The 35th edition of Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) recently announced their Audience Award winners. Throughout the festival, ballots were distributed for the screenings of every eligible film. Audiences voted on their
favorite narrative feature, documentary feature and short film.
The audience award for Best Narrative Feature went to “Kitarajanipon,” a feature comprised of four short films
directed by four leading Thai directors. Each film was inspired by the songs from His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej’s (also known as King Rama IX) royal
songbook, which threads each film together into one feature presentation. “The Singers” directed by Nonzee Nimibutr, “Smiles” by Wallop Prasopphol,
“Falling Rain” by Parkpoom Wongpoom, and “Star” by Yongyoot Thongkongtoon artfully reinterpret the profound meaning and philosophy behind the monarch’s
The audience award for Best Documentary Feature went to”Tyrus,”
directed by Pamela Tom. The film tells the unlikely story of the 104-year old artist Tyrus Wong, reveals the significant impact Wong has made in the world
of art and animation while telling the dramatic and little known story of Chinese Americans in the 20th century.
The audience award for Best Short Film went to
“The Roots of ‘Ulu,” directed by John Antonelli. The transports the viewer from the mythological origins of ‘ulu, to the Polynesian voyaging canoes that brought ‘ulu, or
breadfruit, from Tahiti to Hawaii, illuminating its important role in cultural preservation and food sustainability for Hawaii’s future.
HIFF Executive Director Robert Lambeth highlights, “The diversity of the HIFF35 Audience Award winners presented by Hawaii News Now show that our audiences
truly have international tastes and that the power of cinema is universal.”
Earlier in the festival, during the Awards Gala, HIFF honored actress Ryoko Hirosue with the Career Achievement Award. She is best known for her role in
the Luc Besson produced “Wasabi” co-starring Jean Reno and “Departures,” the winner of an Oscar® for Best Foreign Language Film. HIFF premiered her latest film,
“Hana’s Miso Soup.” Actor Tadanobu Asano was honored with the Maverick Award for his bold performances in seminal films and cult classics, such as “Ichi the
Killer,” “Bright Future,” “Last Life in the Universe” and more recently “Journey to the Shore,” working with the top directors around the world for over twenty years. Actor Ha
Jung Woo, from South Korea, was honored with the Renaissance Award for his profound career as an actor (“The Chaser,” “Assassination”), also as a director
(“Fasten Your Seatbelt”) and as a painter. Known to attract both critical acclaim and commercial success, Ha quickly became the most in-demand leading actor
of his generation in Korean cinema.
Also presented during the Gala were the Halekulani Golden Orchid awards for Best Narrative Feature to director Shin Su-won (South Korea) for the film,
“Madonna;” Best Documentary Feature Award to “Crocodile Gennadiy,” directed by Steve Hoover; and Best Short Film Award to “Ahi Ka,” directed by Richard Curtis
(New Zealand). “The Kids” (Taiwan 2015), by Sunny Yu was presented with the NETPAC award for Best Asian Film from an Emerging Filmmaker this past weekend.