HIFF announces 33rd season lineup

Sep. 25, 2013 | 0 Comments

BY STEVEN MARK / smark@staradvertiser.com

Hawaii International Film Festival representatives unveiled its 33rd season on Tuesday, Sept. 24, touting new venues, an expanded program for budding local filmmakers and a diverse program featuring everything from world premieres to classic films designed to appeal to local audiences.

Hawaii International Film Festival executive director Chuck Boller, right, poses for a photo with other invited guests during a press conference to announce the festival's fall lineup at RumFire Waikiki on Tuesday, Sept. 24. (Courtesy HIFF)

Hawaii International Film Festival executive director Chuck Boller, right, poses for a photo with other invited guests at a press conference to announce the festival’s fall lineup at RumFire Waikiki on Tuesday, Sept. 24. (Courtesy HIFF)

“It’s the 100th anniversary of filmmaking in Hawaii, so we’re excited and proud that HIFF has been part of filmmaking in Hawaii for one-third of the entire time” said Chuck Boller, executive director of HIFF, in an interview at RumFire Waikiki where a news conference to announce the new season took place.

The 2013 fall festival runs from Oct. 10 through Oct. 20 in Honolulu and Oct. 24 through Oct. 27 on Hawaii island and Kauai, and will screen 209 films from 42 countries. There will be 16 world premieres, 28 U.S. premieres, and 12 North American premieres.

“We’re not a film market, so for us to have a premiere, it takes a lot of convincing around the world,” said HIFF deputy director Robert Lambeth. “We have the reputation of choosing the best.”

Highlighting the focus on locally made productions is the Oct. 20 closing night film, “The Haumana,” which tells the story of a Waikiki entertainer’s rediscovery of his cultural roots.

“It’s an extraordinary film,” Boller said.

Showcasing its traditional focus on Asian films, the festival opens with “The Wind Rises,” the final film of famed Japanese anime auteur Hayao Miyazaki, and “Final Recipe,” a South-Korean-Thai production set in Shanghai featuring martial arts actress Michelle Yeoh in a family-oriented film.

Another major film getting its Hawaii premiere will be “August: Osage County,” with Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts heading up an all-star cast. It’s the festival’s “centerpiece presentation,” Boller said.

“It screens in December on the mainland, so people in Hawaii get to see it in October,” he said.

Several of the older films target local interests, such as “Blue Hawaii” starring Elvis Presley, and “Hawaii,” the film version of James Michener’s epic novel.

Also coming back to the screen will be the kung-fu classic “The Avenging Eagle,” from the Shaw Brothers, who pioneered kung fu cinema in Hong Kong. That film will get a free screening at The Warehouse in Our Kakaako, a new venue for HIFF this year. HIFF will also screen films at Consolidated Theatres Koko Marina 8 in Hawaii Kai, the Doris Duke Theatre at the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Hawaii Theatre and “Sunset on the Beach” at Waikiki, along with its main base at Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18.

The new venues, plus the expansion to Kauai, mark a partial return to the beginning of the festival, when it showed films on all the major islands at more than 20 venues.

The festival also has beefed up its “Creative Lab” program, a series of seminars and workshops for local filmmakers.

“We’ve added a five-day writer’s accelerated program, a four-day broadband accelerator program, and a three-day new media workshop,” Lambeth said. Several participants in the workshops will be sent to mainland studios to fine-tune their productions.

Among those offering expertise will be Bobby Moresco, writer of “Million Dollar Baby” and “Crash”; Bing Chan, a co-founder of YouTube; and Michael Chow and Nina Yang Bongiovi, producers of “Fruitvale Station.”

“They’ll talk about what it took to get that film produced on a very small budget,” Lambeth said, adding that many of the sessions with filmmakers are free and open to the public.

Boller advised moviegoers to go online at hiff.org for information about the films and events and to get tickets. The festival also offers a smartphone app that allows fans to watch trailers and buy tickets.

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