Hawaii International Film Festival presented by Halekulani will return for its 34th edition from Oct. 30 through Nov. 9 featuring films from 45 countries spanning diverse genres. Festivalgoers will be encouraged to embrace this year’s theme of#MyHIFFMoment by sharing their unique experiences, emotions and interpretations from experiencing HIFF films.
HIFF 2014 will open with the U.S. premiere of THE VANCOUVER ASAHI on Oct. 30 an inspirational and dramatic true story of the “Vancouver no Asahi” baseball team who played in Canada prior to World War II. The film stars Tsumabuki Satoshi who plays a second-generation Japanese immigrant named Reggie Kasahara, the shortstop for the team. The team was the focal point of the Japanese Canadian community in British Columbia until the fateful day of December 7, 1941 when the Empire of Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.
HIFF is proud to present Danish director Morten Tyldum’s biopic THE IMITATION GAME on Nov. 5 as the festival’s Centerpiece Gala (sponsored by festival within a festival EuroCinema Hawaii). Starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, the film chronicles the life of Alan Turing, the genius British mathematician, logician, cryptologist and computer scientist who led the charge to crack the German Enigma Code that helped the allies win World War II. Turing went on to assist with the development of computers at the University of Manchester after the war but was prosecuted by the U.K. government in 1952 for homosexual acts.
HIFF will conclude with the world premiere of Hawaii-produced VISIONS IN THE DARK: THE LIFE OF PINKY THOMPSON on Nov. 9 directed by Sundance Alumnus Ty Sanga. Pinky Thompson was one of Hawaii’s great identities who fought hard against the stigma of an inferior native Hawaiian. He envisioned an ideal Hawaii that no one else saw and fought for it from the battlefields of Normandy, to the steps of congress, to his humble home in Niu Valley. He championed a health care system, created invaluable educational programs and strengthened the pride of native Hawaiians. Pinky’s legacy lives on through his work as a social worker and community leader, including leadership posts at Kamehameha Schools and the Polynesian Voyaging Society.
Tickets go on sale on Sept. 26 for HIFF Ohana members and on Oct. 2 to the general public.
Find More Information & Tickets – HERE
BIG HERO 6: United States 2014: Nov.1
From Walt Disney Animation Studios, comes BIG HERO 6 an action-packed comedy-adventure about the special bond between Baymax, an inflatable robot, and prodigy Hiro Hamada. When a devastating event befalls the city of San Fransokyo and catapults Hiro into danger, he turns to Baymax and his close friends’ adrenaline junkie Go Go Tomago, neatnik Wasabi, chemistry whiz Honey Lemon and fanboy Fred. Determined to uncover the mystery, Hiro transforms his friends into a band of high-tech heroes called BIG HERO 6.
CART: South Korea 2014: Nov. 6 & Nov. 9
“Go on strike” Sun-hee (Yum Jung-Ah) and Hye-Mi (Moon Jung-Hee) proclaim as they raise their voices among the large group of middle-aged female workers after a sudden layoff notice. Mother of two, Sun-Hee and single mother Hye-Mi both work as cashiers at a large discount retail store. The unfair lay-off incites the women to stand up against the corporate officials. Reflecting recent social/ labor issues in Korean society, CART delivers a compelling drama of unprivileged individuals fighting for justice.
THE GOLDEN ERA: Hong Kong/China 2014: Nov. 2 & Nov. 4
THE GOLDEN ERA tells the epic tale of Xiao Hong, one of China’s most famous female writers and an iconic historical figure. Hong lived through some of the most turbulent times in Chinese history surviving poverty, the Japanese invasion and the post-war period. Her tale of love, loss and poetry is beautifully brought to life by actress Tan Wei in this lush drama helmed by director Ann Hui. THE GOLDEN ERA closed this year’s Venice Film Festival and has been chosen as Hong Kong’s official foreign language entry to the Academy Awards.
KANO: Taiwan 2014: Nov. 1 & Nov. 9
Set in the early 1930s during the Japanese colonial period (1895-1945) when Taiwanese and aborigines were considered second-class citizens, KANO is based on the true story of the Kagi Agriculture and Forestry Public School’s mixed-race baseball team. The baseball team, the first of its kind in Taiwan, went from being a laughing stock for never winning a game to much-loved heroes competing in “Koshien,” the most prestigious high school baseball tournament in Japan. From the creative team behind hits SEEDIQ BALE and CAPE NO. 7.
MY BRILLIANT LIFE: South Korea 2014: Oct. 30, Nov. 1 & Nov. 8
16-year-old, A-Reum has Progeria Syndrome, a rare genetic defect that makes him look like a withering old man. Young parents, Mira (Song Hye Kyo) and Dae-su (Kang Dong Won) are still in their early 30s and had A-Ruem when both were teens. A-Ruem only has few months to live, but they appear on a fundraising TV show in hopes of raising money for his medical care.
RISE OF THE WAHINE: United States 2014: Nov. 3 & Nov. 9
An amazing story of the fire and perseverance that drove underdogs to birth Title IX and release untold opportunities to an entire generation. Centered around the University of Hawaii’s volleyball team, these women (and men) lit a profound desire for girls to have the same opportunities as men—in education, sports, and careers. Women’s roles were about to change from “housewife” to educated-producer. Title IX was the door to get them there.
NARRATIVE FEATURE NOMINEES
A HARD DAY (South Korea)
Director: Sung-hoon Kim
Nov. 3, Nov. 7 & Nov. 8
Inventive, hilarious cop thriller A HARD DAY is a total blast. Corrupt cop Gun-su accidentally crashes his car into a man while on the phone. Instead of calling the police, he stashes the body in the trunk. Meanwhile, internal affairs have discovered the stash of cash that Gun-su and his corrupt team have amassed. Devising ever more elaborate stratagems to get out of the various pickles he’s in, Gun-su is in for the hardest day of his life.
A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT (USA)
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Nov. 1 & Nov. 7
Strange things are afoot in Bad City. The Iranian ghost town, home to prostitutes, junkies, pimps and other sordid souls, is a bastion of depravity where a lonely vampire stalks its most unsavory inhabitants. But when boy meets girl, an unusual love story begins to blossom…blood red. Cinema’s first Iranian vampire western by director Ana Lily Amirpour basks in the sheer pleasure of pulp. This darling of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival is bound to delight.
THE FURTHEST END AWAITS (Japan)
Director: Hsiu Chiung Chiang
Nov. 3 & Nov. 8
In the bucolic Note Peninsula, Misaki returns to her missing father’s home, and she refurbishes it into an artisan coffee shop. Despite an awkward beginning with Eriko, a single mother and her two young children who live next door, a cup of coffee ameliorates them to overcome their own difficulties in moving forward in life. They soon bond as Misaki quietly awaits for her father’s return.
HAEMOO (South Korea)
Director: Sung-bo Shim
Oct. 31 & Nov. 3
Based on true events, HAEMOO tells a gripping tale of a large 69-ton fishing boat crew’s attempt to smuggle illegal migrants in order to keep their jobs. Their plan goes terribly wrong when they meet a tragic accident while transporting the migrants amid a heavy sea fog. First time Director Shim Sung-Bo masterfully portrays individualistic greed in human nature, marking an impressive feature debut with the support of Bong Joon-Ho (visionary director of MEMORIES OF MURDER, THE HOST and SNOWPIERCER), who produced and co-wrote the film.
PARADISE IN SERVICE (Taiwan)
Director: Doze Niu Chen-Zer
Oct. 31 & Nov. 7
1969,Taiwan. Pao is assigned to the Sea Dragon (ARB), an army unit with an intense reputation stationed on the island of Kinmen, geographically close to mainland China. His unique assignment seems more perilous than actually defending Taiwan from the communist, especially for a young man who is still a virgin. This is the latest film from the director of MONGA, which won the NETPAC Award for Best Asian Film at HIFF 2010.
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE NOMINEES
Director: Ursula Liang
Nov. 1 & Nov. 5
Since the 1930s, Chinese men have played the ‘9-man’ streetball game in the alleys and parking lots of Chinatown. At a time when laws like the Chinese Exclusion Act forced them to socialize exclusively among themselves, 9-man offered fraternity for those separated from their families. Pivoting between Chinatown parking lots and jellyfish-filled banquet scenes, the film captures the spirit of 9-man as players both battle for a championship and fight to preserve a sport that holds so much history.
LIMITED PARTNERSHIP (USA)
Director: Thomas G. Miller
Nov. 3 & Nov. 8
In 1975, Filipino American Richard Adams and Australian, Tony Sullivan became one of the first same-sex couples in the world to be legally married. After applying for a green card for Tony, the couple received a denial letter stating, ‘You have failed to establish that a bona fide marital relationship can exist between two faggots.’ Outraged, the couple sued the U.S. government, filing the first federal lawsuit seeking equal treatment for a same-sex marriage in U.S. history.
Director: Janice Villarosa
Nov. 2 & Nov. 3
Beneath the pageant smile, sexy outfits and colorful exterior lies the transsexuals’ day-to-day pain of achieving the ultimate goal — to be happy with themselves and be accepted. SHUNNED offers a glimpse into their struggles, battles with society, their love life, and transition to become a woman. A no holds barred look into the lives of different transsexuals (male to female), in the Philippines.
VISIONS IN THE DARK: THE LIFE OF PINKY THOMPSON (USA)
Director: Ty Sanga
Pinky Thompson thought bigger than himself and further than the single cause at hand. He fought hard against the stigma of an inferior native Hawaiian. He championed a health care system, created invaluable educational programs and strengthened the pride of native Hawaiians. He envisioned an ideal Hawaii that no one else saw and fought for it from the battle fields of Normandy, to the steps of congress, to his humble home in Niu Valley.
WE ARE THE GIANT (USA)
Director: Greg Barker
Nov. 2, Nov. 4 & Nov. 8
Since late 2010, more than a dozen nations have experienced popular uprisings that have collectively been called the Arab Spring. Protests, buoyed by predominately young participants and social-media organizing, have exposed repression and led to regime changes. What does it mean to take part in a collective action that has the potential to unseat dictators? Powerful, tragic, yet ultimately inspiring, the stories of three pairs of activists from three nations offer hope against seemingly impossible odds.