Education Coordinator Jen May Pastores’ Top 10 Films to watch with a HIFF40 10-Pack

By HIFF News | November 21, 2020

We are sharing HIFF staffers TOP 10 FILMS TO WATCH. With varying personal tastes, these lists are great jumping-off points for audiences who want to dive in and purchase our newly announced HIFF40 10-PACK, a discounted ticket package of 10-online vouchers for only $40! Get 10 movies for yourself or others to share. Think of this as our Black Friday sale, but we’re pushing it up one week early and extending it for the final week of HIFF40!

In this blog post, Jen May Pastores, HIFF’s Education and Program Coordinator, give us her HIFF40 Top 10. With her oversight of HIFF’s student film initiatives, surely she will definitely recommend some works by future filmmakers to watch:

SOUND OF METAL
As a punk-metal drummer myself, this is a film I know I’ll return to when it shows again during the festival. The auditory experience is innovative and immersive as you follow Riz Ahmed who plays a drummer who loses his hearing and perhaps his sense of identity along with it. This is one not to miss.

LUNANA: A YAK IN THE CLASSROOM
This film transports you to a small village in Lunana as you follow the trek of a young teacher who is reluctant to teach in the world’s most remote school in northern Bhutan. This touching tale features real local villagers and children who offer a life lesson to all viewers. Additionally, I’m glad we were able to include this in our Youth Education Screening program at HIFF for students to enjoy. Make sure to watch the FILM FOR THOUGHT discussion with director Pawo Chonying Dorji, interviewed by Simon Tajiri musician, filmmaker, and teacher of Hawaiian culture and language at Lānaʻi High and Elementary School.

STRAY
Explore a stray dog epidemic through a trio of dogs who roam Turkish society. The low camera point-of-view artfully invites viewers to observe their canine culture and the humans that cross paths with them on the streets of Istanbul.

DEATH OF NINTENDO
This vibrant Filipino coming-of-age story is set in a 90s pop-culture world with a group of four friends who are navigating a maze of first crushes, ghost hunts, and a unique rite of passage into manhood. Like your favorite video game you’ll want to press play again.

THE PAPER TIGERS
Fans of Kung Fu cinema will love this charming indie comedy with impressive choreographed fight scenes and a story of three middle-aged friends reuniting years later to avenge their sifu while coming to terms with their grown-up realities. This debut feature film directed by Bao Tran is fun and heartwarming from start to end.

HAWAIIAN SOUL – Plays in Made in Hawai‘i Shorts & Pacific Showcase Shorts
The story of Hawaiian activist and musician George Helm comes to life in this beautiful biopic that uses music to present the message of aloha aina and protecting Kaho’olawe.

MAGIC KINGDOM – Plays in A Better Life Shorts program
This narrative short follows a single father who brings his son to California from Hong Kong under the pretense of visiting Disneyland, but the real intention of the trip is not what a small child would dream about. Will life be better in America?

ALONE TOGETHER – Plays in Student Showcase
Two middle schools on different islands in Hawai’i collaborate on this student short film made during the lockdown in the final quarter of the school year when the COVID-19 crisis was declared a pandemic. Most shot and edited with students at home.

WITH LOVE – Plays in Daniel K Inouye Future Filmmakers Showcase
17-year-old Devan Fujinaka is a filmmaker to watch. His submission to the DKII Future Filmmakers won 1st place for his creative take. His director statement reads, “When I first heard of the HIFF DKII Student Film Initiative prompt for 2020, I knew how easy it would be to take a conventional, political approach to writing it. However, I wanted to focus on something deeper than political parties or beliefs: humanity. I wanted to create a multi-layered character that was uniquely relatable to the president, even when they’re on opposite sides of society. Exploring that irony and the human nature of both of them was very impactful to me, and I hope it impacts others watching in the same way. Inspirations: FOLLOWING (1998), C’EST LA VIE (2016), BICYCLE THIEVES (1948), GOOD TIME (2017).”

STUDENT SHOWCASE and the DKII FUTURE FILMMAKERS SHOWCASE
HIFF is proud to feature 35 student films from Hawai‘i’s youth, some as young as 11-years-old, giving viewers a good glance into the world of Gen Z. All these films are free to watch, so be sure not to miss this corner of the festival.