The Hawai’i International Film Festival (HIFF) has set their lineup for their 42nd edition which will take place November 3-13 on Oahu and then expand to the neighboring islands November 17-20. For those who aren’t able to attend in person, HIFF will also have virtual programs starting November 3 and continuing through November 20.
The program includes 102 features, 124 shorts, and seven nominated film programs. Among the lineup are 111 Hawai‘i premieres, 69 world premieres, 14 U.S. premieres, 10 North American premieres and 7 international premieres from 37 countries. Featuring in-person screenings alongside digital screenings, HIFF42 will be accessible to audiences across the state of Hawai‘i with select availability across the United States.
“HIFF is back in a big way!” says HIFF executive director Beckie Stocchetti. “We are incredibly excited to welcome our guests and audiences back to theaters across O‘ahu and the state, with screenings at Consolidated Kahala, Ward, and Kapolei, and additional screenings at HoMa’s Doris Duke Theater, in theaters on Kaua‘i, Maui, and Hawai‘i Island, and outdoors on the gorgeous Great Lawn at the Bishop Museum. HIFF42 continues to bring the absolute best films from Festivals such as Cannes and Toronto, with a Panorama section full of awards-vying studio films and critical darlings from major festivals, and audience favorites such as Surf Cinema, Eat.Drink.Film, Green Screen, and Indigenous Lens. We have the most anticipated films from Japan, South Korea and the Asia-Pacific region, a spotlight on Hong Kong Cinema called Making Waves, and exciting new sections including an “enter at your own risk” HIFF Extreme showcase and a Next Wave Asia showcase. There is truly something for everyone at HIFF42.”
HIFF42 will not have one, but TWO opening night films. Both represent Hawaiian history and Japanese cinema, respectively–themes that appeal the most to local audiences.
The first is The Wind And The Reckoning, directed by Big Island-based director and HIFF alumnus David L. Cunningham (Beyond Paradise, To End All Wars), chronicles the real life story of Hawaiian cowboy Ko’olau portrayed by Jason Scott Lee (Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story). This film is the first major feature film that is predominately in ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i (the Hawaiian language). The film’s cast includes Henry Ian Cusick (Lost), Maui-born Lindsay Watson (Finding Ohana) and Ron Yuan (Mulan).
The second opening night film will be the world premiere of Yudo: The Way Of The Bath from the team behind Oscar winner and HIFF 2008 Audience Award winner Departures. The story is set in a small-town bathhouse called ‘Marukin’, inherited by two estranged brothers. While the townsfolk see their local bath as a balm for life’s woes, the brothers discover it as a cure for theirs.
This year, HIFF is partnering with Bishop Museum to present two “Made in Hawai‘i” feature films as outdoor screening celebrations at the historic museum’s signature event venue, the Great Lawn. The Wind And The Reckoning will screen November 3 and on November 4, the fest will screen The Story of Everything. Both screenings will feature pre-show Hawaiian music and entertainment from major acts like Makana and poet laureate Kealoha. Also, there will be food trucks! So bring your own lawn chairs and blankets o enjoy these films under the stars!
Closing the fest is Broker from Oscar-nominated filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda (Shoplifters) Starring Song Kang Ho (Parasite), the film follows two brokers who sell orphaned infants, circumventing the bureaucracy of legal adoption, to affluent couples who can’t have children of their own. Famed director Kore-eda will also be in attendance and receive the HIFF42 Vision In Film Award.
This year’s centerpiece films include Korean superstar and Emmy winner Lee Jung-jae (Squid Game) who makes his feature directorial debut with Hunt, a 1980s-set thriller which world premiered at Cannes. Lee also stars with fellow Korean superstar Jung Woo-sung as a fellow agent also trying to smoke out a mole.
In addition, A24 serves us Elegance Bratton‘s The Inspection as a centerpiece film. Inspired by Bratton’s own story, The Inspection follows a young, gay Black man, rejected by his mother. With few options for his future, he decides to join the Marines, doing whatever it takes to succeed in a system that would cast him aside. Fun fact: during active duty, Bratton was stationed at Oahu’s Camp Smith.
In addition to Kore-eda, HIFF42’s final roster of honorees, who will be in attendance and feted at the HIFF Awards Gala at Halekulani will be announced in late October. The Awards Gala brings together 300 guests including filmmakers and creatives, distinguished community members, and international talent to celebrate the HIFF, while also recognizing esteemed industry honorees and HIFF award-winning filmmakers.
This year’s shorts programs are presented in alignment with the HIFF42 focus on environmental issues and indigenous voices, as well as Asian American cinema, diversity and inclusion, and global documentary, animated, and narrative films. Short films in competition are eligible to receive a HIFF Grand Jury Award for Best Short Film. For the first time in 2022, the jury-selected HIFF Best Short Film Award presented by Hawaiian Airlines and Best Made in Hawai‘i Short Films Award presented by the Hawai‘i Film Office will both be eligible to qualify for the Academy Awards.
HIFF also has a new Deep Blue Environmental Short award, presented by the US Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office. A $5,000 cash prize will be awarded to the best environmental short film, with a focus on sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ecosystems. “This engaging and diverse program brings both a clear voice to some of the most pressing environmental issues of our time, while showcasing the resilience of our young generations and indigenous peoples. The films offer hope for the future, and inspire viewers to act to preserve our ocean and planet,” says Stocchetti.
A centerpiece of HIFF’s annual programming is the Made In Hawai‘i competition lineup, spotlighting the storytelling of local artists, centering Hawai‘i-grown talent and film productions with a special emphasis on Kānaka maoli filmmaking. The program celebrates Hawai‘i’s dynamic and emerging independent film scene by sharing these talents with global audiences. Fiction, non-fiction and short films that are made by locally-based filmmakers or involve locally-based stories are eligible for one of two Best Made in Hawai‘i film awards with cash prizes totalling $10,000. Additionally, for the first time in 2022, the jury-selected Best Made in Hawai‘i Short film will be eligible to qualify for the Academy Awards
Made in Hawai’i Features Highlights:
Featuring and based on the work of Hawai‘i Poet Laureate Kealoha, The Story Of Everything incorporates poetry, dance, music, art and special effects to condense 13.7 billion years into a unique and awe-inspiring cinematic experience. “Where do we come from?” And more importantly: “Where can we go next?”; Ka Pō is a surrealist tale of a young Polynesian woman trapped in the throes of an abusive relationship who gets revenge by burning down her boyfriend’s home. Fearing retaliation, she flees into the mountains of Kaua‘i, where she discovers a mythical creature that guides her back to her ancestral roots; Through The Doggy Door is a new documentary on Sheldon Paishon, a talented surfer born and raised on O‘ahu’s west side, who has battled through houselessness and petty crime, until he is taken under the wing of pro surfer Mason Ho, who sees immense talent within him.
Made in Hawai’i Shorts Highlights:
Erin Lau’s Inheritance (produced as part of the Netflix/Tribeca Studios/Gold House Future Gold Film Fellowship) is about a struggling nature photographer on Hawai’i Island who is forced to confront the pain his family has carried for generations; E Mālama Pono, Willy Boy, from Scott Kekama Amona, follows a Native Hawaiian Police Officer, who is called in to evict the protesting Native Hawaiian residents of a homeless settlement deemed “illegal” by the State of Hawai‘i; Seen through the eyes of a tiger shark in Hawaiian waters over hundreds of millions of years, Manō (from animator Brittany Biggs), illustrates the human impact on sharks and coral reefs; Tiare Ribeaux’s Pōʻele Wai follows a female weaver, who while navigating between survival and her connection to the ‘āina (land), experiences a transformation when she finds out her drinking water has been poisoned by petroleum leaking into O’ahu’s watersheds at Kapūkakī; In Ara Laylo’s speculative fiction short Kronos, a young man wakes up in an empty smart house and welcomed by a mysterious female voice that soon pulls him into a multidimensional journey fueled by past trauma.
“HIFF is proud and excited to present this year’s Made in Hawai‘i program, which will showcase four features and 21 shorts. We are fully committed to expanding opportunities for our local industry and cultivating networks and economic opportunities for creatives living and working in Hawai‘i. HIFF has awarded over $60,000 in cash to Made in Hawai‘i filmmakers, and we are continually moved by the stories in this spotlight section,” said Stocchetti.
Made In Hawai‘i competition films are eligible to compete for grand jury awards for Best Hawai’i Feature Film and Best Hawai’i Short Film. These two prestigious awards will be adjudicated by a grand jury made up of local and visiting film industry professionals. The purpose of this award is to reignite the growing excellence in local cinema production, to showcase authentic and entertaining stories from emerging and established media makers from Hawai‘i, producing films about and set in this unique, vibrant and precious culture and state. The Made in Hawai‘i program is presented by the Hawai‘i Film Office and the cash award is made possible by the Nichols Family Film Fund.
Industry Hub & 808 Indie Filmmaking Talk Story:
HIFF42 will make it easier for locally-based industry professionals to access the Festival with the HIFF42 Industry Pass, available for purchase at HIFF.org and via the Industry Directory, a constantly updated hub of information on partner groups, film festivals across the State and other film industry opportunities. In addition, HIFF42 will present a “talk story/pau hana” at mid-festival called Hometown Heroes: The State of 808 Indie Filmmaking, to discuss ever-changing topics and trends affecting Hawai‘i content creators, especially in producing authentic stories relevant to our distinct cultures and similarities that make us unique to the rest of the world.
HIFF42’s program will highlight the best feature length titles, numbering 102 features from 37 countries. In addition, the Festival will be featuring several international films that are official entries for the Academy Awards® Best International Film category including Lukas Dhont’s Cannes Grand Prize winner Close (Belgium), Last Film Show from India, Morocco’s The Blue Caftan, Japan’s Plan 75, Ali Abassi’s Holy Spider from Denmark, Eo from Poland and Goddamned Asura from Taiwan ROC and several more.
Directed by two-time Oscar nominee Stephen Frears, The Lost King is the inspiring true story of a woman who refused to be ignored and took on Britain’s most eminent historians in the archaeological find of a century, the remains of King Richard III; Sundance horror hit Nanny (dir: Nikyatu Jusu) follows a Senegalese immigrant nanny working for a privileged couple in NYC. As she prepares for the arrival of the son she left behind in West Africa, a violent presence invades her reality; She Said (dir: Maria Schrader) is a testament to the power of investigative journalism and the expert reporting that took down a powerful Hollywood czar and the catalyst for the #MeToo movement; Melissa Lesh and Trevor Beck Frost‘s Wildcat follows a young British soldier struggling with depression, who finds a second chance in the Amazon rainforest when he meets an American scientist, as they foster an orphaned baby ocelot. And Oscar-nominated writer-director Sarah Polley’s Women Talking is a taut chamber-piece about a cloistered religious colony in which women struggle to recover from an epidemic of abuse. Featuring riveting emotionally complex performances from Rooney Mara, Jessie Buckley and Oscar winner Frances McDormand.
The Vilcek Foundation once again partners with HIFF to present the New American Perspectives. This program shines a spotlight on foreign-born filmmakers, celebrating the extraordinary contributions of immigrant artists to contemporary cinema and media in the United States. The program centers the voices of immigrant artists through film screenings, filmmaker Q&As, a filmmaker master class, and a panel discussion featuring all five 2022 New American Perspectives filmmakers. This program includes four new feature films and a Master Class with director Deborah Chow (b. Australia), known for her work helming “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” as well as episodes of “The Mandalorian,” “Better Call Saul,” “Mr. Robot,” and “American Gods.” The other artists that will be recognized and in attendance to present their official HIFF film selection are: Rena Owen, lead actress, Whina (b. New Zealand); Nardeep Khurmi, director, writer, and actor; Land Of Gold, (b. India); Ellie Foumbi, director, Our Father, The Devil (b. Cameroon); Laurent Barthelemy, director, Finding Satoshi, (b. France).
“We are honored to once again partner with the Vilcek Foundation in highlighting the contributions of American immigrants to the cultural economy, especially in such a divisive time as we celebrate the very foundation of America as a nation founded and composed of immigrants,” said Stochetti.
For a complete lineup of films, please visit www.HIFF.org