The 41NS The Hawai’i International Film Festival (HIFF41) presented by Halekūlani returns in a big way this fall. HIFF41 is planned for November 4th to 28th nationwide and will be a hybrid event of face-to-face and virtual demonstrations, panels and workshops. The festival is primarily held on Oahu, but will also have in-theater performances on the Island of Hawaii, Maui, and Kauaʻi from November 18-21. In total, HIFF41 presents around 200 films from 41 countries with a special focus on Kanaka Maoli, Pacifika and indigenous films and filmmakers; a new section on climate change and sustainability called Green Screen; a return to the virtual Oahu festival venue; and a new media exploration via XR / AR and an extension of the expanding world of streaming with a sidebar of new TV series from around the world.
HIFF41’s commitment to showcasing local and Hawaiian themes in theaters is evident in the films that will occupy the coveted opening and centerpiece gala slots. The festival kicks off with the world premiere of Isaac Halasimas “Waterman”, a new documentary about the life, legacy and global impact of the Olympic and Hawaiian icon Duke Kahanamoku, narrated by Jason Momoa. The centerpiece is Christopher Makoto Yogi’s North Shore set “I Was a Simple Man”, which celebrated its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. At the closing night, HIFF41 will present the latest from “Belle” by Japanese anime writer Mamoru Hosoda, which had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.
Presented by HEI, the festival’s green screen section showcases the latest films documenting the many challenges humanity faces from climate change, from around the world to our backyard. “Hide Tide Don’t Hide” is about five New Zealand teenagers who turn to social media to join the global movement to end the climate crisis; Refashioned focuses on Three passionate Hong Kongers are striving to revolutionize the textile and recycling industry by creating sustainable solutions to change mindsets and enable the transition to a circular economy before the landfill overflows.
Kanaka Maoli films and filmmakers are prominently featured this year with several films celebrating their world premieres. “Ala Moana Boys” records the consequences of the infamous Massie trial; “Ka Ho’i” is a drama about an aging Hawaiian war veteran who grapples with the nightmares of his past. “The Island in Me” follows two women from Oahu who are returning to their remote atoll Pukapuka in the Cook Islands.
Several films from Cannes, Sundance and Toronto as well as in the context of the award campaign will also be shown on HIFF41: Sean Baker’s “Red Rocket”, Pedro Amoldovar’s “Parallel Mothers” with Penelope Cruz; Lin-Manuel Miranda’s directorial debut “Tick, Tick… Boom!” And Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog” starring Benedict Cumberbatch will be shown. Special guests who will be in attendance include “Shang Chi” director (and Maui born) Destin Daniel Cretton, star Simu Liu, “Reservation Dogs” co-creator Sterlin Harjo and Hawai’i’s own “Ed Wood” Albert Pyun. They will be honored and run master classes with film fans in attendance, both in person and virtually.
The festival’s mandate is to ensure optimal security for the audience, which includes adhering to strict attendance protocols with a 50% cap on all theater performances and proof of vaccination for admission. In addition, the success of virtual screenings continues last year with an even bigger virtual festival of over 150 films for audiences to view at home on their smart TV, computer, phone and tablet, with much of these programs being available nationwide , will give audiences better access to enjoy and consume new films from around the world in what Entertainment Weekly calls “one of the 10 best film festivals in the world”.
The full program, the schedule for demonstrations and events, and how to purchase tickets and passes can be found at HIFF.ORG.