HAWAII INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Former sumo star Konishiki -- Hawaii's Salevaa Atisanoe -- teaches Okinawan boys to rap in "Check It Out, Yo!"
HIFF hits the beach with 4 screenings
The Louis Vuitton Hawaii International Film Festival takes over the city's giant outdoor movie screen with free Sunset on the Beach events over four nights starting Friday.
Here's a quick take on the films to be offered:
SUNSET ON THE BEACH IN WAIKIKI
Films: "Sharkwater" (Canada), "Na Kamalei: Men of Hula" (U.S.), "Tow-In Surfing" (Brazil/U.S.) and "Check It Out, Yo! (Chekeraccho!!)" (Japan)
On screen: 7 p.m. Friday through Monday
Place: Waikiki Beach
How to HIFF: For a list of Hawaii International Film Festival offerings, pick up a program at any Starbucks location or visit www.hiff.org.
» On Friday night, don't get in the water! The featured film is the documentary "Sharkwater," filmmaker Rob Stewart's underwater adventure.
Driven by a lifelong fascination with sharks, Stewart attempts to debunk stereotypes and media depictions of the dreaded animals as bloodthirsty, man-eating killing machines. He reveals the reality of sharks as "pillars in the evolution of the seas."
The documentary was filmed in high-definition video in the shark-rich marine reserves of Cocos Island, Costa Rica, and the Galapagos Islands near Ecuador. Stewart discovers that sharks have gone from predator to prey due to poachers that could result in their extinction within the next few years.
» Saturday night, the Brothers Cazimero take the stage as Robert's halau, Na Kamalei, is showcased both in performance and on screen with the documentary "Na Kamalei: Men of Hula." Cazimero celebrates his 30th year of teaching hula to his male dancers, ranging in age from 18 to 55.
Interviews and anecdotes are part of the halau's triumphant return to Hilo's Merrie Monarch Festival last year, documented by Lisette Marie Flanary.
» Sunday's offering is the Brazilian-U.S. documentary "Tow-In Surfing" in a program that will include additional surf shorts. In the first 15 minutes of the film, as veteran surfer Ken Bradshaw narrates a poetic segment over some terrifying and beautiful aerial shots of monster-wave riding, Bradshaw calls big-wave surfing "the epitome of performance surfing" and the sport's future.
The documentary then becomes more standard, covering tow-in surfing's history and the relationship between surfer and the jet-ski rider who must position his partner just right to catch the 50- to 60-foot swells.
Rides at Jaws in Peahi on Maui's North Shore and Mavericks outside Half Moon Bay in California are highlighted. During a segment on the first professional competition in January 2002, the Tow In World Cup at Jaws, look for Mike Parsons' breathtaking perfect ride.
» On Monday the broad Japanese comedy "Check It Out, Yo!" hits the beach. The big attraction -- literally -- here is former sumo wrestler and local boy Konishiki, Salevaa Atisanoe. Atisanoe has made a name for himself as a rapper, and he shows off those skills as mentor to three Okinawan schoolboys.
The fluffy, coming-of-age movie is energetic, if overlong and erratically paced, but rural Okinawa and its friendly, funky folk are shown in all their charm. And the story of boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl-to-Tokyo-rocker and boy-celebrates-his-community-in-song-at-the-end, while clichéd, has its winning moments.
The Star-Bulletin's coverage of the Hawaii International Film Festival will continue with reviews of selected films in HILife, distributed on Thursday to subscribers and Friday for street sales.