November I had the privilege of being a guest at the Hawaii International Film
Festival where a wonderful film business seminar was being held during and at
the Fest in Honolulu, hosted by Katherine J. Winston and Amy Baker, Co-Founders
& Managing Partners WINSTON | BAKER.
In a coming
blog I’ll write abut that important Seminar but here now I want to focus on
this wonderful Film Festival.
ran from November 12-22: the HIFF 35th Annual Fall Festival.
I sat down
during the Fest Executive Director Robert Lambeth and HIFF Director Emeritus
Chuck Boller. We discussed the vision and mission of this interesting event.
they see themselves as an important voice for independent film in their key
position between N America and Asia. They relate to both areas consistently and
well and their activities and programming reflects this.
as Americans facing LA and its huge film biz they want also to be active and
influential in developing and expanding their relationships here, both with
indies, the filmmakers and where and when possible to conduct co activities
they look to Asia, and especially the burgeoning Chinese film business, as
natural partners and participants in joint activities with film and exhibition
activities as well as possible co productions.
To say they
are ambitious (and I mean this ‘in a good way’) doesn’t begin to describe their
Of course I
was impressed and excited to talk with them and to participate in the Winston
Baker seminar and in the Hawaii International Film Festival.
vanguard forum of international cinematic achievement in the Asia-Pacific
region, Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) endeavors to recognize new
and emerging talent, promote career development and original collaborations
through innovative education programs, and facilitate dynamic cultural exchange
through the cinema arts.
HIFF is the
sister festival of Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) & Shanghai
Media and Entertainment Group (SMEG).
started as a project of the East-West Center, an educational and research
institution created by U.S. Congress and located on the University of Hawai`i
Manoa campus in Honolulu. Jeannette Paulson Hereniko was HIFF’s Founding
Director, from 1981 to 1996.
HIFF’s inaugural year, the program consisted of seven films from six countries
which were viewed by an audience of 5,000. Today, HIFF is a premiere cinematic
event in the Pacific and annually attracts more than 70,000 film enthusiasts
from around the state, the nation and throughout the world.
unique in discovering features, documentaries and shorts from Asia made by
Asians, films about the Pacific made by Pacific Islanders, and films made by
Hawai`i filmmakers that present Hawai`i in a culturally accurate way.
in preparation for the event, HIFF programmers view some 1,000 films and choose
an average of 150 features, documentaries and film shorts. Among them are world
premieres, North American premieres, U.S. premieres, experimental films,
animation and digital works representing social and ethnic issues, and first
features by new directors.
conducts seminars, workshops, special award presentation receptions with top
Asian, Pacific and North American filmmakers participating.
inception, more than 950,000 people from throughout the world have shared HIFF
film screenings and insights.
audiences reflect the diverse multi-cultural face of Hawaii. For example,
Chinese Americans see films from Japan; Japanese Americans see films from
Korea. In so doing, HIFF helps to enrich, enlighten and broaden support for
Asian and Pacific films by HIFF members, film festival fans and new audiences