youth education screenings

A Free Program for Primary and Secondary Schools Across Hawai'i

The Hawai’i International Film Festival’s YES program offers presentations of premiere films to schools, providing a resource of filmmaking and storytelling to the local community. This program is FREE and open to primary and secondary schools across Hawai’i. In-person screenings will be presented at select movie theaters on O’ahu, the Big Island, Maui, and Lana’i. We encourage teachers to integrate the films into their curriculum (HIFF provides classroom discussion questions that may be used).

in-theater YES sign-up

To sign your class up for an in-theater screening, please register by Friday, October 6 (deadline extended) and Monday, October 16 for neighbor island screenings.  Sign-ups are on a first come, first serve basis. Once we reach theater capacity on this sign-up form, a wait list will be started. 


To sign-up your class for an in-theater screening, please sign-up by Thursday, October 19, 2023. The screening period will be between October 23 to November 6, 2023. You may sign your class up for more than one film. 

O'ahu YES Schedule @ consolidated theatres kahala

Monday, October 16, 10 am to 11:45 am (Q&A included)

Tuesday, October 17, 10 am to 12 pm (Q&A included)

Wednesday, October 18, 9 am – 10:45 am (new time)

YES schedule may be subject to change. 


Friday, October 27, 10 am to 12:00 pm (Q&A included)
Maui Arts and Cultural Center | Maui

Wednesday, November 1, 10 am to 12 pm (Q&A included)
Hale Keaka Theater | Lana’i

Friday, November 3, 10 am to 12 pm 
The Palace Theater | Hilo, Big Island

Friday, November 3, 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm (Q&A included)
The Palace Theater | Hilo, Big Island


HIFF43 yes films


Directed by: Zoljargal Purevdash 
Mongolia, France, Switzerland, Qatar | Mongolian with English Subtitles | 98 minutes
Themes: Drama, Environmental, Poverty
Program Notes: Recommended for 9th – 12th graders, parental guidance suggested, includes coarse language

A poor but prideful teenager, Ulzii, lives in the yurt area of Ulaanbaatar with his family. He is a physics genius and is determined to win a science competition to earn a scholarship. When his mother finds a job in the countryside, she leaves him and his younger siblings to face a harsh winter by themselves. Ulzii will have to take a risky job to look after them all and keep his home heated.


Directed by: Rebecca Davis, Pete Davis
United States | English | 103 minutes
Themes: Documentary, Civics, Politics, Social Studies
Program Notes: Recommended for 9th – 12th graders

JOIN OR DIE is a film about why you should join a club — and why the fate of America may depend on it. In this feature documentary, follow the half-century story of America’s civic unraveling through the journey of legendary social scientist Robert Putnam, whose groundbreaking “Bowling Alone” research into America’s decades-long decline in community connections could hold the answers to our democracy’s present crisis. Flanked by influential fans and scholars — from Hillary Clinton, Pete Buttigieg, and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy to Eddie Glaude Jr., Raj Chetty, and Priya Parker — as well as inspiring groups building community in neighborhoods across the country, join Bob as he explores three urgent civic questions: What makes democracy work? Why is American democracy in crisis? And, most importantly…What can we do about it?


Directed by: PJ Raval
United States | English, Tagalog | 72 minutes
Themes: Documentary, Human and Civil Rights, LGBTQIA+, Asian American, FilAm, Pandemic
Program Notes: Recommended for 9th – 12th graders

As the world grapples with an emerging global pandemic, three young Filipino women forge unexpected connections with their families and discover themselves in the process. A self-documented time capsule during turbulent times, WHO WE BECOME captures the unbreakable bond between Filipino family and community.

keeper of the bay

Directed by: Ashley Lofaso
United States | English | 64 min
Themes: Documentary, Environmental, Activism, Green Screen, Made in Hawai’i
Program Notes: Recommended for 6th – 12th graders 

A documentary film about marine conservation through the eyes of a Native Hawaiian woman as she struggles to continue a family baykeeping legacy.


Directed by: Imran J. Khan
United States | English, Urdu with English subtitles | 83 minutes
Themes: Comedy, Family, Drama, Coming-of-Age
Program Notes: Recommended for 6th – 12th graders

It’s the mid-90’s in Northern California and 13-year-old Pakistani-American Ilyas is facing a major crisis — his parents yanked him out of his comfortable Islamic private school and now he has to face life at public school. Ilyas’ fears about joining public school are made worse by insecurities due to his inescapable, prepubescent MUSTACHE. Ilyas hatches a hilarious plan to return to his old school — but he must also learn to accept himself.


Directed by: Keli’i Grace
United States | English, Tagalog and ‘Ōlelo Hawai’i with English Subtitles | 98 minutes
Themes: Drama, LGBTQIA+, Cross-Cultural, Boy Love
Program Notes: Recommended for 9th – 12th graders, parental guidance suggested, includes coarse language

Keli’i Grace (Director, ALA MOANA BOYS) returns to the HIFF with a touching tale of High School crushes, cultural preservation and more. MY PARTNER, Grace’s Feature Directorial Debut, follows two high school boys from different social worlds who experience romantic feelings for each other. The film features powerful performances from Kaipo Dudoit and Jayron Munoz as the two local boys from Hawai’i (Kanaka Maoli and Filipino).


Directed by: Leah Warshawski
United States | English | 40 minutes
Themes: Documentary Short, Surfing/Sports, Community
Program Notes: Recommended for 6th – 12th graders

When a global pandemic decimates the tourism industry across the Hawaiian Islands it means no travel, no tourists, and no surf lessons. Surf instructor Bull Kotter (or ”Bully” as he”s lovingly called) suddenly finds his small business pushed to the brink. So he turns to his community-Lahaina-not for help or a handout, but to give back. From surf culture, to ocean respect, to kindness, Uncle Bully is translating etiquette in the line-up into etiquette in life. This is a film about the power of one person to shape a more hopeful future for the next generation.The description above encapsulates this man and his community, coming back from the brink of economic collapse after a global pandemic, to pivot into something deeper and nurturing. Then, the Maui wildfires in August happened. With a community decimated, UNCLE BULLY’S SURF SKOOL is not a visual document of a former Lahaina, now a memory. After a few days, the filmmaking team regrouped and immediately hit the ground to add a coda to this film, documenting a Lahaina in the aftermath and the recovery and resilience that has only begun on the very long road to rebuilding a town, a community, and its people.