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"Poi E: The Story of our Song" will screen at Courtyard Cinema on November 9, 2017.

Nov 02, 2017

Coming Soon: HIFF Readies the Red Carpet

For more than three-and-a-half decades, the Hawai'i International Film Festival has gifted the state with an array of cinematic magic.

By exposing the public to the likes of Japanese short films, Maori comedies, or even future Oscar winners, HIFF serves as a cinematic bridge between East and West and is one of the city's great cultural gems. Beginning in early November, the festival is set to screen more than 150 films hailing from 45 countries in theatres across the city. So grab your popcorn, dim the lights, and get ready, because the show is about to start.

With a mission to entertain, enlighten and inspire, HIFF has become a beacon in the film-festival world, earning praise not just from local film buffs, but from movie critics like Roger Ebert who called the festival a "…launching pad for early films by younger directors." The Hollywood Reporter, pointing to HIFF's role in connecting films from both East with West, proclaimed the festival to be a "premier American showcase for Asian films and for new filmmakers hailing from the Pacific Rim." A testament to breadth of successful films to pass through the HIFF lineup, the likes of Lion, Jackie, The Eagle Huntress, The Imitation Game, The Artist, Volver, The Host, Babel, Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and a slew of others have all been screened under HIFF's umbrella.

However, HIFF's connection to the community extends beyond their hotly anticipated 10-day festival. Through an array of outreach programs, HIFF connects Hawai'i to new films year-round. In fact, since 2014, Ward Village has partnered with HIFF to bring Courtyard Cinema to the city. Held on the second Thursday of the month in the courtyard of the iconic IBM Building, this free monthly event offers the public an opportunity to connect with films curated by HIFF all year.

To mark HIFF's return, the IBM Building will be hosting a special screening of Poi E, a documentary analyzing the inspiring and surprising story behind the 1984 New Zealand smash hit, " Poi E: The Story of our Song." Between the success of other cult classics like What What We Do In the Shadows, Whale Rider, and the Lord of the Ring series, it's clear New Zealand has established itself as an incubator for filmmakers. Poi E, crafted and directed by Tearepa Kahi, has received widespread praise and is a perfect way to kick-start the festival. Because this screening is a part of the film festival, tickets for the show will need to be purchased.

For its 37th anniversary, the festival will be marked by a special focus on contemporary cinema, outdoor screenings, and showcasing the work of young, local filmmakers. You can find an entire list of films screened at the fest here. And of course, what film screening would be complete without a proper gala? On November 10th, throngs of filmmakers actors, and industry insiders will mingle at The Halekulani for one of the hottest social events of the year, HIFF's annual Awards Gala.

In addition, the festival also provides free screenings for middle and high school students across the state and offers young writers' workshop through Roger Ebert Foundation. For filmmakers, both established and prospective, HIFF also hosts talk-story sessions and seminars through their Oscar Doc Lab event, featuring Oscar-winning director Freida Lee Mock and the 2016 panel on Asian Pacific Islander, including Hawaii Five O's Daniel Dae Kim.

"We're proud to be the longstanding film festival of record for the Pacific and we've really taken that to heart this year by mounting our first ever competition section for films made in Hawaii." said Beckie Stocchetti, HIFF Executive Director. "This year's fest represents a broad cross section of new films from Asia and the Pacific Rim, festival favorites from Sundance, Cannes, and Toronto, and a strong focus on indigenous Pacific filmmakers. As the trendsetter for content in the Pacific, it is our mission to promote these works from breakthrough emerging talent to established filmmakers such as New Zealand's Taika Waititi, who recently directed the recently released film, Thor: Ragnaraok."

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