THE ISLAND IN ME is a documentary feature that takes the viewer to the Polynesian atoll of Pukapuka, a unique place never before captured in film. With only four hundred inhabitants and ten meters above sea level, the atoll has stories to tell.

The film follows two women who grew up here and return home after decades away to find the atoll, and themselves, forever changed. Amelia Hokulea Borofsky, the daughter of anthropologist Robert Borofsky who lived in Pukapuka in the mid 1970’s and Johnny Frisbie, a Cook Island legend in her own right. Her book Miss Ulysses of Puka-Puka written at age fifteen, was the first published literary work by a Pacific Islander author. Filmmaker Gemma Cubero del Barrio also weaves in her own intimate story. THE ISLAND IN ME is a deeply moving, poetic, and reflective film on memory, loss, and the universal search for wholeness.

This film is presented as part of the Film For Thought program in partnership with the Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities. As a part of this program, HIFF will be presenting a LIVE virtual discussion during the Festival with director Gemma Cubero del Barrio, and a companion essay written by a local scholar will be available to read online. Stay tuned to the HIFF TALKS page for details.




Showtime Dates: November 9, 2021
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: Consolidated Theatres Kahala
Passholder Access: All Access, Supporter
Showtime Dates: November 21, 2021
Time: 2:30 pm
Location: Waimea Theater

Online Access

Access Window: November 10, 2021 - November 28, 2021
Passholder Access: All Access, Limited Virtual, Supporter, Hale Virtual Festival, Individual
Only Accessible from: USA

Live Stream

Film Details

DIRECTOR(S)Gemma Cubero del Barrio
PRODUCER(S)Gemma Cubero del Barrio
SCREENWRITER(S)Gemma Cubero del Barrio
CASTAmelia Borofsky, Johnny Frisbie
CINEMATOGRAPHERGemma Cubero del Barrio, Gabrielle Fa‘aiuaso, Kolee Tinga

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Film Details

YEAR: 2021
RUN TIME: 100 Minutes
LANGUAGE: English, Pukapukan, Rarotongan, with English subtitles


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