The HIFF ONLINE CREATIVES & CRITICS IMMERSIVE (HOCCI) program supports sustainable film criticism in Hawai‘i through mentorship and paid career opportunities. The mission of HOCCI is to broaden diversity in film criticism across the Pacific region and use influencer branding strategies to spark career opportunities in Hawai’i, not be hampered by oceans, state borders and distance, because geography is no longer a barrier. 

The 2023 HOCCI supports 4 Hawaii-based AAPI critics to be a HIFF43 press cohort to cover films, themes, and filmmakers at the 43rd Annual Hawai’i International Film Festival presented by Halekulani. 


Specialized programming at HIFF focused on supporting the communities of Maui and Lahaina/West Maui, the region that was most affected by the recent wildfire tragedy, as HIFF supports Pasifika artists focused on creative outlets for expression, healing, and sustainable and equitable futures. See UNCLE BULLY’S SURF SKOOL as a good starting point to explore the resilience of the West Maui community. 

The Future of Hawaiian Cinema

Focused on films and the creative industry behind the Kānaka Maoli New Wave, happening now with a groundswell of authentic stories being produced by emerging Kānaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) filmmakers. Pieces will explore the current state of Native cinema in Hawai‘i and where we go from here.  These themes are explored in two HIFILM Panels–Hometown Heroes: Current Projects In Development and The Rise of Hawai‘i Cinema are particular highlights–as well as in the Made in Hawai‘i section. 

Climate Gentrification

With capitalist interests, revitalization projects are being created and forced to displace long standing BIPOC communities due to the effects of climate change. This is happening first hand in Hawai‘i and other Pacific Islands, with Pasifika communities in the same boat. Pieces will consider HIFF43 Green Screen films, especially Native Reckoning: The Fight Against Climate Gentrification HIFILM Panel, and the similarities happening to communities on a global scale.

The 2023 HIFF ONLINE CREATIVES & CRITICS IMMERSIVE is supported by Critical Minded, a grantmaking and learning initiative that supports cultural critics of color in the United States.


David Chen is the host and producer of podcasts such as The Filmcast, The Tobolowsky Files, and A Cast of Kings. Episodes of his shows are downloaded over 100,000 times each week. Previously, David has worked as a marketer at Amazon and Microsoft and as a Research Associate at Harvard Business School. 

David is also a video essayist and filmmaker. His video work has been featured or mentioned in online publications such as Rolling Stone, Buzzfeed, Slate, Vulture, Indiewire, Laughing Squid, Bustle, Cosmopolitan, Metro.co.uk, Vimeo Staff Picks, Allocine, and Digg. In 2014, he directed a film, The Primary Instinct. In 2015, he released a looping cello EP. David currently lives in Seattle, WA. 

Patrick Willems is a filmmaker and video essayist based in New York. Patrick rose to prominence following the viral success of his short film “What if Wes Anderson Directed X-Men.” Since then, his channel has grown to focus on film commentary and analysis in videos that blend non-fiction essays with cinematic narrative storytelling. In 2022 he released his first feature film, NIGHT OF THE COCONUT.

Taylor Ramos & Tony Zhou are a Vancouver-based filmmaking duo. She draws, he edits, and they write and direct together. They are the co-creators of the YouTube video essay series Every Frame a Painting and served as writer/director/producers on the David Fincher-produced Netflix series VOIR. Their collaborative work has also been featured on FilmStruck and the Criterion Collection.

Taylor has worked as a 2D animator for television for almost a decade. Her credits include Hilda, The Last Kids on Earth, Dogs in Space, Pinecone and Pony, and The Legend of the Three Caballeros.

Tony has worked as an editor in features, commercials and animation since 2007. His credits include The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The Friendship Game, Dragons: Rescue Riders and the upcoming series Megamind’s Guide to Defending Your City.

Kirsten Stevens & Duncan Caillard are Melbourne-based researchers and film programmers. Kirsten’s research on film festivals and the Australian film industry includes a forthcoming book exploring the impact of streaming services on national feature film industries. Duncan’s research focuses on contemporary Asian-Pacific screen culture, and he is the current Vice-President of the digital film journal Senses of Cinema.


Applications are Now Closed

DEADLINE TO APPLY: Wednesday, October 12, 2022
NOTIFICATION: by October 19, 2022


  • Candidates should be 18+ 

  • Either currently enrolled in college/university, OR you consider yourself early career

  • Can demonstrate a strong interest/background in film/internet media

  • Must be in Hawai'i and able to participate in-person activities during November 3-13, 2022

  • Willing to participate in quarterly meetings with cohort throughout 2023 (via Zoom)