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Youths’ and mentors’ films screen at HIFF


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POSTED: Friday, March 27, 2009

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Honolulu will screen three short films directed and produced by 10 youngsters and their mentors from New Hope Diamond Head at the Honolulu International Film Festival's Spring Showcase. “;Maili Land Stories of Hope”; focuses on the Maili Land Project, a program on Oahu's Leeward side that helps children of families shifting out of homelessness. To prepare for the endeavor, students ages 12 to 17 received instruction from professors at UH's Academy of Creative Media, as well as film students at Waianae and Nanakuli high schools.

The three pieces include behind-the-scenes footage and two shorts. “;Friendship”; features a boy struggling with his peers after moving into transitional housing, and “;A Promise”; revolves around a young man's aspirations.

They screen at 11 a.m. April 4 at Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18, followed by a question-and-answer session. Admission is $5. HIFF's spring showcase runs next Friday through April 9 at Dole Cannery, with films from all over the world. Visit http://www.hiff.org ...

On the heels of a screening at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, a newly edited version of the “;Taylor Camp”; movie will show on Kauai next week. Billed as the “;Ultimate Hippy Fantasy”; on Kauai's North Shore in the indulgent 1970s, Taylor Camp was a commune where approximately 100 people lived on seven acres in treehouses (clothing optional!) to explore life or “;de-program”; from the horrors of Vietnam. In an earlier review, I noted the story is told with a pleasing mix of evocative black-and-white photographs set to music by the likes of Cat Stevens and Simon & Garfunkel, contrasted against present-day interviews with the people who lived there. Photographer and filmmaker John Wehrheim—the man behind the pictures, film and book—avoided voice-over because he didn't want to speak for the residents.

“;I thought it was very important that they tell their stories and no narrator be involved in trying to formulate what the audience was thinking,”; he said from his studio on Maui. “;Everybody's Taylor Camp was different. Everyone had a different point of view about certain details. I felt it was really important to get a balanced perspective.”;

Previous screenings have sold out, so be sure to make arrangements early. In Lihue at 6 and 8 p.m. next Friday at the KCC Performing Arts Center; cost at the door is $10; 823-0105. In Princeville at 7 and 9 p.m. April 4 at the Spa/Golf Clubhouse; tickets are $10, available at Hanalei Surf Co.; 826-9000 ...

...”;Two Lovers”; starts at the Kahala Theatres tonight and is the kind of beautifully constructed film that provokes conversation. Engaging performances from Joaquin Phoenix, Gwyneth Paltrow, Vinessa Shaw, Isabella Rossellini and Elias Koteas never leave us wanting more—as seems to be the trend in festival fare these days. Even though Burl Burlingame reviewed it in HILife this week, I felt compelled to add my recommendation for people who yearn for character-driven, thought-provoking films rife with ambiguity.