Hawaii International Film Festival

The Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) is a film festival held in the United States state of Hawaii. It was started in 1981 by Jeannette Paulson Hereniko, who served as its director to 1996, followed by Chuck Boller, Esq. from the late 90s through 2013. It is held annually in the fall for two weeks and also features two smaller festivals, a one-week festival in the Spring known as the "Spring Showcase" or the "Spring Fling" and a three-day Korean Film Festival in August called "K-Fest." HIFF is the premier international film event in the Pacific and has won the praise of governments, filmmakers, scholars, educators, programmers and film industry leaders throughout the world. For the discovery and exhibition of Asian and Pacific features, documentaries and short films in the nation, it is a primary source. The festival has premiered such movies as A Leading Man, Once Were Warriors, The Piano, Shine, Shall We Dance?, Y Tu Mama Tambien and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.[1] The Hawaii International Film Festival is the only film festival that screens films across an entire state, with screenings on the island of Oahu in downtown Honolulu, Waikiki, and, sometimes, Kaneohe, followed by "encore screenings" on the islands of Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island.

The HIFF states that it "is dedicated to the advancement of understanding and cultural exchange among the peoples of Asia, the Pacific and North America through the medium of film." It is the largest such "East meets West" film festival in the United States.

The festival receives sponsorship from numerous corporations every year, with the largest contributor being Louis Vuitton. The festival is also known as the Louis Vuitton Hawaii International Film Festival.[2]

Renowned film critic Roger Ebert picked one film to be shown at HIFF each year, and he sometimes traveled to Hawaii in order to introduce it to the audience. The Festival gives out several awards: the top prize is named the Golden Maile and is also known as the First Hawaiian Bank Golden Maile Award. In 2004, an award for achievement in acting was given to Maggie Cheung, a second was awarded to Samuel L. Jackson in 2005. Sonny Chiba received the Maverick Award in 2005. Ken Watanabe received honors in 2006.


Best Narrative Feature

Year Film Director Country
1983 Muddy River Kōhei Oguri Japan
1984 River without Buoys Wu Tianming China
1985 The Yellow Earth Chen Kaige China
1986 Butterfly & Flower Euthana Mukdasnit Thailand
1987 Mirch Masala Ketan Mehta India
1988 Illustrious Energy Leon Narbey New Zealand
1989 The Birth Shaji Karun India
1990 Untama Giru Gō Takamine Japan
1991 The Cyclist Moshen Makhmalbaf Iran
1992 Our Twisted Hero Park Jong-won South Korea
1993 The Blue Kite Tian Zhuangzhuang China
1994 Red Firecracker, Green Firecracker He Ping China
1995 Good Men, Good Women Hou Hsiao-hsien Taiwan / Japan
1996 A Hot Roof Lee Min-yong South Korea
1997 12 Storeys Eric Khoo Singapore
1998 Spring in My Hometown Lee Kwang-mo South Korea
1999 Siam Sunset John Polson Australia
2000 Chunhyang Im Kwon-taek South Korea
2001 Firefly Dreams John Williams Japan
2002 Mr. and Mrs. Iyer Aparna Sen India
2003 The Twilight Samurai Yoji Yamada Japan
2004 Taste of Tea Katsuhito Ishii Japan
2005 Cavite Ian Gamazon / Neill Dela Llana Philippines / United States
2006 Love for Share Nia Dinata Indonesia
2007 The Home Song Stories Tony Ayres Australia
2008 Cape No. 7 Wei Te-sheng Taiwan
2009 Empire of Silver Christina Yao China
2010 Son of Babylon Mohamed Al-Daradji Iraq
2011 Patang Prashant Bhargava India
2012 Key of Life Kenji Uchida Japan
2014 Haemoo Shim Sung-bo South Korea

Best Documentary

Year Film Director Country
1988 Who Killed Vincent Chin? Christine Choy / Renee Tajima United States
1989 None
1990 Man Without Pigs Chris Owen Australia
1991 The Inland Sea Lucille Carra United States
1992 Black Harvest Robin Anderson / Bob Connolly Australia
1993 Will My Mother Go Back To Berlin? Micha Peled United States
1994 Boatman Gianfranco Rosi United States
1995 Mother Dao the Turtlelike Vincent Monnikendam Netherlands
1996 Six O'Clock News Ross McElwee United States
1997 Homesick Eyes Hsu Hsiao-Ming Taiwan
1998 Nadya's Village Motahashi Seeichi Japan
1999 Surfing For Life David Brown United States
2000 The Diplomat Tom Zubrycki Australia
2001 The Endurance George Butler United States
2002 Spellbound Jeffrey Blitz United States
2003 Refugee Spencer Nakasako United States
2004 Mr. Patterns Catriona McKenzie Australia
2005 Sisters in Law Kim Longinotto Cameroon / United Kingdom
2006 Time and Tide Julie Bayer / Josh Salzman Tuvalu / United States
2007 Beautiful Son Don King / Julianne King United States
2008 Noho Hewa: The Wrongful Occupation of Hawai'i Anne Keala Kelly United States
2009 Petition: The Court of the Complainants Zhao Liang China
2010 I Wish I Knew Jia Zhangke China
2011 Splinters Adam Pesce United States
2012 Where Heaven Meets Hell Sasha Friedlander Indonesia, United States
2016 The Eagle Huntress[3] Otto Bell Mongolia, United Kingdom, United States


Year Film Director Country
2000 Breaking the Silence Sun Zhou China
2001 Devils on the Doorstep Jiang Wen China
2002 Eyes of a Beauty Guan Hu China
2004 Peep "TV" Show Yutaka Tsuchiya Japan
2005 Season of the Horse Ning Cai China
2006 4:30 Royston Tan Singapore
2007 Owl and the Sparrow Stephane Gauger Vietnam
2008 Brutus - The Adventure Tara Illenberger Philippines
2009 Castaway on the Moon Lee Hae-jun South Korea
2010 Monga Doze Chen-Zer Niu Taiwan ROC
2011 Hanaan Ruslan Pak South Korea, Uzbekistan
2012 Apparition Vincent Sandoval Philippines
2013 Monsoon Shootout Amit Kumar India
2014 Titli Kanu Behl India
2015 The Kids Sunny Yu Taiwan
2016 Knife in the Clear Water Wan Xuebo China
2017 One Thousand Ropes Tusi Tamasese New Zealand
2018 Still Human Oliver Siu Kuen Chan Hong Kong


Year Cinematographer
1983 The Ballad of Narayama (Masao Toshizawa)
1984 Hiro Narita
1985 Zhang Yimou
1986 Dennis O'Rouke
1987 Jing Il-Sung
1988 Leon Narbey
1989 Shaji Karun
1990 Gu Changwei
1991 Huang Ming-Chuan
1992 Subrata Mitra
1993 Kazuo Miyagawa
1994 Edward Lachman
1995 Gu Changwei
1996 Frederick Elmes
1997 John Seale
1998 László Kovács
1999 Christopher Doyle
2000 Roger Deakins
2001 Caleb Deschanel
2003 Dean Semler
2005 Russell Boyd
2006 Matthew Libatique

Vision in Film

Year Award Recipient
1991 Kawakita Memorial Film Institute
1992 American Film Institute
1995 Zhang Yimou
1997 Ang Lee
2006 Hollywood Foreign Press Association
2007 Hawaii State Legislature
2008 Shanghai Media & Entertainment Group
2009 Park Chan-wook, Damon Lindelof & Carlton Cuse of LOST
2010 Roger & Chaz Ebert
2011 Alexander Payne
2012 Sundance Institute's Native Program

Hawai'i Filmmaker

Year Film Director
1990 My Aunt May Roland Tharpe
1991 Hawai'i: Beyond the Feathered Gods Paul Atkins
1992 Simple Courage Stephanie Castillo
1993 From Hawai'i to the Holocaust Judy Weightman / Ryan Sexton
1994 Ganbare Robert Bates
1995 Words, Earth and Aloha Eddie Kamae
1996 Lemon Tree Billiards House Tim Savage
1997 E Ola Ka 'Olelo Hawai'i Na Maka O Ka 'Aina
1998 Kaho'olawe David Kalama, Jr
1999 Red Turtle Rising Jay April
2000 Ka'ililauokekoa Kala'iokona Ontai
2001 Blood of the Samurai Aaron Yamasato
2003 The Ride Nathan Kurosawa
2004 Silent Years James Sereno
2005 Fishbowl Kayo Hatta
2006 Na Kamalei: Men of Hula Lisette Marie Flanery

New American Filmmakers (NAF)

Since 2007 and until 2015, the Hawaii International Film Festival has partnered with the Vilcek Foundation to curate the New American Filmmakers program.[4] Presented at the festival each year, New American Filmmakers seeks out the most talented foreign-born filmmakers currently contributing to American cinema. The result is a diverse program that draws upon cinematic genres and traditions from around the world.

Film Delegate Country of Birth
Camino Zoë Bell (Actress) New Zealand
Margarita, with a Straw Shonali Bose (Director) India
Yosemite Gabrielle Demeestere (Director) France
Spellbound Alfred Hitchcock (Director) England
Seoul Searching Daniel Katz (Cinematographer) Ireland
Benson Lee (Director) Korean-American
People are the Sky Dai Sil Kim-Gibson (Director) North Korea
Film Delegate Country of Birth
The Artist Antoine de Cazotte (Producer) France
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night Ana Lily Amirpour (Director) Iranian-American
Man from Reno Ayako Fujitani (Actress) Japan
Difret Zeresenay Mehari (Director) Ethiopia
Nuoc 2030 Minh Nguyen-Võ (Director) Vietnam
Uzumasa Limelight Ken Ochiai (Director) Japan
Mudbloods Farzad Sangari (Director) Iran
Film Delegate Country of Birth
Mr. Pip Andrew Adamson (Director) New Zealand
Harry Gregson-Williams (Composer) England
Escape from Tomorrow Soojin Chung (Producer) South Korea
I Learn America Jean-Michel Dissard (Director) France
This is Martin Bonner Chad Hartigan (Director) Cyprus
Sake-Bomb Junya Sakino (Director) Japan
Film Delegate Country of Birth
Valley of Saints Nicholas Bruckman (Producer) England
Indian Summer (Short Film) Mridu Chandra (Director) Indian-American
Starlet Radium Cheung (Cinematographer) Hong Kong
Paraiso (Short Film) Ronan Landa (Composer) Israeli-American
Daylight Savings Goh Nakamura (Actor) Japanese-American
The Life and Times of Paul the Psychic Octopus Alexandre O. Philippe (Director) Switzerland
Film Delegate Country of Birth
The Price of Sex Mimi Chakarova (Director) Bulgarian-American
Living in Seduced Circumstances Ian Gamazon (Director) Filipino-American
Skateistan: Four Wheels and a Board in Kabul Nadia Hennirch (Screenwriter) Germany
Almost Perfect Bertha Bay-Sa Pan (Director) Taiwanese-American
My Last Day Without You Christopher Silber (Screenwriter) Germany
Film Delegate Country of Birth
Dog Sweat Hossein Keshavarz (Director) Iran
Au Revoir Taipei In-Ah Lee (Producer) Germany
Apart Together Lisa Lu (Actress) Chinese-American
Beijing Taxi Miao Wang (Director) China
Film Delegate Country of Birth
A Village Called Versailles S. Leo Chiang (Director) Taiwan
Prince of Broadway Karren Karagulian (Actor) Armenia
The People I've Slept With Quentin Lee (Director) Hong Kong
Bombay Summer Joseph Mathew-Varghese (Director) India
White on Rice Hiroshi Watanabe (Actor) Japan
Film Delegate Country of Birth
Chief (Short Film) Chief Sielu Avea (Actor) Samoa
Long Story Short Christine Choy (Director) China
Vietnam Overtures Stephane Gauger (Director) Vietnam
Prince of the Himalayas Sherwood Hu (Director) China
Someplace Else Kai-Duc Luong (Director) Cambodia
Ocean of Pearls Sarab Neelam (Director) India
Film Delegate Country of Birth
Owl and the Sparrow Stephane Gauger (Director) Vietnam
Finishing the Game Justin Lin (Director) Taiwan
The Rebel Charlie Nguyen (Director) Vietnam
The GateKeeper of Enmyoin Reiko Tahara (Director) Japan
Max Uesugi (Director) Japan

See also


  1. Lincoln Jacobe. "Louis Vuitton Hawaii International Film Festival Announces 2008 Audience Winners". Archived from the original on July 19, 2009.
  2. "Louis Vuitton Hawaii International Film Festival 2008". Archived from the original on March 7, 2009. Retrieved February 24, 2009.
  3. Robert Kay (November 16, 2016). "Hawaii International Film Festival Announces Audience Awards". Hawaii Reporter. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  4. "The Vilcek Foundation - New American Filmmakers - Hawaii International Film Festival". Vilcek.org. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
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