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Second round in HIFF 'a bonus' for filmmaker


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POSTED: Thursday, October 08, 2009

Filmmaker Misa Tupou is on his way to the Hawaii International Film Festival after winning last month's high-pressure Showdown in Chinatown competition. His touching seven-minute short, “;One Night,”; chronicles a single night in the life of a homeless man in Chinatown.

“;It was a bonus getting into HIFF,”; said Tupou, who wrote, directed and starred in what he calls a “;very collaborative project”; with his Napkin Notes production company. “;Showdown is an avenue for filmmakers to challenge themselves and to promote their work. (Winning is just) confirmation that you're on the right track. And being part of a well-known festival gives you an opportunity to be with your peers.”;

This won't be Tupou's first time at the festival. One of his shorts was accepted in 2003, but he says the experience feels different this time.

“;I'm a bit more confident in my ability,”; he said. “;I just want to have fun and to be involved with other filmmakers and learn from them.”;

Showdown's theme, posted one month before the final submission deadline, was “;How Do You See Chinatown?”;

Tupou, who moved back to Hawaii from New Zealand in 2007, said the area's revitalization inspires him. “;But at the same time, there's this other world. I wanted somehow to highlight that. And I kept coming back to homelessness.”;

By focusing attention on the issue, he hopes to promote dialogue about the crisis. “;When you make stuff, it's all about connecting with your fellow human beings.”;

The outdoor screening takes place at 7 p.m. Oct. 23 at 1021 Smith St., between King and Hotel streets. For more information, visit www.hiff.org ...

THREE HAWAII filmmakers recently had the opportunity to soak up Japanese culture and hone their production skills at the Kyoto Filmmakers Lab (http://www.kyotofilmmakerslab.com/generalinfo). Gerard Elmore (”;All for Melissa”;), Aaron Yamasato (”;Blood of the Samurai”;) and Chris Yogi (”;Layover on the Shore”;) received some financial assistance from the Japanese government to work on a samurai film titled “;Hands-on JIDAIGEKI.”;

Only 30 people, from all over the world, were invited to participate in multiday lab, which provides networking opportunities among professionals and encourages them to apply for other international filmmaking workshops.

Using Elmore's iPhone, they kept a video blog of their adventures. As Elmore noted in the first installment, “;The quality's not going to be as good, but we're going to do things and go places that you're not allowed to catch or capture”; due to strict filming guidelines. More than that, it just looked like fun.

See what they've done at http://www.hsblinks.com/ve  ...

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“;DANCING with the Stars”; celebrity Mark Dacascos said his experience on the show this season “;is a roller coaster ride, and every Monday is like you've just reached the top and you're about to take that big first drop — again. It's so intense.”;

During my interview with him for a longer feature story, the Chairman on the Food Network's “;Iron Chef America”; also talked about Hawaii fondly. “;I'm so proud and grateful that I was born in Hawaii and that my kids were born there,”; he said. “;I don't know a place more beautiful and wonderful and magical than our islands”; ...

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A NEW SERIES called “;Top Hawaii Chefs”; will debut on KHNL/K5 Saturday night, according to the show's Web site. The local restaurant and cooking series features chef Russell Siu of 3660 on the Rise in the first episode, and looks like it will visit a variety of people and venues each week. It's slated to air from noon to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays and at 6 p.m. on Sundays. If you miss an episode, catch it archived on KHNL.com and K5thehometeam.com. Look for more details at www.tophawaiichefs.com ...