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The Hawaii International Film Festival presented by Halekulani Announces Full-Lineup

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Festival Unspools 219 Films from 43 Countries, presenting prestige titles, festival favorites and buzz-worthy films to Hawaii

Expanding Its Scope, HIFF Launches Inaugural Creative Lab


Hawaii International Film Festival


The 32nd Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) presented by Halekulani returns for 11 days, Oct. 11-21. HIFF will be screening 219 films in total - 97 narrative features, 34 documentaries and 88 short films from 43 countries - Tallying 27 world premieres, 31 US premieres and seven international premieres.

As previously announced, HIFF's "Big Nights" - THE SAPPHIRES (Opening Night); SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (Centerpiece Gala); THE THIEVES (Closing Night Film) - parlay glamor, prestige and excitement to what will stand as one of the best HIFF editions yet.

This year's "Gala Presentations" - Films presented in 8 high profile programming slots that present a cross-section of crowd pleasing films from around the globe are: Sundance favorites BIG BOYS GONE BANANAS! And THE SESSIONS; Prestige Chinese films FULL CIRCLE and DANGEROUS LIAISONS, as well as the remastered animation classic THE MONKEY KING in 3D; Award-winning film THE WOODSMAN AND THE RAIN starring this year's Career Achievement Award recipient Koji Yakusho; Award- Winning Director Ramona Diaz's documentary DON'T STOP BELIEVIN': EVERYMAN'S JOURNEY about new Journey front-man Arnel Pineda; and Korean romantic comedy hit ALL ABOUT MY WIFE.


Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey
Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey


"It is always a great privilege to celebrate international cinema with such a diverse community of local residents as well as invited guests and delegates from the film industry and around the world," says Chuck Boller, HIFF Executive Director. "At our core, HIFF has always been a nexus of cultural exchange through the medium of film, and a vibrant event with roots deeply embedded in Hawaii's unique Asian-Pacific and international community. We are proud to again present a wonderful lineup of films and events this year."

The highlight luxury event for HIFF this year is the "China Night" Gala at Halekulani on October 13 at 6:30 PM. Newly crowned Miss Universe China Diana Xu will make her first public appearance along with Chinese mogul Yue-Sai Kan, the evening's honoree with HIFF's Lifetime Achievement Award for her philanthropic work in promoting Chinese culture to the world. Ms. Kan was recently listed as one of the 50 Most Powerful Business Women by Forbes Magazine. Also in attendance, is Korean superstar Daniel Henney (star of SHANGHAI CALLING, presented at this year's Festival). Fine food from Halekulani's Chef Vikram Garg and cocktails are combined with Chinese celebrities for this ticketed event starting at $250. "China Night" also helps bring funds and exposure to the ACM Smart Exchange, a special film program involving students from the University of Hawaii at Manoa ACM and Shanghai University.

HIFF is also honoring Japanese cinema with the Career Achievement Award to Japan's leading man thespian, Koji Yakusho (SHALL WE DANCE?, BABEL, CHRONICLES OF MY MOTHER, 13 ASSASSINS). Mr. Yakusho will be in attendance to receive this award before a presentation of his latest film THE WOODSMAN AND THE RAIN.


Woodsman And The Rain
Woodsman And The Rain


Another Japanese cinema honor is in the form of a Retrospective of Studio Ghibli films, presenting six classic anime features from the hallowed animation studio founded and led by the "Walt Disney of Japan," Hayao Miyazaki.

"This year's film program is truly dynamic, honoring great cinema artists from Japan, presenting "best-of" films that have played at film festivals earlier this year, buzz-worthy titles come this fall and winter's upcoming awards seasons, and a slew of premieres that make HIFF truly a festival of record for Pacific Rim cinema," says Anderson Le, director of programming. Le continues, "We also continue our partnership with Eurocinema Hawaii, presenting 10 prestige titles that the programming team and I selected straight from Berlin, Cannes and Toronto Film Festivals, and we also bring it home with a special presentation of a new documentary on Jake Shimabukuro at the Hawaii Theatre."

A presentation of Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC), Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), and PBS Hawaii, JAKE SHIMABUKURO: LIFE ON FOUR STRINGS is a feature length documentary on the life of local boy and one of the world's premier ukulele impressarios Jake Shimabukuro. Chronicling his humble and working class beginnings in Kaimuki, to his emergence in the local music scene with the founding of the band Pure Heart, to his meteoric rise onto the world stage, HIFF is proud to present this homecoming screening at the Hawaii Theatre Center on Tuesday, October 16 at 8:00pm. Director Tadashi Nakamura and Jake Shimabukuro himself, will be in attendance at the screening, as well as some special friends.


Jake Shimabukuro
Jake Shimabukuro  


Although the festival program has gone to press, the programming team is actively looking for opportunities to add films to HIFF. The "Late Additions" section has been reserved as a placeholder for such opportunities, in the form of TBA slots in the schedule.

HIFF audiences can get updates in real time through our social media networks, especially by following us on Twitter, @HIFF, like us on Facebook, or download the HIFF app, available for iPhone and Android.

"We're really excited to see what we can add at the last minute to the Festival, especially with the ease of disseminating information with our amazing social media team to inform our audiences", says Anderson Le. "We've already booked our first "Late Addition" film, with an advance screening of CLOUD ATLAS."

This year is a milestone in the Festival's educational programs with the launch of "Creative Lab."

"HIFF is very proud of its long history of bringing film education to Hawaii. HIFF 2012 will include the launch of our new Creative Lab, which will be a gathering place in Hawai'i where film, music and technology come together to offer local and visiting filmmakers, composers, and innovators from around the world, the chance to learn and collaborate on new and exciting creative content. We are very appreciative and humbled by the overwhelming support we have received by our friends and sponsors here in Hawaii and abroad" says Robert Lambeth, HIFF's Deputy Director.

The "Creative Lab" program is as follows:

NEW MEDIA ACADEMY: This inaugural event will explore the emerging media space that is rapidly democratizing filmed content through low cost digital tools and online distribution and venues, such as YouTube, creating "internet celebrities" that monetize their content and develop huge and rabid audiences. The YOMYOMF Network on YouTube will be conducting the panel, consisting of Creative Director Philip W. Chung, co-founders and Internet sensations Kevin Wu (KevJumba), Chester See, and Hollywood actress and YOMYOMF contributor Jamie Chung (THE HANGOVER PART II, SUCKER PUNCH, ONCE UPON A TIME, EDEN).

SAG/AFTRA: THE BUSINESS OF ACTING WORKSHOP offers the opportunity to learn about the art and business of becoming a professional actor. Casting director Renee Haynes (TWILIGHT) will be joined by SAG actors who will provide insight into the logistics and process of auditioning to key acting tips that will get you noticed above the rest of the pack.

FILM COMPOSER'S WORLD: CRAFT & CAREER with international composer agent George Christopoulos and Emmy Award winning composer Richard Bellis (Stephen King's IT). In a tag-team presentation, international agent George Christopoulos and Emmy Award winning composer Richard Bellis will discuss the current state of the film music industry. Topics to include: working with international markets; a film composer's duties from an agent's perspective; when and why to seek an agent in Hollywood and outside U.S.; composer expectations vs. filmmaker demands; synchronizing music with picture; the role and importance of performing rights organizations, and much more.

DIGITAL MEDIA TECHNOLOGIES SUMMIT with Leon D. Silverman - General Manager of Digital Studio for the Walt Disney Studios, Laurin Herr - Founder and president of Pacific Interface consulting, and Thomas A. DeFanti, Ph.D. - Internationally recognized expert in computer graphics - New avenues of opportunities in production and post production are expanding the tool kit for content creators in film, television and digital media. From collaborations across continents, to audio and video post in real time and digital distribution of product via 4K and HD platforms, new ways for creators to collaborate on are more real than ever before.

MEET THE DIRECTOR with Dr. Nathaniel Kohn - Nate Kohn, Associate Director of the George Foster Peabody Awards and Festival Director of Roger Ebert's EBERTFEST, will sit down with a selection of directors with films at HIFF and discuss the craft, as well as the successes and setbacks of making a film.

In addition to "Creative Lab," HIFF is offering more events that are free to the public. The expansion of Honolulu's Kaka'ako area is no surprise by now but on Saturday, October 13, HIFF is partnering up with Kamehameha Schools and Street Grindz for a special film screening. This family friendly, entitled "Food & Film": Pop-Up in the Park brings together local food trucks and an outdoor screening of Hayao Miyazaki's SPIRITED AWAY (part of HIFF's Studio Ghibli retrospective) at Mother Waldron Park. This free family fun event will attract fans of all ages and cosplay (costume play) is encouraged!


Spirited Away
Spirited Away


Below are the opening, centerpiece, and closing night film descriptions:

Opening Night Film
Thursday, October 11, 8:30 PM
Hawaii Premiere Australia 2012 | English | 103 M

Director: Wayne Blair

Cast: Tory Kittles, Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Chris O'Dowd, Shari Sebbens, Miranda Tapsell

1968 was the year that changed the world. And for four young Aboriginal sisters this is the year that would change their lives forever. The sisters, Cynthia, Gail, Julie and Kay are discovered by Dave, a talent scout with a kind heart, very little rhythm but a great knowledge of soul music. Billed as Australia's answer to 'The Supremes', Dave secures the sisters their first true gig, and fly's them to Vietnam to sing for the American troops.


The Sapphires
The Sapphires


Centerpiece Presentation
Wednesday, October 17, 6:30 PM 
Hawaii Premiere United States 2012 | English | 120M

Director: David O. Russell

Cast: Bradley Cooper, Robert DeNiro, Jennifer Lawrence, Julia Stiles, Chris Tucker, Jacki W eaver

Life doesn't always go according to plan...Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) has lost everything -- his house, his job, and his wife. He now finds himself living back with his mother (Jacki Weaver) and father (Robert DeNiro) after spending eight months in a state institution on a plea bargain. Then Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a mysterious girl with problems of her own. Tiffany offers to help Pat reconnect with his wife, but only if he'll do something very important for her in return. As their deal plays out, an unexpected bond begins to form between them, and silver linings appear in both of their lives.

Sponsored by: Modern Luxury Hawaii


Silver Linings Playbook
Silver Linings Playbook


Closing Night Film
Sunday, October 21, 6:30 PM
United States Premiere
South Korea 2012 | Korean, with English subtitles | 139M

Director: Dong-hoon Choi

Cast: Ji-hyeon Jeon , Yoon-seok Kim , Hye-soo Kim , Hae-sook Kim , Jeong-jae Lee , Simon Yam

THE THIEVES is a cool, fun and sexy pan-Asian riff on the "heist film." This box-office smash (one of the biggest in Korea's history), starts off with a hilarious prologue of a diamond heist with the sultry Yenicall (MY SASSY GIRL's Gianna Jun in an amazing comeback role to Korean cinema) seducing, sashaying and leaping across buildings in true cat burglar and grifter fashion. We soon learn that she is part of a crew, headed by Popeye (Jung-jae Lee of THE HOUSEMAID). They are soon joined by the enigmatic and beautiful Pepsi (Hye-su Kim of TAZZA: THE HIGH ROLLERS), who has just been paroled. The reunion of this crew is icy at best. But, they join forces for a job in Macau, with a huge payday.

The mastermind behind the big scheme is Macao Park (Yun-seok Kim of THE CHASER),

Popeye's former partner and Pepsi's old lover. The plan is to steal the "Tear of the Sun", a valuable diamond in transit in one of the city's biggest casinos. They join forces with a Hong Kong team, led by Simon Yam, and map out their strategy. But, does this heist fail- safe? And who is grifting who?


The Thieves
The Thieves


We'll see you at the movies!

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