The 42nd annual Hawaiʻi International Film Festival (“HIFF”) presented by Halekulani took place November 3- 27, 2022 with a multitude of film screenings, events, and programs, and the honoring of invited filmmakers that included “102 features, 124 shorts, and seven nominated film programs. Among the lineup were 111 Hawai‘i premieres, 69 world premieres, 14 U.S. premieres, 10 North American premieres and 7 international premieres from 37 countries.” This festival, HIFF honored accomplished filmmakers with awards that included a total of $21,500 in cash prizes; (info provided by HIFF).
The well attended festival opened with a celebration of Hawaiʻi cinema by featuring outdoor community-based screenings at Bishop Museum of two feature films, THE WIND AND THE RECKONING and THE STORY OF EVERYTHING. Such locally-produced films had a growing presence in this year’s festival with the collection of notably strong nominated films in the Made in Hawaiʻi award categories. This year’s HIFF Made in Hawaiʻi films are eligible to be submitted for Academy Award considerations. These awards were won by: THE WIND AND THE RECKONING (directed by David L. Cunningham) for Best Made in Hawai‘i Feature and INHERITANCE (directed by Erin Lau) for Best Made in Hawai‘i Short.
Other HIFF awards were presented to: THE RED SUITCASE (directed by Cyrus Neshvad) for HIFF Best Short Film Award, BAD AXE (directed by David Siev) for Kau Ka Hōkū Grand Jury Award Winner, and WHINA (directed by James Napier Robertson, Paula Whetu Jones) for the Pasifika Award.
This year, the NETPAC Award was presented to KĀINGA, directed by Ghazaleh Golbakhsh, Nahyeon Lee, Angeline Loo, HASH (Hash Perambalam), Asuka Sylvie, Yamin Tun, Julie Zhu, Michelle Ang; produced by Kerry Warkia, Kiel McNaughton, Shuchi Kothari. Producers Warkia and McNaighton were in attendance to accept the award. KĀINGA, is an impressive omnibus film which brought together the work of underrepresented Asian filmmakers with eight diverse stories of Asians assimilating in Aotearoa New Zealand through five decades. The jury shared, “Not only were we impressed by the seamless flow of the unique stories across time, we were touched by the magic that each of the stories brings and recognize the way this form of anthology film reflects the communal nature of native cultures – some of our strongest works come through collective action.”
The other notable, eclectic array of films that were eligible and considered for the NETPAC award at HIFF 2022 are:
GAGA (directed by Laha Mebow, the first female indigenous director in Taiwan), LEONOR WILL NEVER DIE (directed by Martika Ramirez Escobar, Philippines), NEXT SOHEE (directed by Jung Ju-ri, S. Korea), ONE AND FOUR (directed by first-time Tibetan director Jigme Trinley), PLAN 75 (directed by Chie Hayakawa, Japan), and, WE ARE STILL HERE (an omnibus film directed by Beck Cole, Dena Curtis, Tracey Rigney, Danielle MacLean, Tim Worrall, Renae Maihi, Miki Magasiva, Mario Gaoa, Richard Curtis, Chantelle Burgoyne, Australia, New Zealand.)
The 2022 NETPAC Jurors included: Elizabeth Daley, former dean of the University of Southern California School (USC) of Cinematic Arts for 30 years, currently the executive director of the USC Institute for Multimedia Literacy; Vilsoni Hereniko, filmmaker, professor at the Academy for Creative Media, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa; Anne Misawa, filmmaker, professor at the Academy for Creative Media, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
HIFF Audience Awards were voted on by enthused audience members and went to:
DEALING WITH DAD (directed by Tom Huang) for the Narrative Feature Audience Award, THROUGH THE DOGGY DOOR (directed by Joe Alani) for the Documentary Feature Audience Award, E MĀLAMA PONO, WILLY BOY (directed by Scott Kekama Amona) for the Short Film Audience Award, and AGENT ROVER (directed by Gino Caruso) for the Student Short Film Audience Award.
For a full list of awardees and more details, please refer to the HIFF site-- https://hiff.org/hiff42-announces-jury-award-winners-honorees/
HIFF highlights included, but not limited to: BROKER, Cannes premiered film, directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda (MABOROSI, SHOPLIFTERS) and his attendance at the festival to accept the Halekulani Vision in Film Award; the attendance of Jung Woo-Sung, actor (of many iconic Korean films) and director of A MAN OF REASON honored with the Halekulani Golden Maile for Career Achievement Award; attendance of Auliʻi Cravalho (lead in the animated MOANA and recipient of the HIFF Halekulani Vangaurd Award) at the HIFF Future Filmmaker event; the PASIFIKA FILMMAKING: IN CONVERSATION WITH KĀINGA & MAKAWALU Filmmakers with producers Kerry Warkia (the recipient of the Leanne K. Ferrer Trailblazer Award) and Kiel McNaughton, (WARU, VAI); the Spotlight of Hong Kong Honoree event to highlight Actress Josie Ho, featured in her doc FINDING BLISS: FIRE AND ICE; the New American’s Perspective’s program industry panel with Deborah Chow (OBI-WAN KENOBI), Laurent Barthelemy (FINDING SATOSHI), Ellie Foumbi (OUR FATHER, THE DEVIL), Nardeep Khurmi (LAND OF GOLD), and Rena Owen (WHINA), amongst many other HIFF screenings, special events and industry panels.
The 42nd HIFF had an extremely strong educational component to its festival. This year, HIFF had several educational programs including a HIFF Online Creators & Critics Immersive which selected local emerging creators and critics to learn from industry mentors such as David Chen (host and producer of podcasts), Patrick Willems (filmmaker and video essayist), Taylor Ramos & Tony Zhou, (Vancouver-based filmmaking partnership), and Kirsten Stevens & Duncan Caillard, (researchers and film programmers). HIFF Education programs also promoted the work or emerging filmmakers and included a HIFF Youth Series, Future Filmmaker Series as well as a Guest Filmmaker Series in which invited accomplished filmmakers visited classrooms K-12 and a unique venture that involved Academy for Creative Media, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa students in a “HIFFternship” with the HIFF organization during the planning and event activities of the film festival.
Prof. Anne Misawa (Hawaii/USA) – Chairperson of NETPAC Jury
Other jury members:
Ms. Elizabeth Daley (USA) & Vilsoni Hereniko (President, NETPAC / USA)