HIFF offers free educational screenings for youths by presenting outstanding films rarely available in Hawai’i, and providing schools and local communities a resource for unique filmmaking and storytelling. This program is available to Hawai’i classes, grades 6-12. Teachers may sign their classes up for more than one screening and we encourage teachers to incorporate the film(s) into their class curriculum. Whenever possible, HIFF invites the film’s director to participate in a post-screening discussion with students. 
Below are films we screened during HIFF42. Check back later in the fall to sign-up for HIFF43’s films.


THE STORY OF EVERYTHING, a theater performance written and conceived by Hawai’i Poet Laureate Kealoha, and now a film produced and directed by Engaging the Senses Foundation, illuminates the intersection between science, the environment, the arts, and mindfulness. The film explores humanity’s rich and diverse explanations for the origins of life, and presents powerful solutions for the continued health of the planet and all beings on it. THE STORY OF EVERYTHING incorporates poetry, dance, music, art and special effects to condense 13.7 billion years into an hour and 45 minutes that asks and answers two questions challenging humans from the very beginning: “Where do we come from?” And even more important: “Where can we go next?”


Ainbo was born and grew up in the deepest jungle of the Amazon. One day she discovers that her homeland is being threatened. With the help of her spirit guides “Dillo” a cute and humorous armadillo and “Vaca” a heavy-set tapir, Ainbo embarks on a journey to save her homeland. As she fights to save her paradise from the greed and exploitation by illegal miners, she struggles to reverse this destruction and the impending evil of the “Yacaruna”, the darkness that lives in the Amazon. Guided by her mother’s spirit, Ainbo is determined to save her land before it’s too late.


For Sarya (17), a Kurdish refugee girl in Japan, life seems to be looking up; her grades at school are enough to pursue college, she’s surrounded by good friends and her relationship with Sota is becoming special. However, Sarya’s life turns upside down when she learns that her family’s refugee status has been rejected, restricting her family of work and travel across the city. Her father, who had continued to work to sustain a living, is taken into custody for illegal employment. Sarya suddenly finds herself in a dire situation where she is responsible not only for her younger siblings but for her very existence.


The documentary revolves around the story of Sheldon Paishon, a talented surfer who was born and raised on the rugged shores of O’ahu’s Westside. Far from an idyllic Hawaiian paradise, the community has been ravaged by drugs, poverty and the long reverberations of colonialism. At the age of 12, Sheldon’s parents lost their house and the family was homeless, living out of a tent for the remainder of Sheldon’s adolescence. With a deep drive to overcome all odds and live out his dream of professional surfing, Sheldon battles through the harsh realities of being homeless. Eventually he is taken under the wing of popular pro surfer Mason Ho, who recognized his immense talent and helps guide him through a world he’s seen very little of. Can Sheldon capitalize on the opportunities afforded him and become a pro surfer or will the relentless pull of poverty be too much to overcome? This film aims to inspire and ignite a deeper conversation about the realities of homelessness, the struggle of poverty in Hawai’i and the importance of self-belief and will power. 


BLURRING THE COLOR LINE follows director Crystal Kwok as she unpacks the history behind her grandmother’s family, who were neighborhood grocery store owners in the Black community of Augusta, Georgia during the Jim Crow era. The film weaves personal family stories with memories from the larger Chinese and Black communities, opening up uncomfortable but necessary conversations around anti-Black racism and the deeply rooted structure of white power and Chinese patriarchy that contributed to this sentiment. 

The stories they discuss and choose to remember offer a nuanced look into how two seemingly different communities shared a connective history that illuminates the roots of America’s problematic racial history. This film opens critical conversations on where the Chinese community fit into the black and white dichotomy of the segregated south; how anti-blackness was established and perpetuated; and how marginal groups were pitted against each other in the hierarchical structure of white supremacy.

Scroll to Top