EuroCinema Gala draws a crowd
BY ELIZABETH KIESZKOWSKI / firstname.lastname@example.org
Celebrities and local notables walked the red carpet, posed for photos, noshed on small plates under clear skies and watched as filmmakers accepted their accolades at the EuroCinema Hawaii 2012 Awards Gala in Waikiki on Friday, Oct. 19.
The EuroCinema event at the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort was set up like a classic Hollywood, red-carpet event or a red-carpet gala at Cannes. The Moana’s classic high pillars and Victorian interior added glamour. Bright spotlights were trained on the Moana’s Kalakaua Ave. entrance, a DJ played, and a wide carpet lined the way in to the resort.
Onlookers crowded the sidewalk as guests exited their cars in front of the hotel; others watched from the beach as celebrities and jurors presented awards, and guests in gowns and black tie mingled on the Moana’s lawn.
Scenes from the party, awards and EuroCinema films played across a big screen, a second DJ played music, and food and cocktails stations dotted the lawn inside.
In addition to Lifetime Achievement Award winner Richard Chamberlain, celebrities who attended the red carpet-entried, black tie awards gala included Daniel Dae Kim of “Hawaii Five-0” and actor Booboo Stewart, who plays Seth Clearwater, a shapeshifting wolf-pack member in “The Twilight Saga.”
Stewart was accommodating as fan after fan asked him to pose for photos at the Moana. His film, “White Frog,” screened at HIFF this year. “White Frog” director Quentin Lee — whose “People I’ve Slept With” screened at the 2010 Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival — was also in attendance.
“Being a part of the festival was fantastic,” said Stewart, who at 18 has appeared in several independent films and TV episodes, in addition to “Twilight” and “White Frog.” “It’s definitely the coolest festival I’ve ever been to. … because it was in Hawaii.”
Young fans packed the theater for the “White Frog” screening at HIFF, as a photo on the film’s official website documents.
“It sold out,” Stewart said. “Hawaii people have really supported me. When I got to the film premiere, it was nuts. I thought I was just going to watch the film, but it turned into an autograph session.”
Richard Chamberlain, 78, whose television and film career stretches from “Dr. Kildare” to “Brothers and Sisters,” was equally popular at the gala, surrounded by admirers. Chamberlain, who lived in Hawaii for several years, said he spent much of his time during this visit to Honolulu catching up with old friends.
Of his Lifetime Achievement Award, he said, “I’m thrilled. I’m honored.” Of EuroCinema, he said, “It’s wonderful that these films get an audience.”
Film producer Chris Lee, a founder of the University of Hawaii’s Academy of Creative Media, “X-Men” and “Usual Suspects” director Bryan Singer, “Sucker Punch” and “The Hangover 2” actor Jaimie Chung and YouTube superstar Kevin Wu, aka KevJumba, were also on the guest list.
Mayor Peter Carlisle spoke of seeing the EuroCinema film “Diva”: “You don’t usually have the chance to see those kinds of films in theaters,” he said. “EuroCinema is a show within a show — a remarkable mix of culture and entertainment. All of this is good for Hawaii.”
EuroCinema Hawaii was founded in 2009 as an event dedicated to cultural exchange between Europe and Hawaii. Ten films received their Hawaii premieres as part of the EuroCinema program at Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18 Theatres this year, in conjunction with the 32nd Hawaii International Film Festival.
The programming included selections from the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Jurors included Jim Burke, producer of the Academy Award-nominated “The Descendants,” set and filmed on location in Hawaii, and actor Michael Ontkean.
“Our partnership with EuroCinema Hawaii was such a huge success the last two years, and we are are extremely thrilled to highlight it for more years to come,” said HIFF executive director Chuck Boller, in a prepared statement.
Awards were presented in four categories, in addition to a $3,000 cash prize for Best Student Film, sponsored by the Sunny Dupree Family.
The Princess Dialta Alliata di Montereale Award for Best Film was presented to “Caesar Must Die,” a docu-drama filmed inside an Italian prison, from directors Paolo and Vittorio Taviani.
New this year was a “EuroDisco” afterparty with celebrity DJ Manny Patel from London’s Heaven Club and LA’s The Abbey and Soho House.
Elizabeth Kieszkowski is editor of TGIF, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s weekly arts and entertainment section. Reach her via email at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter.