Star-Bulletin Features

Friday, November 2, 2001



Movieland revisited

This year's film fest has 67 premieres

By Tim Ryan

The Hawaii International Film Festival starts tonight in Honolulu and will show more than 175 films over its 10-day run.

Unlike previous incarnations of the largest presentation of Asia-Pacific films in the United States, many of the pictures in this 21st HIFF edition include 12 world and 55 United States premieres, the most premieres in the event's history.

World premieres include "Blood of the Samurai," directed by Hawaii's Aaron Yamasato (review on page 22); and "Plan B" starring Diane Keaton and Ellie Parker, and directed by Hawaii-born filmmaker Scott Coffey.

U.S. premieres include the Korean "Friend" and Japan's "Snowland Revisited" inspired by the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, "Yukiguni (Snow Country)."

"To promote and advance cultural understanding among the people of the East and West through film has been the mission of the Hawaii International Film Festival since its founding," said Chuck Boller, who is in his second year as HIFF's executive director. "Our goal has always been to prove that cultures and peoples are not so very different at all.

"And what differences exist are to be celebrated and welcomed. Film provides an ideal window onto the world's cultures."

The HIFF fest features programs divided between juried competitions for documentaries and features directed by first- or second-time filmmakers, and noncompetitive feature screenings from more established talents in series that reflect HIFF's mission. There's "Hawaii Panorama," showcasing 16 films made in Hawaii; "Action Asia," "Music for the Eyes," and for the first time, a "High Tech Documentary" section.

Opening the festival tonight at the Waikiki 1 & 2 is "To End All Wars" by local filmmaker David Cunningham.

Among many films that have won praise this year are the Maile Award nominated films: "The Fast Runner" (Canada); "Bungee Jumping of Their Own" (South Korea); "Firefly Dreams" (Japan); "Millennium Mambo" (Taiwan) and "Season of Guavas."

You can also see the latest works from such hot international directors as Ray Lawrence ("Lantana," Australia-Germany); Zacharias Kunuk ("The Fast Runner," Canada); Chan-wook Park ("JSA," South Korea); George Butler ("The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition," U.S.); Xiaoning Feng (China's "Purple Sunset"); Shohei Imamura ("Warm Water Under a Red Bridge," Japan); among many others.

A few of these films and other festival entries have U.S. commercial distribution deals, but most don't, so this means that their HIFF 2001 screenings may be your only chance to see them on the big screen.

Other programs include "Oceania Revealed: A Retrospective of Pacific Island Film, Video and Television"; a seminar with critic Donald Richie who is renowned throughout Japan, best known as the preeminent Western critic of Japanese cinema; "Frontiers of Digital Media Technology," two NASA outreach workshops to promote transfer of advanced film and video imaging technology to commercial uses by independent film producers, business professionals and entrepreneurs in Hawaii, and The Association of Independent Commercial Producers presentation of "The Art & Technique of the American Television Commercial."

In the revival spotlight, Peter Fonda's remastered 1971 Western, "The Hired Hand," which he directed and starred in, will be shown.


When: Today through Nov. 11 on Oahu; Nov. 7 through 11 on the Big Island; Nov. 9 through 11 on Maui and Kauai

Where: Signature Theatres in Dole Cannery and Windward Mall, Waikiki Theatres 1 and 2, The Hawaii Convention Center and The Academy of Arts Theatre

Tickets: $7 for the general public; $6 for HIFF Ohana members, students, senior citizens, military and PIC (Pacific Islanders in Communications) members. Available at the HIFF box office at The Shops at Dole Cannery, by phone, fax or via the Internet, or at the door. Tickets purchased on the day of the show go on sale one hour before the first screening of the day at that site.

Flash passes: Only available to HIFF Ohana Silver and Gold members. To join HIFF, call Trevor Tavares at 528-3456 Ext. 16.

Contacts: 528-HIFF (4433); by fax 524-4986; online at

Program guides: Available at HIFF's Box Office, screening sites and all Blockbuster Video Hawaii and Starbucks Coffee locations.


Kauai: Kauai Community College, Waimea Theatre and the Kilauea Theatre

Big Island: (Hilo) Palace Theatre, University of Hawaii Hilo Campus Center and the Honokaa Peoples Theatre; (Kona) Aloha Theatre, Keauhou Shopping Center's Paniolo Room and Keauhou Cinemas

Maui: Maui Arts & Cultural Center Castle Theatre

Tickets: $6 general and $5 for students, senior citizens, military and PIC members, available at the venues. Tickets go on sale one hour before the first screening of the day.

Call: Kauai 634-6940; Maui 876-0576; East Hawaii (Hilo) 969-9412; West Hawaii (Kona) 322-3362.

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