUCKWEED is the latest film from Han Han, China’s most popular blogger and a voice of his generation.
5-APR 5:45 PM
9-APR 5:15 PM
GARY OF THE PACIFIC
UNITED STATES PREMIERE
NEW ZEALAND 2017 | ENGLISH | 87M
DIRECTORS: JARROD HOLT, RYAN HUTCHINGS, NIGEL MCCULLOCH
When struggling real-estate agent Gary Vasisi is called back to his homeland in the pacific he's handed a great opportunity - the chance to take his dying father's crown and become Chief of an island that is rapidly sinking into the ocean. With a treasury and tropical paradise to his name, Gary hopes to give his girlfriend Chloe the wedding she wants, and finally attain success; even if it is at the expense of his people.
4-APR 6:00 PM
7-APR 6:30 PM
USA 2017 | 94M
DIRECTOR: JUSTIN CHON
Eli and Daniel are Korean American brothers who own a struggling shoe store and have an unlikely friendship with Kamilla, a street wise 11-year-old African American girl. It's just another typical day at the store until the Rodney King verdict is read and riots break. With the chaos moving towards them, the trio is forced to defend the store while contemplating the future of their own personal dreams and the true meaning of family.
2-APR 5:45 PM
8-APR 5:00 PM
HAMON: YAKUZA BOOGIE
JAPAN 2017 | JAPANESE W/ENGLISH SUBTITLES | 120M
DIRECTOR: SHOTARO KOBAYASHI
Keisuke is a middle-man, a go-between for gangsters in their construction dealings. His primary yakuza contact is the unscrupulous Kuwabara-san. One day the two meet a slightly shady movie producer and their yakuza boss is quick to invest in his film. But when the producer runs off with the money, Keisuke and Kuwabara suddenly find themselves in the midst of a yakuza conflict with their necks on the line. They must find that missing producer or else!
1-APR 5:30 PM
9-APR 4:45 PM
HER LOVE BOILS BATHWATER
JAPAN 2016 | JAPANESE W/ENGLISH SUBTITLES | 125M
DIRECTOR: RYOTA NAKANO
Futaba (Rie Miyazawa) has a tender and tough side, and a daughter Azumi (Hana Sugisaki). One day, she learns that she doesn't have much time left to live. Futaba decides she has 4 things to do before she dies: 1.) find her missing husband and get him to resume the family bathhouse business 2.) get her daughter to stand on her own 3.) find the right man for Azumi and 4.) related to her long kept secret.
2-APR 7:30 PM
9-APR 2:00 PM
UNITED STATES 2017 | ENGLISH | 93M
DIRECTOR: BRETT HALEY
Straight from its world premiere at Sundance, ubiquitous character actor Sam Elliott turns in a career-defining performance as Lee Hayden, a former Western film icon, who is living a comfortable existence lending his golden voice to advertisements and smoking weed. After receiving a lifetime achievement award and unexpected news, Lee reexamines his past, while a chance meeting with a sardonic comic has him looking to the future.
2-APR 8:00 PM
6-APR 8:00 PM
LAST MEN IN ALEPPO
DENMARK, SYRIA 2017 | ARABIC W/ENGLISH SUBTITLES | 110M
DIRECTOR: STEEN JOHANNESSEN, FIRAS FAYYAD
After five years of war in Syria, Aleppo's remaining residents prepare themselves for a siege. Khalid, Subhi and Mahmoud, founding members of The White Helmets, have remained in the city to help their fellow citizens - and experience daily life, death, struggle and triumph in a city under fire. Straight from Sundance, LAST MEN IN ALEPPO is a must-see.
1-APR 2:45 PM
4-APR 8:00 PM
THE LOST CITY OF Z
UNITED STATES 2016 | ENGLISH | 141M
DIRECTOR: JAMES GRAY
At the dawn of the 20th century, British explorer Percy Fawcett journeys into the Amazon, where he discovers evidence of a previously unknown, advanced civilization that may have once inhabited the region. Despite being ridiculed by the scientific establishment, which views indigenous populations as savages, the determined Fawcett, supported by his devoted wife, son, and aide-de-camp, returns to his beloved jungle in an attempt to prove his case.
8-APR 7:15 PM
SOUTH KOREA 2016 | KOREAN W/ENGLISH SUBTITLES | 143M
DIRECTOR: CHO UI-SEOK
Korea's biggest network marketing scam reveals a far greater network of corruption and conspiracy lurking underneath. An investigator (Gang Dong-won) pursues the president (Lee Byung-hun) of the company that is the center of this network and what is uncovered is an elaborate conspiracy that reaches to the upper echelons of power.
6-APR 7:00 PM
8-APR 8:15 PM
THE MOHICAN COMES HOME
JAPAN 2016 | JAPANESE W/ENGLISH SUBTITLES | 124M
DIRECTOR: SHUICHI OKITA
Eikichi (Ryuhei Matsuda) left Hiroshima for Tokyo years ago to find success with his rock band, but failed. Several years later, Eikichi returns home to tell his father, Osamu (Akira Emoto), that his girlfriend is pregnant. Osamu is needless to say angry, but also excited to have a grandchild. With off-beat comic timing, the latest family dramedy from Shuichi Okita (THE WOODSMAN AND THE RAIN) showcases that he is one of the best Japanese directors working today.
6-APR 5:45 PM
8-APR 12:15 PM
UNITED STATES PREMIERE
JAPAN 2016 | JAPANESE W/ENGLISH SUBTITLES | 132M
DIRECTOR: KEISHI OHTOMO
Based on the popular horror manga, MUSEUM chronicles a series of grotesque murder cases that exclusively take place on rainy days. Detective Hisashi Sawamura (Shun Oguri) works to catch the murderer like he has done with past cases, but soon realizes the murderer's next target is his family. With macabre murder scenes and a high-octane pulse, MUSEUM is an engaging thriller that bends the serial killer genre. Watch out for the guy in the frog mask!
5-APR 8:00 PM
7-APR 8:45 PM
NĀ HULA LEHUA + JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED
UNITED STATES 2016 | ENGLISH | 26M
DIRECTORS: RYAN "GONZO" GONZALEZ, JAMES HALL
NĀ HULA LEHUA: THE ROYAL CLOAK & HELMET OF KALANIʻŌPUʻU tells the story of the chief’s cloak and helmet gifted to captain James Cook in 1779, and finally returned to Hawai’i in 2016.
PRECEDED BY: JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED | 25M
2-APR 3:00 PM
JAPAN 2017 | JAPANESE W/ENGLISH SUBTITLES | 92M
DIRECTOR: MASATOSHI KURAKATA
Katsu Sakumoto is a best-selling author. His publisher and fans are eagerly awaiting his next book. Unfortunately he has writers block, and decides to retreat to a country village. Alas he still has no inspiration and becomes depressed. One day, a cat walks into his yard, but when Katsu tries to talk to it, it runs away. He decides to leave out food. The next day, the cat returns. Then another cat and another….
3-APR 6:00 PM
8-APR 3:00 PM
AUSTRALIA, CANADA 2016 | ENGLISH | 90M
DIRECTOR: HOLLIE FIFER
Paga Hill, an indigenous community in Papua New Guinea, is forced to fight back before they are cruelly evicted from their land in favor of a five star tourist hotel. THE OPPOSITION asks the important question of how can we ethically build sustainable industry in developing countries? Paga Hill is the site for this unfolding drama; the paradise everyone wants to claim.
1-APR 8:00 PM
5-APR 5:30 PM
OUR MEAL FOR TOMORROW
UNITED STATES PREMIERE
JAPAN 2017 | JAPANESE W/ENGLISH SUBTITLES | 109M
DIRECTOR: MASAHIDE ICHII
They met in high school. Although polar opposites, Ryota and Koharu were destined to fall in love. Once in college, however, Koharu suddenly breaks up with Ryota, driven by a secret she keeps from him. They part ways. Seven years later, Ryota, now a salaryman, is still hung up on her. One day, he learns the truth behind her decision and decides to seek her out for one last chance at love.
2-APR 2:30 PM
4-APR 5:45 PM
CHINA 2016 | MANDARIN W/ENGLISH SUBTITLES | 86M
DIRECTOR: WANG JIULIANG
A 2017 Sundance Award Winner, PLASTIC CHINA plaintively captures the human casualties of unfettered global consumerism. This observant portrait of families toiling at a plastic recycling factory in rural China, essentially mountains of plastic waste from Asia, Europe and the U.S., builds into a damning commentary on a modern China marked by extreme divides in wealth and opportunity.
5-APR 7:30 PM
8-APR 2:45 PM
THAILAND, SINGAPORE 2017 | THAI W/ENGLISH SUBTITLES | 104M
DIRECTOR: KIRSTEN TAN
In a chance encounter, a disenchanted architect bumps into his long-lost elephant on the streets of Bangkok. Excited, he takes his elephant on a journey across Thailand, in search of the farm where they grew up together. A sort-of Southeast Asian version of THE STRAIGHT STORY, Kirsten Tan’s debut film won the Best Screenplay Award at Sundance.
1-APR 5:15 PM
3-APR 8:15 PM
A QUIET PASSION
UNITED KINGDOM, BELGIUM 2016 | ENGLISH | 125M
DIRECTOR: TERENCE DAVIES
Cynthia Nixon delivers a triumphant performance as Emily Dickinson as she personifies the wit, intellectual independence and pathos of the poet whose genius only came to be recognized after her death. Acclaimed British director Terence Davies (HOUSE OF MIRTH) exquisitely evokes Dickinson’s deep attachment to her close knit family along with the manners, mores and spiritual convictions of her time that she struggled with and transcended in her poetry.
1-APR 5:00 PM
8-APR 3:15 PM
JAPAN 2016 | JAPANESE W/ENGLISH SUBTITLES | 142M
DIRECTOR: LEE SANG-IL
An unsolved double murder in Tokyo brings out the worst instincts in three sets of people (a star studded cast led by Ken Watanabe) in RAGE, a pot-boiler based on the famous mystery novel of the same name. The film weaves together three unrelated stories – set a year after the homicide case, in three different cities across Japan and Okinawa – which respectively involve the arrival of a mysterious drifter with an unspeakable past.
6-APR 8:15 PM
8-APR 7:45 PM
JAPAN 1985 | JAPANESE W/ENGLISH SUBTITLES | 114M
DIRECTOR: JUZO ITAMI
HIFF is thrilled to present a special return engagement of newly restored Juzo Itami classic TAMPOPO. A HIFF festival favorite and all around foodie film extraordinaire, Japanese noodle western TAMPOPO is a must-see on the big screen! When two truck drivers (Tsutomu Yamazaki, Ken Watanabe) come upon struggling restaurant owner (Nobuko Miyamoto), they teach her how to cook the greatest of noodles.
1-APR 3:00 PM
THIS BEAUTIFUL FANTASTIC
UNITED KINGDOM 2016 | ENGLISH | 100M
DIRECTOR: SIMON ABOUD
A contemporary fairy tale revolving around the unlikely friendship between a shy children's book author and a wild inventor, THIS BEAUTIFUL FANTASTIC is set against the backdrop of a stunning English garden in the heart of London. DOWNTON ABBEY’s Jessica Brown Findlay plays the reclusive young woman who dreams of becoming a children's author, who finds an unlikely mentor in the rich curmudgeon who lives next door, played by Oscar nominee Tom Wilkinson.
2-APR 5:30 PM
5-APR 8:15 PM
CANADA, UNITED KINGDOM, JAPAN 2017 | JAPANESE W/ENGLISH SUBTITLES | 90M
DIRECTOR: KYOKO MIYAKE
Girl bands and pop music permeate Japanese life. Meet Ri Ri: a bona fide ‘Tokyo Idol’ who takes us on her journey toward fame. Now meet her “brothers”: a group of adult male superfans who devote their lives to following her—in the virtual world and in real life. Once considered to be on the fringes of society, the brothers have since become mainstream via the internet, illuminating the growing disconnect between men and women in hypermodern societies.
7-APR 8:15 PM
9-APR 2:15 PM
THE WASTED TIMES
CHINA 2016 | JAPANESE, MANDARIN, SHANGHAINESE W/ENGLISH SUBTITLES | 125M
DIRECTOR: CHENG ER
An artful epic from Chinese director Cheng Er, set against a chaotic, war torn Shanghai, THE WASTED TIMES follows a local crime boss at the receiving end of the Japanese army's attempt to forge a dubious alliance. Spanning three separate times during the period, and starring superstars Zhang Ziyi and Tadanobu Asano, the story details mindsets from different perspectives, all culminating in a suspenseful and tense finale.
7-APR 6:00 PM
Tickets on sale now for HIFF Ohana and general public at www.hiff.org or at the HIFF Box Office.
HIFF Box Office: (March 17th - March 30th)
2:00 PM – 6:00 PM
The HIFF Box Office is closed on Sundays during this period.
680 Iwilei Road, Suite 100
Honolulu, HI 96817
HIFF Box Office: March 31 - April 9
60 minutes before the first screening until 15 minutes after the last screening begins.
Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18 & IMAX Foyer
735 Iwilei Road
Honolulu, HI 96817
What: 20th HIFF Spring Showcase, presented by Halekulani
When: March 31 - April 9, 2017
Where: Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18 Theatres & IMAX, 735B Iwilei Road, Honolulu, HI 96817
Ticket Prices: $14 general public, $12 seniors, military, students, children, $10 HIFF Ohana members (HIFF’s film membership body)
Ticket Purchases: Online at hiff..org, in person – HIFF box office, phone: (808) 447-0577
About Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF):
Established in 1981, the Hawaii International Film Festival is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of cultural exchange and media awareness in the Pacific Rim. HIFF is a premier international film event that has won the praise of governments, filmmakers, scholars, educators, programmers and film industry leaders across the globe. HIFF’s programming has two particular mandates: to be a festival of record for emerging films from Asia, the Pacific, and North America and to present the top festival films from around the world, annually screening films from over 45 countries. HIFF also presents educational content and panels in the fields of film and music, and mobile entertainment and gaming. These transmedia programs reflect HIFF’s commitment to exhibiting innovative creative content coming from the Asia Pacific Rim. Visit hiff.org.
HIFF’s key presenting sponsor is Halekulani Corporation and major sponsors are: Hawaii Tourism Authority, Middle Management, Regal Entertainment Group, and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Hawaii.
2017 HIFF SPRING SHOWCASE PRESS MATERIALS:
Link to film stills: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/44qk1dkdks6y2l7/AAAAhb20LJEsa8NC1c_2HEvja?dl=0
Link to press kits;
PRESS CONTACT: After Bruce PR