"Howl's Moving Castle" is part of the Summer Cinema series at the Honolulu Academy of Arts.
Staying cool at the theater
Summer seems filled with opportunities to duck into a cool, darkened theater and enjoy a flick or two -- beyond the usual well-hyped, major movies opening every week at the cineplex.
Re-presenting the Pacific: First Annual Pacific Islands Film Festival
Place: Cupola Theatre, second floor, Honolulu Design Center
Time: Friday through Saturday
Call: Call 396-8353 or visit pomona.edu/pbi/filmfest
Kids First! Film Festival
Place: Art Auditorium, University of Hawaii-Manoa
Time: 3 p.m. Sunday and July 20
Call: 956-9883 or visit outreach.hawaii.edu/summer/features
The best of Japanese animation genius Hayao Miyazaki
Place: Doris Duke Theatre, Honolulu Academy of Arts
Time: Saturday through July 18
Tickets: $7; $6 seniors, students and military; $5 academy members; $3 children
A new player this year is the Pacific Islands Film Festival, debuting at the Honolulu Design Center's Cupola Theatre on Kapiolani Boulevard this weekend -- the first of what the theater hopes will be an annual event.
Presented by the Pacific Basin Institute at Pomona College, joined by the UH Center for Pacific Island Studies and Pacfic Islanders in Communications, the festival will feature films from diverse island cultures.
Special events include music and hula on opening night, Friday at 6 p.m., from Manoa Voices and dancer Ku'ulei Hazelwood, plus a keynote address from Merata Mira, New Zealand filmmaker and faculty member at the UH's Academy for Creative Media. Closing night Sunday at 7:15 p.m. will feature music by Eddie Kamae, who will introduce his 2005 documentary "Keepers of the Flame: The Cultural Legacy of Three Hawaiian Women," on the lives of Mary Kawena Pukui, Iolani Luahine and Edith Kanakaole.
The life and films of special guest Cliff Curtis will be spotlighted at 8:15 p.m. Saturday. The Maori actor has starred in New Zealand's biggest and most critically acclaimed films, "The Piano," "Once Were Warriors" and "Whale Rider," and has appeared in the recent Hollywood movies "Sunshine," "Live Free and Die Hard" and "10,000 B.C."
Film highlights include "Naming No. 2," about an aging Fijian matriarch (played by 2008 Oscar nominee Ruby Dee) who wakes up one morning and demands that her grandchildren throw her a Fijian feast, and the documentary "Made in Taiwan," in which Maori radio and sports celebrity Nathan Rarere and writer-filmmaker Oscar Kightley team up in search of their Asian roots. (Kightley's popular 2006 comedy, "Samoan Wedding," will also screen at the festival.)
"Samoan Wedding" screens Friday and Saturday at the Pacific Islands Film Festival.
THE Kids First! Film Festival continues this month with a family film this weekend and a program of shorts the next.
"All Roads Lead Home" is the touching story of a girl coming to terms with her mother's death with the help of family, friends, a thoroughbred horse and a puppy named Atticus. It stars Peter Coyote, Vivien Cardone and, in his last role, the late Peter Boyle.
The July 20 program will feature "Super Shorts," appropriate for keiki ages 5 to 9, and includes adaptations of a couple of School Library Journal Best Book award-winners, "Max's Words" and "Wallace's List," and another adventure featuring the spunky French schoolgirl Madeline in "Next Stop America."
Meanwhile, the Honolulu Academy of Arts kicks off its family feature summer season with a series of gorgeously animated films by Japanese master Hayao Miyazaki.
The academy's theater manager and anime aficionado Steve Mobley will introduce the series on Saturday with "My Neighbor Totoro," which will be shown four times Saturday and Sunday.
Besides Miyazaki's internationally acclaimed "Spirited Away" (Wednesday and July 17) and "Howl's Moving Castle" (July 18), the director's lesser-known "Porco Rosso" will be shown Monday and Tuesday.
Released in 1992, with its title translated to "The Crimson Pig," the film tells of World War I Italian fighter ace Marco Pagot, who becomes a postwar freelance bounty hunter chasing air pirates over the Adriatic Sea. Despite a curse that gives him the head of a pig, his bravery wins the heart of an aristocratic beauty.
(Upcoming minifests at the academy include two series of musicals and surf films, respectively.)