HIFF at Waimea Theater on Kauai, Nov 18-21

The 41st Hawai‘i International Film Festival presented by Halekulani (#HIFF41) will be heading to Kauai at the Waimea Theater from November 18-21. Highlights include new films from Okinawa (MIRACLE CITY KOZA), Japan (THE FABLE: THE KILLER WHO DOESN’T KILL), and South Korea (HOSTAGE: MISSING CELEBRITY). Another highlight is the hilarious family dreamed THE FABULOUS FILIPINO BROTHERS directed by Dante Basco, who also co-stars in the film with his brothers in a zany Pinoy American comedy about midlife crises, love, and one crazy cockfight! Hawai‘i is strongly represented with Christopher Makoto Yogi’s I WAS A SIMPLE MAN, which world premiered at Sundance), THE ISLAND IN ME from Gemma Cubero del Barrio, and two MADE IN HAWAI‘I Shorts programs that showcase the latest and best in locally-based filmmaking from some of Hawai‘i’s best filmmakers. HIFF on Kauai ends with the premiere of WATERMAN, the definitive documentary on the life and legacy of Duke Kahanamoku and narrated by Jason Momoa.

Hawai‘i International Film Festival on Kauai
Waimea Theater
9691 Kaumualii Hwy, Waimea, HI 96796 (Get Directions)
$10 Ticket | $50 HIFF All-Access-Kauai Pass ($40 savings)


November 18

7:00pm I WAS A SIMPLE MAN (USA, Hawai‘i, 2021): Masao is an aging man who lives a solitary existence on Oʻahu’s North Shore. But when he learns that he’s not long for this world, his life’s regrets begin to surface, like a slowly rising tide. As Masao becomes bed-ridden, previously distant sons and daughters trickle into his home to provide end-of-life care. Most mysteriously, Masao’s late wife, Grace, returns to haunt him, triggering flashbacks to the past Masao must learn to confront.

November 19

5:30pm THE FABLE: THE KILLER WHO DOESN’T KILL (Japan, 2021): Based on the Japanese manga series of the same name, THE FABLE: THE KILLER WHO DOESN’T KILL stars Junichi Okada as legendary assassin Akira Sata, aka The Fable. Following his boss’s order to “kill no one and live like a normal man for a year,” Akira lives a peaceful life that is interrupted when he encounters a young woman in a wheelchair and a shady NPO representative he was once assigned to kill.

8:00pm HOSTAGE: MISSING CELEBRITY (South Korea, 2021): What happens when life imitates art? Korean superstar actor Hwang Jung-min is about to find out. Jung-min has reached the pinnacle of his career, recognized as one of Korea’s top leading men. Resting on his laurels after the latest premiere, he is caught unaware when he finds himself kidnapped by a group of brutal thugs. When the thugs request an immediate ransom, Jung-min must muster up all of his acting skills to mastermind his way out of this real and present danger.

November 20


  • ALA MOANA BOYS: Blamed for a crime they did not commit, five young men in 1930s Hawai’i must consider their futures and their families as they weigh the consequences of taking action.
  • KA HO‘I-THE RETURN: An aging Hawaiian War Veteran grapples with the nightmares of his past, and the even scarier thought of being forgotten as the world around him seems to leave him in the dust. One night, he hears a familiar voice calling him from the beach, and what he encounters is beyond anything he could have imagined.
  • RIVER OF SMALL GODS: The latest film from award winner Bradley Tangonan is a modern myth set on the island of O‘ahu about a Hawaiian woman who is hired by a mysterious sculptor to take sacred stones from a riverbed.
  • I WILL BE YOUR BREATH: Kamahina learns about her great-grandmother and what she had to go through as a Hawaiian woman in the early 1900s. Her journey is shown through the depiction of the forest taking over her house. In the same time period, her great-grandmother in the forest masters the new culture forced upon her, as a means of survival.
  • LAST HAWAIIAN SUGAR: 12-year-old Nua navigates the changing world using her connection to the land as Maui’s lone remaining ‘Big Sugar’ plantation shuts down and threatens her very way of life. A byproduct of migrant workers brought together decades ago, she struggles to reveal a deep secret to her mother on the final day of the mill’s operation.

5:00pm MIRACLE CITY KOZA (Japan, Okinawa, 2021): Koza City, Okinawa, present day. Shota, the grandson of legendary rocker Haru, has been spending his days in idleness, when his grandfather is killed in a traffic accident. Shortly thereafter, Haru’s ghost appears to Shota with an otherworldly proposition: trade bodies so grandpa can take care of unfinished business! Suddenly, Shota finds himself transported to the 1970s, his spirit transmuted to the then young Haru. The problem is Shota doesn’t know how to play rock n’ roll…

7:30pm WATERMAN (USA, 2021): Surfing legend. Olympic superstar. Hawaiian Icon. American hero. Five-time Olympic medalist and Native Hawaiian Duke Paoa Kahanamoku shattered records and brought surfing to the world while overcoming a lifetime of personal challenges. Narrated by Jason Momoa, WATERMAN explores his journey and legacy as a legendary swimmer, trailblazer, and the undisputed father of modern-day surfing, following the sport’s first-time inclusion in this year’s Olympics – a fitting tribute to his work promoting the sport around the globe. Through Duke’s incredible athletic accomplishments and embodiment of the Aloha spirit, the film celebrates his triumphs and philosophy of inclusion, challenging us all to embrace diversity and incorporate Aloha into our own lives.

November 21

2:30pm THE ISLAND IN ME (USA, Hawai‘i, 2021): 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.


  • AREA 77: A young man is living his best life in a restricted forest area, together with his best friend Celia. One day they get the chance to leave the forest to return to a new, now foreign world.
  • CASHBACK: On her last night of work, a pregnant theater manager and her longtime employee discover a bag of cash under a seat and must decide what to do with it.
  • BALLISTIC: Ryan Watanabe, a local Japanese American, receives notice of a ballistic missile inbound for Hawai‘i. Ryan has twenty minutes to lead his persistent mother Michi and younger sister Jas to a safety bunker in Diamond Head, overcoming family tension and erupting cultural disparity, to survive a paradise in turmoil.
  • BROK3N: Candace is a successful attorney, engaged to her dream guy, whose life should be right on track. Despite the best efforts of her sympathetic psychiatrist, Dr. Wright, Candace begins to spiral into a familiar pattern of losing touch with reality.
  • IN THE LIGHT: A visit in the woods. Directed by Kauai-born Kailer Scopacasa.
  • TROUBLE IN PARADISE: TROUBLE IN PARADISE is a psychological thriller that follows a social media influencer and her photographer on a trip to Hawai‘i where she grows increasingly jealous of an emerging younger rival. Gradually becoming consumed it causes her to question everything, including her own reality.

7:00pm THE FABULOUS FILIPINO BROTHERS (USA, Philippines, 2021): Dante Basco (HOOK, THE DEBUT) makes his directorial debut, and he’s bringing his entire family with him. THE FABULOUS FILIPINO BROTHERS is an intergenerational comedy that is sweet, at times raunchy, and full of heart. Dante co-stars with siblings Darion, Arianna, Dionysio, and Derek. From cockfights to adultery, and finding new (and old) love in unexpected places, each of the brothers finds themselves in different situations that will ultimately challenge their beliefs on love and family, all leading up to a climactic family wedding!

Come celebrate HIFF and the power of cinema in bridging cultures, diversity and to be engaged with a myriad of stories unspooling at HIFF on Kauai–On the Big Screen! Advance tickets on sale now at HIFF41’s official website, www.hiff.org.

In accordance with the local, state, and federal guidelines, masks are required to be worn indoors in Hawai‘i, even for fully vaccinated individuals. To be allowed access to the event, we ask that you please provide proof of either, (a) confirmation that you have been fully vaccinated (two weeks since a single dose vaccine, or two weeks since the second dose of a two dose vaccine); or (b) a negative PCR test for Covid-19 (taken within 48 hours of the event). Tests will not be provided at the event. Read more about HIFF’s COVID-19 Safety Guidelines.

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