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HoMA partners with Sundance Film Festival 2021 to present free virtual programs to support Hawai‘i films

HIFF is honored to support the Honolulu Museum of Art (HoMA), the official #SatelliteScreen partner for the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. This year, we celebrate a major milestone for Hawaiʻi cinema: for the first time, two Hawaiʻi films have been selected for the Festival—THIS IS THE WAY WE RISE directed  Ciara Lacy, which world premiered at HIFF 2019’s MAUNA KEA: THROUGH THE KIA’I LENS program; and I WAS A SIMPLE MAN from AUGUST AT AKIKO’S director Christopher Makoto Yogi.
A major milestone for Hawai‘i-based filmmaking, I WAS A SIMPLE MAN is only the first feature film from a kama‘aina filmmaker to world premiere in official competition at Sundance. THIS IS THE WAY WE RISE is the first film by a female and Native Hawaiian filmmaker to be included in the official Sundance program. Both Christopher Yogi and Ciara Lacy are HIFF alumni filmmakers with Lacy’s OUT OF STATE winning the HIFF37 Made in Hawai‘i Grand Prize and Yogi’s AUGUST AT AKIKO’S in KAU KA HŌKŪ Award competition.
I WAS A SIMPLE MAN
Directed by Christopher Makoto Yogi. 2021. Hawai‘i. 100 min.

The rushing wind on the North Shore of O‘ahu, Hawai‘i, never stops. It constantly rustles the leaves outside Masao’s house, providing a balmy sonic backdrop. Nature is both a driving force and a spiritual indicator in I Was a Simple Man, the second feature from writer-director Christopher Makoto Yogi. When Masao is healthy, his plants thrive; when a terminal sickness encroaches, the plants wither and die. The island’s ambient noises—the waves, the wind, the birds—thread through the film’s time-shifting chapters, from the pre-World War II sugar plantations of O‘ahu to Hawai‘i statehood to the present gentrification of Honolulu.
As Masao gets sicker, he is visited by ghosts of his past, including his wife, Grace (Constance Wu), who helps shepherd him into the beyond. Part dream, part family history, I Was a Simple Man feels both achingly intimate and incredibly expansive. The director’s restrained filmmaking grounds the film in Hawai‘i’s pastoral landscape, while match cuts and surrealistic editing alter time and space, connecting and disrupting past and present and one family’s relationship to their patriarch—and the place they call home.
THIS IS THE WAY WE RISE
Directed by Ciara Lacy. 2020. Hawai‘i. 12 min.

An exploration into the creative process, following native Hawaiian slam poet Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio as her art is reinvigorated by her calling to protect sacred sites atop Mauna Kea, Hawai‘i.
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HoMA will present five virtual programs that provide context for how Hawaiʻi Cinema has evolved and how it will evolve going forward—in collaboration with local artists and community partners. Our goal is to present some visual and cultural context for film and media in Hawaiʻi and to amplify conversations happening in our community.
Here is list and schedule for the HoMA hosted virtual programs that will spark discussion on the past, present and future of Hawai‘i filmmaking:
Cinema, Poetry, and Healing in Land Based Activism
Available Jan 28-Feb 3, 2021
The Foundations of Hawaiʻi Cinema
Available Jan 28-Feb 3, 2021
Native Hawaiian Cinema in 2021 and Beyond
Available Jan 28-Feb 3, 2021
Black Visuality and Solidarity in Oceania
Saturday, January 30 at 1pm HST
A Virtual Grounding with I WAS A SIMPLE MAN
Tuesday, February 2 at 1pm HST
Learn more about HoMA’s free virtual programs over at the Sundance Village website.
The Sundance Film Festival 2021 will take place digitally via a Sundance-built online platform from January 28-February 3, 2021. Additionally, Festival attendees can gather in virtual waiting rooms, participate in live Q&As, and congregate in new, inspired online environments to interact in a range of ways both new and familiar.


Please note: All of the above programming will be hosted by Sundance Film Festival and Honolulu Museum of Art. Any issues regarding registering to watch, technical issues or other questions should be directed to https://festival.sundance.org/help

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