With the event running less than a week and half, it’s really hard to cram as much as you can in those days. But I think I did a great job! So I’d love to recap my experience.
First, let me start by saying that if you have never attended a film festival, you simply must. Every major city should have some sort of cinematic annual gathering, you just need to check into it. And you don’t always need to be a member of their organization. Trying checking things out as a general member. If you like it, then sign up to be a member for the following year’s event (remember, your dues help support these film festivals as well as an array of other scholarships and programs. Members will get privileges like early line-up and advanced ticket sales.) But I cannot explain the energy at a film festival. It’s unique and very different. These are movie enthusiasts and they take these events very seriously. So the rule is, buy early and get there early. Just a little taste of what I went through: I showed up an hour and 15 minutes early with tickets already in hand and ended up in the second row to the screen. Yeah, I don’t know what went wrong but that sucked. So, again I can’t stress. People who attend these screenings LOVE film!
But I digress....
Now to start! The opening night gala was held at the Halekulani Hotel, a beautiful hotel located in Waikiki. The fun thing about these gatherings is that you can make it as formal as you want and if you did go, you were given a ticket to the opening film with a shuttle from the hotel to take you there and back. I choose not to see the opening film but had a great time at the gala.
I seriously ate everything that was offered. I know!! I have no shame! But it was extremely fun and the view from the event was gorgeous. Free drinks and free food. Come on!! How could I not go? Opening Night Gala was by far my favorite of the hosted events.
Next, I attended “An Afternoon with Hawaii Five-O”. This was held on October 16 at the Halekulani as well. Basically it was a panel of the show’s producer, director and stars. We got to ask them questions, hear their thoughts on Season 2 and how they came about the concept of the revised hit show. I could listen to Alex’s Australian accent all day long.
Photo by Rae
There are several things I love about Hawaii Five-O. 1) It’s filmed here in Hawaii and uses local actors as extras. No, I’m not an actor but I was a background extra for one day. Big props to CBS! 2) I was a huge LOST fan, so to see another show with Daniel Dae Kim is just awesome. 3) Alex O’Loughlin. Isn’t he handsome?
HIFF did award the producers of the show the “Mahalo Nui Loa” Award for promoting the film industry in Hawaii.
The films that I were able to screen: Kaasan’s, A Mom’s Life (Japanese film), Red Dog (Australian film), Eye of the Whale and Minds in the Water (Documentaries), and the Descendants (American film).
I will be posting reviews on each of the titles listed above in the weeks to come. They were all great and all worth seeing. But if I had to call a favorite film from this year’s festival it would be Red Dog. But let’s talk about that later because it really needs its own post.
In addition, we also attended the closing night ceremonies and Governor’s reception at Washington Place.
Photo Nonstop Honolulu
The NETPAC Award was given to HANAAN, directed by Ruslan Pak. The NETPAC Award is presented to an Asian director for their first or second feature film.
The Halekulani Golden Orchid for Best Documentary was given to SPLINTERS, directed by Adam Pesce. Finally, the Halekulani Golden Orchid for Best Feature was given to PATANG, directed by Prashant Bhargava.
K. Peacock, J. Anderson and me
To end a rush of festivities and movie screenings, we watched the Hawaii premiere and Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature, The Descendants. In addition, Director Alexander Payne (Sideways, About Schmidt) received the Visionary Award. Filmed in Hawaii, this movie is cinematically stunning.
*Sighs* Well, that was just a little taste of my experience at HIFF. I look forward to next year and leave you with this, “Go see an independent film!”