HIFF43 Awards & Juries
Presented by Halekulani
With Awards presented by: Halekulani, Hawaiian Airlines, Hawai'i News Now, Pacific Islanders in Communications, Nichols Family Film Fund, the US Department of Energy's Water Power Technologies Office, BMW Hawaii, Sight & Sound Productions
Read the HIFILM BLOG Post About All the Award Winners from HIFF43
Don Lee (aka Ma Dong-Seok) is a leading Korean actor and producer based in Seoul, South Korea. He has acted in over 80 Korean films, with over 50 of those being major action roles. He became a marquee blockbuster action star in Asia with the global success of his films TRAIN TO BUSAN (2016), THE OUTLAWS (2017), and THE GANGSTER, THE COP, THE DEVIL, the latter of which screened at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. In 2018 alone, he opened five films as the lead actor/producer, hence Korean audiences warmly refer to his films as the “Ma Cinematic Universe”. More recently, Don produced and starred in THE ROUNDUP (2022) and THE ROUNDUP: NO WAY OUT (2023), the second and third installment, respectively, following THE OUTLAWS. This franchise has officially become the first Korean film franchise to sell over 30M admission tickets, garnering massive praise for revitalizing the domestic cinema industry in South Korea.
HIFF Halekulani Maverick Award
HIFF’s Halekulani Maverick Award is given to an international cinema artist who has a unique and eclectic career trajectory, contributing to international cinema and the filmed arts in an innovative way. This maverick does things on his or her terms, creating work that can have a rabid, cult following to a mass appreciation in today’s pop culture. Like a trendsetter and tastemaker, their work may not have been appreciated early on, but has become an artistic benchmark. Past recipients include Awkwafina, Randall Park, Tadanobu Asano, and Steven Yeun.
Sakura Ando is the premier Japanese actress ofd her generation. She made her film debut in her father Eiji Okuda’s OUT OF THE WIND in 2007.In 2008, Sion Sono’s LOVE EXPOSURE made its international premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival, and she won Best Supporting Actress at the Yokohama Film Festival and Best Newcomer Actress at the Takasaki Film Festival. With Tatsushi Omori’s A CROWD OF THREE (2009), she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Asian Film Awards. In 2012, she received multiple awards including Best Leading Actress for OUR HOMELAND and Best Supporting Actress for FOR LOVE’S SAKE and THE SAMURAI THAT NIGHT at Kinema Jumpo Best Ten. In 2014, Take Masaharu’s 100 YEN LOVE was selected as Japan’s Academy Award® entry in the Best Foreign Film Category, and her performance won Ando many awards including Best Leading Actress at the Japan Academy Prize. Further notable film works includes 0.5mm (2013), ASLEEP (2015), and DESTINY: THE TALE OF KAMAKURA (2017). In 2018, she starred in her first Hirokazu Kore-eda film SHOPLIFTERS, which won the Palm d’Or at Cannes and was nominated for Best International Feature at the Academy Awards.
HIFF Halekulani Vanguard Award
HIFF’s Halekulani Vanguard Award is the Festival’s “rising star” award, honoring an innovator, who has catapulted so quickly into the cultural zeitgeist as an artist, an advocate and a role model. In this new age of streaming, where there is a need and desire to produce authentic storytelling and a drive to push for broader diversity above and below the line to properly reflect society today, the HIFF Vanguard honoree has navigated through the sea of content to rise above it all and leave an indelible mark on audiences, both young and old, around the globe. Past recipients included Lana Condor and Rachel Brosnahan.
Clifford Vivian Devon “Cliff” Curtis is a New Zealand actor who has had major roles in film and television for over three decades. As a boy he studied mau rākau, a traditional Māori form of taiaha fighting, with Māori elder Mita Mohi on Mokoia Island, which nurtured his abilities as a performer in kapa haka. Curtis later performed as a breakdancer and competitively in rock ‘n’ roll dance competitions. He received his secondary education at Edmund Rice College, Rotorua. Curtis graduated from Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School in 1989 with a Diploma in Acting. Curtis, who is ethnically Māori (his tribal affiliations are Te Arawa and Ngāti Hauiti), has portrayed a range of ethnicities, including Latin American and Arab characters in major Hollywood features. But it is his Pasifika roles in primarily Aotearoa-based and produced productions that resonate in seminal films such as THE PIANO (1993), ONCE WERE WARRIORS (1994), WHALE RIDER (2002), RIVER QUEEN (2005), THE DARK HORSE (2014) and MURU (2022). He has produced several films and documentaries, working with the late Merata Mita, producing and appearing in one of her final documentaries SAVING GRACE, TE WHAKARAUORA TANGATA (2013), and Taika Waititi, producing his earlier works like EAGLE VS SHARK (2007) and BOY (2010). Curtis is co-owner of independent film production company Whenua Films.
HIFF Leanne K. Ferrer Pasifika Trailblazer Award
Presented by Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC), the HIFF Leanne K. Ferrer Trailblazer Award is given to a cinema artist of Pacific Islander heritage who broadens the scope of Pacific Islander stories onto the world stage, producing award winning work in independent and global cinema. This honoree is a true trailblazer, whose work aligns with PIC’s mission, which is to support, advance, and develop Pacific Island media content and talent that results in a deeper understanding of Pacific Island history, culture, and contemporary challenges. Past recipients include Taika Waititi, Heperi Mita on behalf of Merata Mita, Keala Settle and Kerry Warkia.
Made In Hawai‘i Film Awards
Presented by FilmHawaii with cash prizes made possible by the Nichols Family Film Fund
Select fiction, non-fiction features and short films that are made by locally-based filmmakers or involve locally-based stories are eligible for one of two Best Made in Hawai‘i film awards with cash prizes totaling $10,000.
HIFF43 Nominated Made-in-Hawai‘i Competition Films Include:
HŌKŪLEʻA: FINDING THE LANGUAGE OF THE NAVIGATOR | HOMETOWN LEGENDS | MY PARTNER | REMOVED BY FORCE: THE EVICTION OF HAWAIʻI’S JAPANESE AMERICANS DURING WWII | UNCLE BULLY’S SURF SKOOL | AIKĀNE | AMEFIL | HOMESTEAD | HOʻOULU HOU | KA ʻĀʻUMEʻUME: NAVIGATING HOME | KALA | SEEING WITH HAWAIIAN EYES | SPIDER | SUNSET ON 44
HIFF Best Short Film Award
Short films help establish tone, style and a filmmaker’s creative vision to form the foundation of a budding career. These works can also be proof of concepts or progenitors to a feature film, but they must stand alone as their own succinct and unique work. It is always a welcome challenge by the HIFF team to sift through thousands of entries each year to curate these popular Shorts programs.
HIFF is one of a select few Academy Awards®-qualifying Festivals. The winning films in the HIFF Best Short Film and HIFF Best Made in Hawai‘i Short Film categories are eligible to qualify for the Oscars, provided that the films meet all the requirements set forth at www.oscars.org/rules.
HIFF43 Nominated Short Competition Films Include:
AIKĀNE | CONFESSIONS | THE ROOF | WE WERE MEANT TO | EID MUBARAK | MÅNGATA | CLOSING DYNASTY | A ROADSIDE BANQUET | RED, WHITE AND BLUE | YOUNG PEOPLE, OLD PEOPLE AND NOTHING IN BETWEEN | TO THE LIGHTS | NA SAVI | THE OLD YOUNG CROW | EL SOÑADOR (THE DREAMER) | KANAK | MAUNGA CASSINO | PASIFIKA DRIFT | HAFEKASI | TAUMANU | TO BE SILENT | TAKE ME HOME | STRANGE | BURNING OF THE GODS | IVAN
THE WINNER IS:
HIFF Deep Blue Environmental Short Award
Presented by the US Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office
HIFF has a longstanding commitment to showcase film and conversation that shine a light on the climate crisis, and the innovative ways populations are making our world more sustainable. HIFF is honored to partner with the US Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office to present a Deep Blue Environmental Short award. A $5,000 cash prize is awarded to the best short film that covers ocean-or water-based environmental topics and/or a Powering the Blue Economy™ theme, which involves the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystems.
HIFF43 Nominated Environmental Short Competition Films Include:
BURNING OF THE GODS | CAIÇARA | SPEAR, SPATULA, SUBMARINE: FLORIDIANS FIGHT TO TAKE BACK THEIR WATERS | OUR CHILDREN’S RIVER | A REFLECTION OF LIFE: VOICES OF OUR YOUTH | WILD CONNECTION | IVAN | GEN Z MENTAL HEALTH: CLIMATE STORIES | PRESERVING OUR PLACE | RISING NATIONS
HIFF Pasifika Award
HIFF in partnership with Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC) presents a Pasifika Award for Best Feature Film celebrating the authentic and high quality narrative and documentary features across the Pacific region. This competition jury, comprised of film professionals of Pacific Islander descent, selects the best of films by and about Pacific Islanders. The winning film receives a cash prize of $5,000.
THE WINNER IS:
NO MĀORI ALLOWED
HIFF Kau Ka Hōkū Award
The prestigious HIFF KAU KA HŌKŪ (Shooting Star) Award presented by Hawaiian Airlines is the Festivals international award presented to the best emerging filmmaker (first or second feature film) at the Festival. Both fiction and non-fiction feature films are nominated and adjudicated by an esteemed international jury.
THE WINNER IS:
HIFF NETPAC Award
The Network for the Promotion of Asian-Pacific Cinema (NETPAC) is an international organization dedicated to promoting Asian and Pacific film throughout the world. The NETPAC award is given at select international Festivals including Berlin, Cannes, Toronto, Venice, Rotterdam, Busan, Singapore, Taiwan, Yamagata, Amiens and Hawaii – to promote Asian and Pacific cinema by spotlighting exceptional talent. HIFF is the only Film Festival in the USA given permission to present the NETPAC award.
HIFF43 Nominated NETPAC Competition Films Include:
THE CORD OF LIFE | A GIRL OUT OF THE COUNTRY | MY HEAVENLY CITY | ORPA | IF ONLY I COULD HIBERNATE | INSIDE THE YELLOW COCOON SHELL | WHICH COLOUR? | YOU & ME & ME
THE WINNER IS:
IF ONLY I COULD HIBERNATE
HIFF BMW HAWAII DRIVEN STUDENT FILMMAKER AWARD
HIFF and BMW HAWAII are thrilled to announce a new award dedicated to celebrating and supporting a local university student filmmaker. At the 43rd Hawai’i International Film Festival presented by Halekulani, HIFF’s jury will select the ‘best short film’ from the HIFF University Shorts Program to be presented with the HIFFx BMW of HAWAI’I DRIVEN Student Filmmaker Award and cash prize meant to fund film scholarship, courtesy of BMW of Honolulu.
NOMINATED FILMS: All films included in the HIFF University Showcase are nominated for the HIFFxBMW DRIVEN STUDENT FILMMAKER AWARD
THE WINNER IS:
KUNYARI, Directed by Justin Gerald Ocampo
HIFF Audience Choice Award
Your Vote Counts! Vote for your favorite Feature, Documentary, Short and Student films playing at HIFF43! Voting is accessible to all audiences via QR codes at screenings. Winning films are announced in a special Hawaii News Now broadcast following the completion of the full HIFF43 Festival.
NOMINATED FILMS: ALL HIFF43 Films, features and shorts, are eligible for HIFFxHawaii News Now Audience Choice Award!