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Screen Time


It's so much fun in the dark-sitting there, munching popcorn, watching as the world comes to you on the silver screen. Of course, we're talking about the Hawai'i International Film Festival, now in its 24th year of bringing films both fun and profound from Asia, the Pacific and North America to the Islands. But HIFF fans, take note-the festival runs Oct. 21 through 31 this year, not in its traditional November slot. Some highlights of the 10-day, statewide festival:
Maggie Cheung stars as warrior—and calligraphy master—Flying Snow in the epic Hero. Stills Courtesy HIFF

International films such as Tae Guk Gi (The Brotherhood of War), a South Korean film about two brothers caught up in the Korean War. Documentaries such as Arakimentari, a portrait of the eccentric Japanese erotica photographer, Nobuyoshi Araki. Even anime is represented with the lush retro-tech look of Steamboy, which turns Japanese sci-fi anime around by setting its tale in Victorian England. This year's HIFF is bringing in 168 films, 100 of them international.

The Hawai'i Panorama will screen 30 different Hawai'i films, arranged in nine programs, at the Honolulu Academy of Arts Doris Duke Theater and at the Signature Dole Cannery 18 Theatres. I had the honor of serving on the jury for last year's local film series (Nathan Kurasawa's The Ride was our pick then), and will do so again this year-and gladly. Your friends and neighbors are making some really cool films, including imaginative shorts and stirring documentaries.

At right, top to bottom: Dear Frankie, Clean, Arakimentari, Double Dare.

The festival this year honors Maggie Cheung, star of Hero, for her acting achievements. Cheung's career, much of it in Hong Kong cinema, embraces almost 80 films and a range of acting styles, from action to drama to comedy.

A surf film retrospective takes us from The Endless Summer to Riding Giants, and includes premieres of two new surf films (Sprout and A Brokedown Melody) produced, in part, by musician-surfer Jack Johnson. Johnson, surf documentarian Bruce Brown and surf cinematographer Don King will be on a panel discussion to talk about where the genre has been and where it's going.

The gala Golden Maile Awards return to the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, Wednesday, Oct. 27, to wrap up the Honolulu portion of the festival in traditional seaside style. In addition to awards for the best international and Hawai'i films, the Golden Mailes will honor cinemato-grapher Allen Daviau, whose nearly 30 film credits includes many of Steven Spielberg's films, such as Empire of the Sun, The Color Purple and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

Can't wait for the good stuff to start? HIFF has started showing independent films every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., at the Signature Dole Cannery 18 Theatres, leading up to the festival. This month's "HIFF Tuesday Screening" selections include Imagining Argentina, and the Canadian film, Seducing Doctor Lewis.

The 24th Annual Louis
Vuitton Hawai‘i International Film Festival

Oct. 21 to 31

Tickets go on sale Tuesday, Oct. 5, available through www.hiff.org, or by calling the festival hotline: 528-4433

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Honolulu Magazine July 2020
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