The Hawaii International Film Festival Presented by Halekulani Celebrates its 34th Edition

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World And U.S. Premieres From 45 Countries Festival Returns To Early November

Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) presented by Halekulani will return for its 34th edition from Oct. 30 through Nov. 9 featuring films from 45 countries spanning diverse genres. Festivalgoers will be encouraged to embrace this year’s theme of #MyHIFFMoment by sharing their unique experiences, emotions and interpretations from experiencing HIFF films.

HIFF 2014 will open with the U.S. premiere of THE VANCOUVER ASAHI on Oct. 30 an inspirational and dramatic true story of the “Vancouver no Asahi” baseball team who played in Canada prior to World War II. The film stars Tsumabuki Satoshi who plays a second-generation Japanese immigrant named Reggie Kasahara, the shortstop for the team. The team was the focal point of the Japanese Canadian community in British Columbia until the fateful day of December 7, 1941 when the Empire of Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

Anderson Le, Director of Programming, said “HIFF is honored to open our 34th festival with an advance screening of THE VANCOUVER ASAHI, which is slated as the big Christmas release in Japan. It is rare to see the World War II internment camp experience through the lens of Japanese nationals in a major motion picture. With a large ensemble cast consisting of Japan’s biggest stars, we’re honored to premiere this film from award- winning director Yuya Ishii.”

HIFF is proud to present Danish director Morten Tyldum’s biopic THE IMITATION GAME on Nov. 5 as the festival’s Centerpiece Gala (sponsored by festival within a festival EuroCinema Hawaii). Starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, the film chronicles the life of Alan Turing, the genius British mathematician, logician, cryptologist and computer scientist who led the charge to crack the German Enigma Code that helped the allies win World War II. Turing went on to assist with the development of computers at the University of Manchester after the war but was prosecuted by the U.K. government in 1952 for homosexual acts. THE IMITATION GAME recently won the People’s Choice Award at Toronto International Film Festival (typically deemed early indicator for the Best Picture Oscar).

HIFF will conclude with the world premiere of Hawaii-produced VISIONS IN THE DARK: THE LIFE OF PINKY THOMPSON on Nov. 9 directed by Sundance Alumnus Ty Sanga. Pinky Thompson was one of Hawaii’s great identities who fought hard against the stigma of an inferior native Hawaiian. He envisioned an ideal Hawaii that no one else saw and fought for it from the battlefields of Normandy, to the steps of congress, to his humble home in Niu Valley. He championed a health care system, created invaluable educational programs and strengthened the pride of native Hawaiians. Pinky’s legacy lives on through his work as a social worker and community leader, including leadership posts at Kamehameha Schools and the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

Robert Lambeth, HIFF Executive Director said “like THE HAUMANA last year, we were excited to find an amazing and worthy film from Hawaii to close this year’s festival. Ty has directed a compelling, well-researched documentary that celebrates the life of a great cultural icon that helped shape Hawaii in the 20th century. We are honored to host the world premiere at the historic Hawaii Theatre Center and hope to see this film play in schools around the state in the near future.”

HIFF’s GALA PRESENTATIONS present an eclectic mix of not-to-be-missed high profile films including the next big hits to come out of South Korea, Disney’s next animated feature based on a Marvel property, the film from the Hong Kong director that was the closing night film of the Venice Film Festival and the world premiere of a documentary chronicling the historic legacy of Rainbow Wahine volleyball.

BIG HERO 6: United States 2014: Nov.1
From Walt Disney Animation Studios, comes BIG HERO 6 an action-packed comedy-adventure about the special bond between Baymax, an inflatable robot, and prodigy Hiro Hamada. When a devastating event befalls the city of San Fransokyo and catapults Hiro into danger, he turns to Baymax and his close friends’ adrenaline junkie Go Go Tomago, neatnik Wasabi, chemistry whiz Honey Lemon and fanboy Fred. Determined to uncover the mystery, Hiro transforms his friends into a band of high-tech heroes called BIG HERO 6.

CART: South Korea 2014: Nov. 6 & Nov. 9
“Go on strike” Sun-hee (Yum Jung-Ah) and Hye-Mi (Moon Jung-Hee) proclaim as they raise their voices among the large group of middle-aged female workers after a sudden layoff notice. Mother of two, Sun-Hee and single mother Hye-Mi both work as cashiers at a large discount retail store. The unfair lay-off incites the women to stand up against the corporate officials. Reflecting recent social/ labor issues in Korean society, CART delivers a compelling drama of unprivileged individuals fighting for justice.

THE GOLDEN ERA: Hong Kong/China 2014: Nov. 2 & Nov. 4
THE GOLDEN ERA tells the epic tale of Xiao Hong, one of China’s most famous female writers and an iconic historical figure. Hong lived through some of the most turbulent times in Chinese history surviving poverty, the Japanese invasion and the post-war period. Her tale of love, loss and poetry is beautifully brought to life by actress Tan Wei in this lush drama helmed by director Ann Hui. THE GOLDEN ERA closed this year’s Venice Film Festival and has been chosen as Hong Kong’s official foreign language entry to the Academy Awards.
KANO: Taiwan 2014: Nov. 1 & Nov. 9

Set in the early 1930s during the Japanese colonial period (1895-1945) when Taiwanese and aborigines were considered second-class citizens, KANO is based on the true story of the Kagi Agriculture and Forestry Public School’s mixed-race baseball team. The baseball team, the first of its kind in Taiwan, went from being a laughing stock for never winning a game to much-loved heroes competing in “Koshien,” the most prestigious high school baseball tournament in Japan. From the creative team behind hits SEEDIQ BALE and CAPE NO. 7.

MY BRILLIANT LIFE: South Korea 2014: Oct. 30, Nov. 1 & Nov. 8
16-year-old, A-Reum has Progeria Syndrome, a rare genetic defect that makes him look like a withering old man. Young parents, Mira (Song Hye Kyo) and Dae-su (Kang Dong Won) are still in their early 30s and had A-Ruem when both were teens. A-Ruem only has few months to live, but they appear on a fundraising TV show in hopes of raising money for his medical care.

RISE OF THE WAHINE: United States 2014: Nov. 3 & Nov. 9
An amazing story of the fire and perseverance that drove underdogs to birth Title IX and release untold opportunities to an entire generation. Centered around the University of Hawaii’s volleyball team, these women (and men) lit a profound desire for girls to have the same opportunities as men—in education, sports, and careers. Women’s roles were about to change from “housewife” to educated-producer. Title IX was the door to get them there.

Halekulani Corporation, HIFF’s key presenting sponsor, will again present the Festival’s coveted HALEKULANI GOLDEN ORCHID AWARDS for Best Narrative Feature and Best Documentary Feature. This year’s crop of nominated films consist of exciting new perspectives from emerging filmmakers in the Asia Pacific and award-worthy socially conscious documentaries that have premiered at major film festivals including Sundance, Cannes, Venice and Toronto. There are 5 nominees for each category:

NARRATIVE FEATURE NOMINEES:

A HARD DAY (South Korea): Director: Sung-hoon Kim: Nov. 3, Nov. 7 & Nov. 8
Inventive, hilarious cop thriller A HARD DAY is a total blast. Corrupt cop Gun-su accidentally crashes his car into a man while on the phone. Instead of calling the police, he stashes the body in the trunk. Meanwhile, internal affairs have discovered the stash of cash that Gun-su and his corrupt team have amassed. Devising ever more elaborate stratagems to get out of the various pickles he’s in, Gun-su is in for the hardest day of his life.

A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT (USA): Director: Ana Lily Amirpour:
Nov. 1 & Nov. 7
Strange things are afoot in Bad City. The Iranian ghost town, home to prostitutes, junkies, pimps and other sordid souls, is a bastion of depravity where a lonely vampire stalks its most unsavory inhabitants. But when boy meets girl, an unusual love story begins to blossom...blood red. Cinema’s first Iranian vampire western by director Ana Lily Amirpour basks in the sheer pleasure of pulp. This darling of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival is bound to delight.

THE FURTHEST END AWAITS (Japan): Director: Hsiu Chiung Chiang: Nov. 3 & Nov. 8
In the bucolic Note Peninsula, Misaki returns to her missing father’s home, and she refurbishes it into an artisan coffee shop. Despite an awkward beginning with Eriko, a single mother and her two young children who live next door, a cup of coffee ameliorates them to overcome their own difficulties in moving forward in life. They soon bond as Misaki quietly awaits for her father’s return.
HAEMOO (South Korea): Director: Sung-bo Shim: Oct. 31 & Nov. 3

Based on true events, HAEMOO tells a gripping tale of a large 69-ton fishing boat crew’s attempt to smuggle illegal migrants in order to keep their jobs. Their plan goes terribly wrong when they meet a tragic accident while transporting the migrants amid a heavy sea fog. First time Director Shim Sung-Bo masterfully portrays individualistic greed in human nature, marking an impressive feature debut with the support of Bong Joon-Ho (visionary director of MEMORIES OF MURDER, THE HOST and SNOWPIERCER), who produced and co-wrote the film.

PARADISE IN SERVICE (Taiwan): Director: Doze Niu Chen-Zer: Oct. 31 & Nov. 7
1969,Taiwan. Pao is assigned to the Sea Dragon (ARB), an army unit with an intense reputation stationed on the island of Kinmen, geographically close to mainland China. His unique assignment seems more perilous than actually defending Taiwan from the communist, especially for a young man who is still a virgin. This is the latest film from the director of MONGA, which won the NETPAC Award for Best Asian Film at HIFF 2010.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE NOMINEES:

9-MAN (USA): Director: Ursula Liang: Nov. 1 & Nov. 5
Since the 1930s, Chinese men have played the ‘9-man’ streetball game in the alleys and parking lots of Chinatown. At a time when laws like the Chinese Exclusion Act forced them to socialize exclusively among themselves, 9-man offered fraternity for those separated from their families. Pivoting between Chinatown parking lots and jellyfish-filled banquet scenes, the film captures the spirit of 9-man as players both battle for a championship and fight to preserve a sport that holds so much history.

LIMITED PARTNERSHIP (USA): Director: Thomas G. Miller: Nov. 3 & Nov. 8
In 1975, Filipino American Richard Adams and Australian, Tony Sullivan became one of the first same-sex couples in the world to be legally married. After applying for a green card for Tony, the couple received a denial letter stating, ‘You have failed to establish that a bona fide marital relationship can exist between two faggots.’ Outraged, the couple sued the U.S. government, filing the first federal lawsuit seeking equal treatment for a same-sex marriage in U.S. history.

SHUNNED (Philippines): Director: Janice Villarosa: Nov. 2 & Nov. 3
Beneath the pageant smile, sexy outfits and colorful exterior lies the transsexuals’ day-to-day pain of achieving the ultimate goal — to be happy with themselves and be accepted. SHUNNED offers a glimpse into their struggles, battles with society, their love life, and transition to become a woman. A no holds barred look into the lives of different transsexuals (male to female), in the Philippines.

VISIONS IN THE DARK: THE LIFE OF PINKY THOMPSON (USA): Director: Ty Sanga:
Nov. 9
Pinky Thompson thought bigger than himself and further than the single cause at hand. He fought hard against the stigma of an inferior native Hawaiian. He championed a health care system, created invaluable educational programs and strengthened the pride of native Hawaiians. He envisioned an ideal Hawaii that no one else saw and fought for it from the battle fields of Normandy, to the steps of congress, to his humble home in Niu Valley.

WE ARE THE GIANT (USA): Director: Greg Barker: Nov. 2, Nov. 4 & Nov. 8
Since late 2010, more than a dozen nations have experienced popular uprisings that have collectively been called the Arab Spring. Protests, buoyed by predominately young participants and social-media organizing, have exposed repression and led to regime changes. What does it mean to take part in a collective action that has the potential to unseat dictators? Powerful, tragic, yet ultimately inspiring, the stories of three pairs of activists from three nations offer hope against seemingly impossible odds.

Presented by the Vilcek Foundation, the annual NEW AMERICAN FILMMAKERS PROGRAM highlights the contributions of gifted immigrant filmmakers to contemporary American cinema. In 2014, the eighth annual New American Filmmakers program will highlight the work of six talented, cutting-edge foreign-born artists, and will include a master class with one featured filmmaker selected from the group. All six featured filmmakers will be in attendance at the Festival for their film screenings and to participate in post-screening Q&A sessions. Several selected filmmakers from the group will also participate in HIFF’s Guest Filmmaker Program, a special program that brings filmmakers from around the globe into local k-12 classrooms to speak with students about filmmaking.

NEW FRONTIERS PROGRAM is a brand-new section that will spotlight a theme or community that is not well established in Hawaii. For this inaugural year, the theme of “Expanding Boundaries of Art & Media in Islamic Communities” is presented by The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art and Shangri La, a center for Islamic arts and cultures. The 2014 NEW FRONTIERS PROGRAM is multi-platform cultural and education program focused on exploring diverse global Islamic communities through media arts including film screenings, education programs and a media arts exhibit featuring cutting- edge filmmakers and artists from the Islamic world.

Anna Page, HIFF’s associate director of programming, said: “We are honored to have the NEW AMERICAN FILMMAKERS PROGRAM and NEW FRONTIERS PROGRAM as part of the HIFF 2014 program. They provide public forums for voices that are diverse and showcase the very mandate of HIFF in promoting cultural understanding through the medium of film and visual media.”

PACIFIC ISLANDERS IN COMMUNICATIONS (PIC) is continuing its partnership with HIFF in presenting the annual Pacific Showcase, a section containing features, documentaries and short films from Pacific Islander film and media makers from the Pacific Rim. This year there are works from Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia, Samoa and Tonga.

New for 2014, HIFF is partnering with PIC for the first ever HAWAII MEDIAMAKERS CONFERENCE, a one-day symposium on Oct. 29 that will build ideas for the future of media in Hawaii. The conference will feature speakers from diverse fields within the media industry, and an all-Maori panel of media makers who will discuss building a native industry. Discussion topics will include cultural responsibility, digital innovation, fundraising, indigenous storytelling and intellectual property. To register visit http://hmmc2014.eventbrite.com

CREATIVE LAB and Creative Lab at HIFF provide a rich environment for international creative collaboration and building new business relationships through a global lens. HIFF and Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) Creative Industries Division, have developed key relationships with industry partners including the Writers Guild of America-West (WGAW), Producers Guild of America (PGA), Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts (HARA) and Screen Actors Guild/AFTRA (SAG-AFTRA). Creative Lab furthers the professional development of creative entrepreneurs and increases the growth of commercially viable content for acquisition/distribution.

“Our goal with CREATIVE LAB AT HIFF is to spread the wealth year-round. We’re hosting less initiatives during the fall festival with the committed intent to schedule other components in spring 2015 during our Spring Showcase,” says Robert Lambeth, HIFF’s Executive Director. “This way we offer a more holistic ethos of educational and career developing suites that provide greater opportunities for people, especially those based locally, to get involved, learn and collaborate.”

The following programs will be held during HIFF at The Modern Honolulu, the official hotel sponsor of Creative Lab at HIFF:

BROADBAND ACCELERATOR: A CONVERSATION WITH BERNIE SU: Nov. 4
CREATIVE LAB presents a special seminar with award-winning creative content developer Bernie Su. An Emmy and Streamy award winner and creator of the web series THE LIZZIE BENNET DIARIES, EMMA APPROVED, and DR. VICTORIA FRANKENSTEIN, will conduct a masterclass in producing content for the web and utilizing social media to create an interactive storytelling experience.

NEW MEDIA CAMP: NEW MEDIA PANEL & SCREENING: Nov. 9
THE NEW MEDIA CAMP (NMC) is a week-long intensive video workshop (November 1 – 9) where six participants receive hands-on guidance and expertise from professionals in the new media world. Mentors include successful YouTube partners and content producers, working filmmakers in traditional media, social media experts, and Hollywood actors who will provide support by helping participants hone their craft in the production of a short film, utilizing the theme of “mobilizing your world.” This year’s NMC, with the generous support of AT&T, Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC) and interTREND, will utilize the Hawaiian language in the short film’s story in a major way.

WRITERS ACCELERATOR: KEYNOTE PRESENTATION: Nov. 5
A discussion on the state of writing in the entertainment industry with a notable Hollywood screenwriter. This keynote presentation is the culmination of the Writer’s Accelerator program, a four-day, immersive program for writers in motion pictures, television and broadband (web series). Writer’s Accelerator is designed to empower writers to take their stories and craft to the next level via one-on-one and small group coaching.

PRODUCERS ACCELERATOR: Nov. 2
The Producer – The Artist: Ever wonder how a guitar playing unit production manager went from Producers Guild of America (PGA) volunteer to executive producer of the Academy Award winning film THE ARTIST? Award-winning producer, Antoine de Cazotte, will share his unique journey from his home in France to his breaking into the Hollywood elite, sharing his insights into what it takes to be a great producer and why he equates being a producer to being an artist.

ACTORS WORKSHOP: Nov. 1
An annual favorite among HIFF attendees, the CREATIVE LAB AT HIFF 2014 Actors Workshop will feature an immersive program for a select group of student actors and a free public conversation with Academy and Tony Award-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden (MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT, FIFTY SHADES OF GREY).

HIFF 2014 will celebrate the theme of FIND YOUR MOMENT AT HIFF honoring the festival’s reputation as a populist festival, with a varied range of film genres for any kind of film lover. HIFF is encouraging attendees to use social media to share their HIFF moments by using the hashtag #MyHIFFMoment. Is it crying during a weepy Korean melodrama? Is it being exhilarated by an intense samurai action sequence? Or is it meeting your favorite stars? Whatever it is, HIFF wants to know!

Tickets go on sale on Sept. 26 for HIFF Ohana members and on Oct. 2 to the general public.

What: 34th Hawaii International Film Festival presented by Halekulani
When: Oct. 30 – Nov. 9, 2014
Where: Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18 Theatres & IMAX, Consolidated Koko Marina at Koko Marina Shopping Center, Hawaii Theatre Center, Courtyard Cinema at Ward Villages, Consolidated Ward 16
Ticket Prices: $12 general public, $10 seniors, military, students, children, $8 HIFF Ohana members (HIFF's film club)
Ticket Purchases: Online at Hiff.org, in person - HIFF box office, phone: (808) 447-0577

Hawaii International Film Festival

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 major sponsors are: Hotels & Resorts of Halekulani, Hawaii Tourism Authority, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Hawaii, Regal Entertainment Group, Hawaiian Airlines, The Modern Honolulu Hotel, Nella Media Group, and EuroCinema Hawaii.

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