October 06, 2017

(October 6, 2017) Honolulu, HI — The 37th edition of the Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) presented by Halekulani announces their film lineup today. The festival dates takes place from November 2 through November 12 at the Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18.  Audiences can expect to enjoy must-see narrative and documentary films from Hawaii and around the world.

HIFF will open with the enchanting animated film, MARY AND THE WITCH’S FLOWER, directed by Academy Award-nominated director, Hiromasa Yonebayashi (WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE, THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY). MARY AND THE WITCH'S FLOWER is based on Mary Stewart's 1971 children's book THE LITTLE BROOMSTICK; and tells the story of a young girl named Mary, who discovers a flower that grants magical powers, but only for one night.

"Last year, we closed with another anime film, YOUR NAME, which was a smashing success.” said Anderson Le, Co-Director of Programming. “Hawaii loves manga and anime, so we wanted to open the festival with a major Japanese anime film like MARY AND THE WITCH'S FLOWER, especially since it is family friendly and want to welcome audience members of all ages to experience this fun romp of a film that is reminiscent to Harry Potter. We’re thrilled to present the film and to have Director Yonebashi celebrate our festival opening night with us."

The festival will present 160 films from over 45 countries. Through their programming, HIFF continues to advance understanding and cultural exchange among the peoples of Asia, the Pacific and North America by presenting films from around the world.

“We are proud to be the longstanding film festival of record for the Pacific and we've really taken that to heart this year by mounting our first ever competition section for films made in Hawaii.” said Beckie Stocchetti, HIFF Executive Director. “This year’s fest represents a broad cross section of new films from Asia and the Pacific Rim, festival favorites from Sundance, Cannes, and Toronto, and a strong focus on indigenous Pacific filmmakers. As the trendsetter for content in the Pacific, it is our mission to promote these works from breakthrough emerging talent to established filmmakers such as New Zealand's Taika Waititi (THOR RAGNAROK).”

Audiences can look forward to the Hawaii Premiere of THE UPSIDE, a dramatic buddy comedy about the unlikely friendship between a rich quadriplegic and his working-class caregiver. THE UPSIDE, directed by Neil Burger, will screen as the festival’s Centerpiece Presentation.

"THE INTOUCHABLES, which THE UPSIDE is adapted from, was a huge hit when we showed it at the Festival in 2011. It feels like coming full circle to present this U.S. adaptation, which is very much its own film with stellar performances from Bryan Cranston, Kevin Hart and Nicole Kidman.” said Le. “It's the type of film that the Weinstein Company does so well and we are honored to present this film as our Centerpiece gala."

In addition to the Festival's focus of Asia and the Pacific Rim, HIFF also serves as a "year-end" festival culling together film favorites from Sundance, Berlin, Cannes, SXSW and Toronto, including films that are sure bets for numerous nominations come awards season.

“We are honored to have some major films straight from their world premieres in Toronto and Venice,” says Le. “THE FINAL YEAR from Greg Barker, LADY BIRD directed by Greta Gerwig, DOWNSIZING, the latest from Alexander Payne, and I, TONYA starring Margot Robbie and Allison Janney are just a few films that are included. In addition, we have several Cannes winners including Cannes Critics Prize Winner BPM directed by Robin Campillo, Ruben Östlund's THE SQUARE, which won the Palme d'Or,  and Fatih Akin's IN THE FADE with Cannes Best Actress Diane Kruger and elevate our film festival as an integral part of the fall festival awards season tour.” said Le.

HIFF 2017 will premiere works from across the globe, including the US premiere of DEAR ETRANGER, directed by Yukikio Mishima. This narrative feature from Japan follows 40-something Makoto Tanaka (Tadanobu Asano) and his 3 daughters. One from a previous marriage and two step-daughters that he has raised with his second wife.  It is a touching meditation on love and marriage and what it truly means to be 'family'. Audiences can also look forward to the world premiere of POINT OF NO RETURN, directed by Noel Dockstader, Quinn Kanaly; a suspenseful and pioneering scientific adventure documentary, that follows two pilots in their attempt to circumnavigate the globe in an airplane fueled exclusively by sunlight.

As part of the lineup, HIFF will launch the GREEN SCREEN section to showcase timely films about climate change and the environment. Of note is BLUE from Australia, directed by Karina Holden it is a striking documentary featuring passionate advocates for ocean preservation.

“As climate change becomes the greatest crisis of our time, it is even more important to be informed and to discuss what is happening around the world, including our backyard, and how to act via call-to-action to preserve our beautiful communities for future generations,” said Le.

This year the festival’s culinary film section,  EAT.DRINK.FILM, will be fronted by the world premiere of JIMAMI TOFU, directed by Jason Chan and Christian Lee.

Anna Page, Co-Director of Programming said, “The one thing about Hawaii, we love to eat. It's a big part of our multicultural landscape and with the rise of foodie culture, Hawaii has become a go-to culinary destination. EAT.DRINK.FILM. is our annual culinary cinema sidebar where we feature films from Okinawa to France, and break cinematic bread in consuming wonderful films about food and how it is ingrained in cultures around the world.”  

For their Closing Night, HIFF will present the world premiere of GO FOR BROKE, directed by Alexander Bocchieri at the historic Hawaii Theatre. The narrative feature is a historic dramatization of Japanese Americans living in Hawaii who enlisted into the military and formed the most decorated regime in American history.

Set in the tumultuous year after the attack on Pearl Harbor, GO FOR BROKE is a true story that follows a group of University of Hawaii ROTC students as they fight discrimination by forming the Varsity Victory Volunteers (VVV). The brave actions of these young Japanese Americans, along with the perseverance of the original 100th Infantry Battalion draftees from Hawaii, led to the formation of the all-Japanese fighting unit - the 442nd - the most decorated combat unit in American military history.

Jury awards will be announced during the festival at a formal Awards Gala hosted by Halekulani Corporation, HIFF's presenting sponsor.

Below is the full 2017 HIFF lineup:


  • A BEAUTIFUL STAR (Director: Daihachi Yoshida)
  • A CIAMBRA (Director: Jonas Carpignano)
  • ALASKA IS A DRAG (Director: Shaz Bennett)
  • BAD GENIUS (Director: Nattawut Poonpiriya)
  • BACK TO BURGUNDY (Director: Cédric Klapish)
  • THE BALLAD OF LEFTY BROWN (Director: Jared Moshe) - Gala Presentation
  • BIRDS WITHOUT NAMES (Director: Kazuya Shiraishi)
  • BEFORE WE VANISH (Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
  • BORG/MCENROE (Director: Janus Metz) - Gala Presentation
  • BPM (BEATS PER MINUTE) (Director: Robin Campillo)
  • CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (Director:  Luca Guadagnino )
  • CLOSE-KNIT (Director: Naoko Ogigami)
  • COLUMBUS (Director: Kogonada)
  • CYCLE (Director: Prakash Kunte)
  • DARKEST HOUR (Director: Joe Wright)
  • THE DAY AFTER (Director: Sang-soo Hong)
  • DEALER/HEALER (Director: Lawrence Ah Mon)
  • DEAR ETRANGER (Director: Yukiko Mishima) - United States Premiere
  • DOWNSIZING (Director: Alexander Payne)
  • THE ENDLESS (Directors: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead)
  • THE GANGSTER’S DAUGHTER (Director: Meijuin Chen)
  • GEMINI (Director: Aaron Katz)
  • GO FOR BROKE: AN ORIGIN STORY (Director: Alexander Bocchieri) - World Premiere - Closing Night Film
  • GLASS GARDEN (Director: Shin Su-won) - International Premiere
  • THE GREAT BUDDHA+ (Director: Huang Hsin-Yao)
  • I CAN I WILL I DID (Director: Nadine Truong)
  • I CAN SPEAK (Director: Kim Hyun-Seok)
  • I, TONYA (Director: Craig Gillespie)
  • ICHI THE KILLER (Director: Takashi Miike) - Return Engagement
  • IN THE FADE (Director: Faith Kahn)
  • JIMAMI TOFU (Directors: Jason Chan, Christian Lee) - World Premiere
  • JUNK HEAD (Director: Takahide Hori)
  • KING OF PEKING (Director: Sam Voutas)
  • KULEANA (Director: Brian Kohne) - Advance Screening
  • MADE IN HONG KONG (Director: Fruit Chan) - Special Presentation
  • MAN OF WILL (Director: Less Won-Tae) - International Premiere
  • MARY AND THE WITCH’S FLOWER (Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi) - Opening NIght Film
  • MODERN LIFE IS RUBBISH (Director: Daniel Jerome Gill)
  • MON MON MON MONSTERS (Director: Giddens Ko)
  • MUTAFUKAZ (Director(s): Shoujirou Nishimi, Guillaume Renard)
  • NAPPING PRINCESS (Director: Kenji Kamiyama) - Festival Premiere
  • NEWTON (Director: Ait V Masurkar)
  • NOTEBOOK FROM MY MOTHER (Director: Sung-Ho Kim) - International Premiere
  • OH LUCY! (Director: Atsuko Hirayanagi)
  • ONE THOUSAND ROPES (Director: Tusi Tamasese)
  • ORDINARY PERSON (Director: Bong-han Kim)
  • OUR TIME WILL COME (Director: Ann Hui)
  • PARADOX (Director: Wai Shun Yip)
  • SAMUI SONG (Director: Pen-ek Ratanaruang)
  • SATAN’S SLAVES (Director: Joko Anwar)
  • THE SCYTHIAN LAMB (Director: Daihachi Yoshida) - North American Premiere
  • SEKIGAHARA (Director: Masato Harada) - International Premiere
  • A SPECIAL LADY (Director: An kyu Lee) - North American Premiere
  • THE SHERIFF IN TOWN (Director: Hyung-joo Kim)
  • THE SQUARE (Director: Ruben Östlund)
  • STAND UP MAN (Director: Aram Collier)
  • SURVIVAL FAMILY (Director: Shinobu Yaguchi)
  • TALES OF CHIGASAKI (Director: Izuru Kumasaka) - International Premiere
  • A TAXI DRIVER (Director: Jang Hun) - Special Presentation
  • THOSE LONG HAIRED NIGHTS (Director: Gerardo Calagui) - North American Premiere
  • TOILET - A LOVE STORY (Director: Shree Narayan Singh)
  • GUKOROKU: TRACES OF SIN (Director: Kei Ishikawa)
  • THE UPSIDE (Director: Neil Burger) - Centerpiece Film
  • VICEROY’S HOUSE (Director: Gurinder Chadha)
  • THE VILLAINESS (Director: Jung Byung-Gil)
  • WARU (Directors: Chelsea Cohen, Ainsley Gardiner, Casey Kaa, Renae Maihi, Awanui Simich-Pene, Briar Grace Smith, Paula Whetu Jones, Katie Wolfe) - United States Premiere
  • WHAT A WONDERFUL FAMILY! 2 (Director: Yoji Yamada)
  • WISHED (Director: Dayyan Eng)
  • YOU ARE THE APPLE OF MY EYE (Director: Giddens Ko) - Special Presentation


  • 11/8/16 (Directors: Duane Andersen, Don Argott, Yung Chang, Petra Epperlein, Vikram Gandhi, Alma Har'el, Daniel Junge, Alison Klayman, Ciara Lacy, Martha Shane, Bassam Tariq, Michael Tucker)
  • BECOMING WHO I WAS (Director: Moon Chang-Yong)
  • BLUE (Director: Karina Holden) - United States Premiere
  • CORRIDOR FOUR (Director: Stephen Tringali)
  • DOCUMENTING ACTIVISM: THE EARLY DAYS OF THE NATIVE HAWAIIAN MOVEMENT - World Premiere - Special Panel Event with archival footage
  • THE FINAL YEAR (Director: Greg Barker)
  • I AM EVIDENCE (Director: Trish Adlesic)
  • I CALLED HIM MORGAN (Director: Kasper Collin)
  • ISLAND SOLDIER (Director: Nathan Fitch)
  • KEEP TALKING (Director: Karen Lynn Weinberg) - North American Premiere
  • LADY BIRD (Director: Greta Gerwig)
  • MAINELAND (Director: Miao Wang)
  • MRS. FANG (Director: Wang Bing)
  • OTTOMATICAKE (Director: Gemma Cubero del Barrio) - World Premiere
  • OUT OF STATE (Director: Ciara Lacy)
  • POI E: THE STORY OF OUR SONG (Director: Tearepa Kahi)
  • POINT OF NO RETURN (Directors: Noel Dockstader, Quinn Kanaly) - World Premiere
  • THE TEA EXPLORER (Director: Andrew Gregg)
  • WE DON’T NEED A MAP (Director: Warwick Thornton)
  • ZAN (Director: Rick Grehan) - United States Premiere\

37th Annual Hawaii International Film Festival, Presented by Halekulani

November 2nd-12th, 2017

@ Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18

735 Iwilei Rd, Honolulu, HI 96817


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HawaiiIFF/

Twitter: @HawaiiFF

Instagram: @HIFFHawaii


Filled with insight and discovery, HIFF is dedicated to advancing understanding and cultural exchange among the peoples of Asia, the Pacific and North America by presenting films from around the world. Each year, more than 50,000 attendees throughout Hawaii  experience the sounds and images of filmmaking from approximately 45 countries. This cultural exchange of ideas, presented through the powerful medium of film, raises the awareness of our similarities and differences alike.

● HIFF organization press photos https://www.dropbox.com/sh/bjsqay2zorj47d8/AADEOqvW0ArQD21x7VFp03gsa?dl=0

● Press Accreditation

If you intend to cover the fest, and request to press access to select events, you will need press credentials. To apply for your Festival Press Credential, please fill out this form:


● Press Contact: After Bruce

Eseel Borlasa



Tracy Nguyen-Chung



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