Please enjoy these great conversations that we had with our esteemed filmmakers, honorees and panelists during HIFF40
PANELS AND HIFF TALKS
BE WATER: BRUCE LEE 80TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION & PANEL
A panel with director Bao Nguyen, Bruce Lee’s daughter Shannon Lee, culture writer Phil Yu (Angry Asian Man), celebrity chef and ‘Ugly Delicious’ host Dave Chang, and some surprise guests. They will chat about the film and the legacy of the Asian American icon, who almost five decades later, is still as popular than ever and inspiring a new generation.
HIFF TALKS: NEW PERSPECTIVES IN CONTEMPORARY CINEMA
The New American Perspectives program at HIFF shines a spotlight on the contributions of foreign-born filmmakers to contemporary cinema in the United States. As part of the New American Perspectives program at #HIFF40, the Vilcek Foundation and HIFF present a panel discussion with featured filmmakers: Valerie Castillo-Martinez, Yi Chen, Roseanne Liang, Bassam Tariq, and Hao Wu.
THE RISE OF THE SCRIPTED PODCAST
As a safe mode for content creation during a pandemic, the opportunities abound to diversify the podcast space for unique, innovative and diverse stories. Moderated by YOMYOMF creative director Philip W. Chung (a digital content studio founded by Justin Lin), he chats with the likes of Matt Schrader, the creator of BLOCKBUSTER podcast, the first “biopod” of its kind, Holly Hines of Spotify Studios and Josh Lindgren at CAA.
STARCAST WITH VIBRATION GROUP
Join the VIBRATION GROUP for an astral voyage with meditation, music, dance, and a rare visit to the intergalactic library of knowledge. By beaming onto their ship, you’ll help spread their message of healing and resiliency in hopes that it will reverberate across their beloved home planet Earth. This performance is part of the VIBRATION GROUP experimental opera.
POLYNESIAN VOYAGING SOCIETY: VISIONS OF HŌKŪLE‘A
PVS presents this online discussion with visionary and courageous leaders of the 1970s Hawaiian rights movement and the young leaders who will propel us to a new renaissance.
Cast and crew:
Dr. Emmet Aluli, Pomai Bertelmann, Bruce Blankenfeld, Denise Espania, Larry Kimura, Kaiʻulani Murphy, Walter Ritte, Nainoa Thompson, Governor John Waihee. Moderated by Elisa Yadao.
THE WAY FORWARD: PANEL #1–BLACK LIVES MATTER, POC LIVES MATTER: BLACK-LED SOCIAL MOVEMENTS
We look at how films about Black-led social movements impacted the narrative of race and equality in America. Featuring Stanley Nelson, a trailblazing documentary filmmaker, Firelight Media co-founder and MacArthur “genius” Fellow, panelists discuss themes of cultural resistance, collective action and the power of nonfiction media. We also delve into the reverberations of his work and The Black Panthers inspiring the next generation of filmmakers and activists.
THE WAY FORWARD: PANEL #2–MIXED PLATE: HAPA AND MULTIETHNIC REPRESENTATION IN FILM
Hawai‘i is touted as a mixed plate of cultures, boasting the highest number of people identifying as “mixed race.” What is the liminal space hapa and multiethnic filmmakers occupy for multiracial characters and stories? How are those identities represented and what is their place in the larger discussion of diversity in media?
Panelists: Ursula Liang, Susan Soon He Stanton, Alika Maikau
THE WAY FORWARD: PANEL #3–CROSS-CULTURAL CONVERSATION: BLACK, LATINX & POLYNESIAN CAREGIVING
In Hawaii, Pacific Islander communities have been especially hit hard by the pandemic. How have Polynesian communities built resilience in caregiving through their culture? How have Black and Latinx communities in New York City nurtured resilience in caregiving? What other health issues have become racialized in a pressure cooker environment of survival and security?
Dr. Camonia Graham-Tutt, Loira Limbal, Puanani Kama
THE WAY FORWARD: FIRELIGHT MEDIA PAU HANA & TALK STORY
Firelight Media is a premier destination for non-fiction cinema by and about communities of color. Firelight produces documentary films, supports emerging filmmakers of color, and cultivates audiences for their work. A panel discussion with alumni from their mentorship program and how their films speak to their own communities of color, as well as how authorship by filmmakers of color are critical to instigating more diverse stories in the American media landscape.
Monika Navarro, Firelight Media, Senior Director of Artist Programs
Ursula Liang, DOWN A DARK STAIRWELL
Ciara Lacy, OUT OF STATE
Laurie Sumiye, A PARADISE LOST
HIFF TALKS: CANE FIRE With CIVIL BEAT
CANE FIRE director Anthony Banua-Simon, in conversation with Civil Beat reporter Julia Steele. This extended discussion will focus on the themes and issues presented in Banua-Simon’s resonant film.
FILM FOR THOUGHT: A CONVERSATION WITH LOIRA LIMBAL | THROUGH THE NIGHT
As part of HIFF’s 2020 Film For Thought Program presented by the Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities, join us for a special Conversation With Director Loira Limbal director of THROUGH THE NIGHT. This humanities focused discussion will be moderated by Elizabeth Colwill, Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
FILM FOR THOUGHT: A CONVERSATION WITH CECILIA ALDARONDO | LANDFALL
As part of HIFF’s 2020 Film For Thought Program presented by the Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities, join us for a special Conversation With Cecilia Aldarondo director of LANDFALL. Moderated by Mehana Vaughan, Assistant Professor with Natural Resources and Environmental Management University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
FILM FOR THOUGHT: A CONVERSATION WITH PAWO CHONYING DORJI | LUNANA: A YAK IN THE CLASSROOM
As part of HIFF’s 2020 Film For Thought Program presented by the Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities, join us for a special Conversation With Director Pawo Chonying Dorji director of LUNANA: A YAK IN THE CLASSROOM. This humanities focused discussion will be moderated by Simon Tajiri musician, filmmaker, and teacher of Hawaiian culture and language at Lānaʻi High and Elementary School.
FILM FOR THOUGHT: A CONVERSATION WITH URSULA LIANG | DOWN A DARK STAIRWELL
As part of HIFF’s 2020 Film For Thought Program presented by the Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities, join us for a special Conversation With Ursula Liang director of DOWN A DARK STAIRWELL. This humanities focused discussion will be moderated by University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa English professor Danielle Seid.
A CONVERSATION WITH JOHN HSU (SPOTLIGHT ON TAIWAN)
In this SPOTLIGHT ON TAIWAN/HIFF TALK STORY, we chat with Hsu about his innovative work across many mediums, especially in VR and ‘machinima,’ and look at the new work flows that are happening in today’s filmmaking, led by Taiwan’s innovation in VR/XR technology to tell new ways of storytelling, as well as retaining the development and production of “traditional” cinema.
AWARDS and HONOREES
A CONVERSATION WITH ANN HUI (SPOTLIGHT ON HONG KONG & HIFF40 MAILE AWARD)
Director Ann Hui joins us from Hong Kong to discuss her amazing career, her outlook on the future of Hong Kong cinema, and how she is joining forces with other high profile Hong Kong auteurs to help save a post-pandemic film industry.
As part of the 2020 Hong Kong Filmmaker in Focus, we also screened some of Hui’s best films including the new bio-documentary KEEP ROLLING, directed by Man Lim-Chung, who also joined this conversation.
A CONVERSATION WITH DAVE FILONI (HALEKULANI MAVERICK AWARD)
When Filoni was invited by THE LION KING director, and STAR WARS original trilogy super fan Jon Favreau, to co-create what would be THE MANDALORIAN, he secured himself as the keeper of the STAR WARS flame.
We are honored to present this year’s Halekulani Maverick Award to Dave Filoni, who is the pinnacle of the world-building creator where pop culture is all about forever franchises.
A CONVERSATION WITH RACHEL BROSNAHAN (HALEKULANI MAVERICK AWARD)
We sit down with Brosnahan to discuss her career, especially her recent success in the rise of streaming series, taking a behind the line role in her latest film and if she has future aspirations behind the camera, and maybe, some updates about the future adventures of Midge Maisel.
HIFF is honored to present the 2020 Halekulani Maverick Award to I’M YOUR WOMAN star and producer Rachel Brosnahan.
A CONVERSATION WITH KEALA SETTLE (PIC TRAILBLAZER AWARD)
HIFF40 and Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC) is honored to present the annual PIC Trailblazer Award to singer and actress Keala Settle. In this one hour conversation, we discuss Settle’s humble beginnings growing up on the North Shore of Oahu and her trajectory in becoming an accomplished stage actor on Broadway. We also discuss her eventual segue to the big screen with her Earth-shattering performance in THE GREATEST SHOWMAN, which would lead her to perform the Academy Award nominated song “This Is Me” to millions of viewers on Oscar night in 2018.
A CONVERSATION WITH LANA CONDOR (NEW VANGUARD AWARD)
We feel that Condor’s meteoric rise through her groundbreaking work in a major and beloved film franchise, as well as her advocacy for various causes such as girls education and civic engagement makes her the perfect inaugural honoree of this year’s NEW VANGUARD AWARD. We discuss her career and various causes and how her work is bringing Asian Pacific Americans a seat at the table in mainstream pop culture.
A CONVERSATION WITH JASON SCOTT LEE
We sit down with the local actor, and talk story with him about his career (from his bit part in BACK TO THE FUTURE PART II to his insane workout regiment to beef up as Bori Khan in MULAN), moving to Hollywood, growing up in Hawai‘i and what’s next in store for him in film and television. Lee has always been a HIFF supporter and advocate (his mother was a HIFF volunteer for many years), and it’s only apropos that we celebrate with him during our 40th anniversary.
LUMPIA: WITH A VENGANCE
17 years after the events of the first LUMPIA movie, a homegrown, very “hand-made” no budget indie film that was produced by a group of high school buddies, the characters of the cult classic are back for some more butt-kicking, arnis-wielding, and of course, lumpia-eating.
Join HIFF Artistic Director, Anderson Le in conversation with the cast & crew
Inspired by his own upbringing, writer-director Lee Isaac Chung (MUNYURANGABO, ABIGAIL HARM) creates a gorgeous, delicate immigrant story of the “American Dream,” as the Yi family embraces their highs and endures their lows. Steven Yeun especially shines as Jacob, a man determined to achieve his dreams at all costs.
Featuring HIFF Artistic Director; Anderson Le
Director, Lee Isaac Chung
Minari Actor/HIFF Halekulani Maverick Award Honoree, Steven Yeun.
Set in the epicenter of the crisis that has now engulfed the world, 76 DAYS tells the indelible stories of human life at the centre of this pandemic. Given extraordinary access to one of the most significant events in recent history, this film weaves a story of heartbreak, tragedy and small victories. Told from the perspective of people at every stage of their life, the film weaves a complex story of faith, struggle and human decency mingled with the unfolding horror of COVID-19.
Featuring HIFF Director of Programming, Anna Page
& Director, Hao Wu
DEATH OF NINTENDO
This charming homage to growing up in the Philippines in the early 1990s was written by Valerie Castillo Martinez, who spent half of her life growing up in the Philippines around that time.
HIFF Director of Programming, Anna Page speaks with Death of Nintendo Producer/Writer, Valerie Castillo Martinez.
I’M YOUR WOMAN
The latest film from director Julia Hart (FAST COLOR, STARGIRL) and award winning producer Jordan Horowitz (LA LA LAND), I’M YOUR WOMAN is a decidedly female take on 1970s crime dramas. Hart deftly directs this film as a tale of love, betrayal, motherhood, family, and what it takes to claim your life as your own.
Featuring HIFF Artistic Director, Anderson Le
Director/Writer Julia Hart
Producer/Writer Jordan Horowitz
Actor, Rachel Brosnahan
Actor, Marsha Stephanie Black
UNDER THE OPEN SKY
UNDER THE OPEN SKY follows the tale of Mikami (Koji Yakusho), an inmate released from prison after serving 13 years on a murder charge. The world of modern-day Japan is not the same as when he left it, and Mikami, a former yakuza, struggles with basic things like securing a job, integrating back into society, and carving out a place for himself.
Featuring HIFF Director of Programming, Anna Page
& Director, Miwa Nishikawa
THE PAPER TIGERS
This feature-length debut from writer/director Bao Tran blends a perfect mix of action, drama, and comedy to create a lighthearted and fun film, with some life lessons underneath.
HIFF 40 Q&A featuring Lee Ngo and THE PAPER TIGERS Director; Bao Tran
MOGUL MOWGLI is a unique and unexpected film. Co-written by Riz Ahmed and director Bassam Tariq the film presents a personal, raw, intimate tale of struggle in the face of intense adversity.
HIFF Director of Programming; Anna Page and MOGUL MOWGLI Director; Bassam Tariq
Directed by Yi Chen, a Chinese immigrant and first-time voter herself, FIRST VOTE is a must-watch and rare long-form look at the diverse Asian American electorate.
watch Lee Ngo and FIRST VOTE Director, Producer, Cinematographer; Yi Chen
Stunningly animated, BEAUTY WATER is a deliriously dark horror satire about the commodification of beauty.
HIFF Director of Programming; Anna Page and BEAUTY WATER Director; Cho Kyung-hun in conversation about the film.
VOICES IN THE WIND
VOICES IN THE WIND, is a raw, intentional meditation on loss and healing. Starring Serena Motola and Hidetoshi Nishijima, this unique film from director Nobuhiro Suwa features primarily improvised dialogue in an effort to capture a sense of authenticity and truth as the story unfolds.
Join Sat Freedman and VOICES IN THE WIND Director; Nobuhiro Suwa in conversation about his film.
THE REAL THING
The master of unpacking the mysteries of human connection, Koji Fukada unravels a clever and engrossing tale that will stay with you after the last episode has ended.
For the first time, HIFF presents an original episodic series as part of the film festival program.
Join HIFF Director of Programming; Anna Page and THE REAL THING Director; Koji Fukada in conversation about the series.
Kapaemahu reveals the hidden history of four powerful healing stones on Waikiki Beach, and the mysterious spirits within them.
Join Executive Director of Pacific Islanders in Communications; Leanne Ferrer and Kapaemahu Directors & Producers; Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, and Joe Wilson in conversation about their film and an exclusive look at an upcoming documentary.
ALOHA SURF HOTEL
This film features a stellar cast including HAWAII 5-0 alumni Augie Tulba (in the leading role), Taiana Tully, and Shawn Mokuahi Garnett, Branscombe Richmond, and Daniella Monet. Funny, touching, and endearing, this film is a local gem.
HIFF Artistic Director; Anderson Le and the cast and crew of ALOHA SURF HOTEL in conversation about the film.
Produced by locally-based Talk Story Productions, STORY GAME showcases the diversity of films coming from Hawai‘i’s vibrant filmmaking scene. By intertwining supernatural legends into a single film, STORY GAME celebrates the mysticism of storytelling around a campfire.
HIFF Artistic Director; Anderson Le and STORY GAME Director; Jason Lau
Based on a 2017 video game of the same name, which in turn was based on real events, DETENTION is a chilling supernatural retelling of one of the darkest moments in the history of Taiwan.
HIFF Artistic Director; Anderson Le and DETENTION Director; John Hsu discuss his film.
CANE FIRE interweaves four generations of family history while examining the past and present of large corporations that utilize the people of Hawaii to craft a story for the tourists rather than casting them as the voices that must be heard.
Fellow Hawai’i filmmakers Chris Yogi and Anthony Banua-Simon dicuss Banua-Simon’s film CANE FIRE in which he held multiple roles as the Director, Co-Producer, Cinematographer, Editor, Narrator, Sound, and Co-Writer.
Director Ming-Yi Liao’s eccentric comedy which is also the first feature film in Asia to be shot on an iphone, examines the mutability of love and human connection.
Join Duncan Caillard and I WEIRDO Director, Screenwriter, Cinematographer, and Editor; Liao Ming-Yi
GONE WITH THE LIGHT
Beautifully shot with piercing performances and strong dialogue, GONE WITH THE LIGHT is a provocative film that takes viewers on an emotional journey through the highs and lows of romance in all its’ forms
Join Lee Ngo and GONE WITH THE LIGHT Director; Dong Runnian with Translation from Robert Wei
Set in Day’s own hometown, the film feels very much like a personal project, but also very relatable. Day’s performance is bolstered by a solid supporting cast. The result is a touching film that is full of heart.
Lee Ngo speaks with Definition Please Director, Writer, and Lead Actress; Sujata Day along with cast members Ritesh Rajan and Anna Khaja.
A rare narrative feature focusing on Japan’s indigenous people, AINU MOSIR showcases the interplay between community, connection, and culture through the lens of one boy’s search for meaning. The second feature from director Takeshi Fukunaga, the film is an observational yet intimate coming of age tale.
Join Sat Freedman and AINU MOSIR Director; Takeshi Fukunaga in conversation about the film.
Scotty, an addict shunned by his community, is released from prison and goes straight to the beach to test his longtime fear of the ocean. When he sees someone struggling in the water, he is devastated to realize he’s incapable of saving them. Only the ghosts from Scotty’s past can make him confront his terror, and push through toward redemption and self-forgiveness.
HIFF Artistic Director; Anderson Le and RED HOUSE Director; Gerard Elmore discuss the short film.
KA HUAKAʻI: THE JOURNEY TO MERRIE MONARCH
This documentary revolves around three hālau hula (school of hula) as they prepare for their huakaʻi (journey) to the Merrie Monarch Festival, an annual cultural festival that has long been considered as the Olympics of hula.
HIFF Artistic Director; Anderson Le and KA HUAKAʻI: THE JOURNEY TO MERRIE MONARCH Director; Gerard Elmore discuss the film.
THE GIRL WHO LEFT HOME
THE GIRL WHO LEFT HOME is a live-action musical following the life of an Asian-American working-class family and paints a colorful portrait of a love story between a mother and her daughter.
Join Eseel Borlasa and THE GIRL WHO LEFT HOME Director; Mallorie Ortega in conversation about her film.
WATER LIKE FIRE
WATER LIKE FIRE is a tale about the courage to walk through fire until you find peace.
Join HIFF Artistic Director; Anderson Le and Cast & Crew of WATER LIKE FIRE, Director; Mitchel Viernes and Actresses; Taiana Tully and Angie Anderson in conversation about the film
KIPUKA – NEW BEGINNINGS
“KIPUKA -New Beginnings” is about five abandoned Japanese Cemeteries in Hawaiʻi, and their grave keepers who share the memories, filmed entirely in Hawaiʻi.
HIFF Artistic Director; Anderson Le and KIPUKA – NEW BEGINNINGS Direcor; Ai Iwane discuss her film.
The Mainland follows Hawaiian actor, Ikaika, as he navigates the Hollywood politics of ethnic diversity when his small town cousin, Kekoa, unexpectedly shows up on his doorstep.
HIFF Artistic Director; Anderson Le and THE MAINLAND Director; Conrad Lihilihi discuss his film.
LONGING FOR HAWAII
This film tells a personal and national story about pride, resilience, a voice from the past that demands to be heard and the awakening of a new historical narrative.
Ciara Lacy and LONGING FOR HAWAI’I Director; Katia Barricklow discuss her film.
MAUNAKEA: SACRED MOUNTAIN, SACRED CONDUCT
This documentary short is a hoʻokupu, an offering to guardians keeping watch over our beloved mother—earth at this site. Kiaʻi, guardians have taken a stand at Maunakea, Hawaiʻi island to stop further desecration, and ruin of resources.
Ciara Lacy and MAUNAKEA: SACRED MOUNTAIN, SACRED CONDUCT Director; Meleanna Meyer discuss her film.
FINDING DOHI is an intimate portrait of a woman separated by culture, language, and thousands of miles from a family she has never met.
HIFF Artistic Director; Anderson Le and FINDING DOHI Director; Amber McClure discuss her film.
SEE YOU, SIR
Yamaha is a cocky and yet caring juvenile offender. He takes Sonny, a very young inmate, under his wing. Chuan is a quiet and mysterious new arrival. The trio become roommates on the New Year’s Eve. As they get closer and closer to each other and more and more used to the life in the detention house, they come to realize that they can never be truly freed from the place.
HIFF Artistic Director; Anderson Le and SEE YOU, SIR Director and Writer; Yayu Lin discuss his film.
少年阿堯 Growing Pains is a short film based on a true story from the director’s past. Fourteen-year-old Yao is sick of his worn-out shoes, which his father never replace for being too deep in debt. One day, after a confrontation with debt collectors, his father suddenly buys him a pair of expensive sneakers. Little did Yao know, this is the start of a painful tragedy.
HIFF Artistic Director; Anderson Le and GROWING PAINS Director, Writer, and Editor; Po-Yu Lin discuss his film.
Against the backdrop of the 1970s native rights movement, George Helm, a young Hawaiian activist and musician must gain the support of kūpuna (community elders) from Maui to aid in the fight of protecting the precious neighboring island of Kahoʻolawe from military bombing.
HIFF Artistic Director; Anderson Le and Hawaiian Soul Movie Director and Writer; Kamakanioka’āina Paikai and Producer; Kaliko Maʻiʻi discuss the film.
GET THE HELL OUT
GET THE HELL OUT is an unholy cocktail of over-the-top action, apocalyptic mayhem and camp political satire that would make John Waters gasp for breath. Following its premier at TIFF’s Midnight Madness section, GET THE HELL OUT was described as an “anarchic cross between George Romero and Scott Pilgrim” (Indiewire) with “buzzsaw energy” (Screendaily) that makes the political madness of 2020 seem ordinary.
HIFF Artistic Director; Anderson Le and GET THE HELL OUT Producer; Yi-Sen Ko discuss the film.
With a score composed by award winning Lu Luming (DETENTION Golden Horse Awards winner last year), and beautiful and sultry dance sequences beautifully performed by the two leads, this film continues the current streak of amazingly unique Taiwanese cinema.
HIFF Artistic Director; Anderson Le and A LEG Director and Writer; Yaosheng Chang discuss his film.
MY PRINCE EDWARD
MY PRINCE EDWARD is a whimsical fairytale about the marriage between independence and womanhood. It builds a beautiful portrait of navigating freedom in marriage and geographical residence. With endless humor and wisdom, Fong’s courage to find independence sparks a new meaning of what it means to escape jaded relationships to find a deeper meaning to life.
Join Duncan Caillard and MY PRINCE EDWARD Director & Writer; Norris Wong in conversation about her debut feature film.
WAIKIKI is a kaleidoscope dream that builds a portrait of Hawaii’s mountains and oceans with the whistling tune of songs about Waikiki while following the spiritual journey of a working-class woman struggling to find a purpose in a world that seems to forget about her.
Join HIFF Artistic Director; Anderson Le and the Cast & Crew of Waikiki The Film as they discuss the film.
HULI: KOKUA HAWAII AND THE BEGINNING OF THE REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT IN CONTEMPORARY HAWAI’I
Legendary Native Hawaiian activist and political scientist Haunani-Kay Trask traces the beginnings of the Modern Hawaiian Movement back to Kokua Hawaiʻi, a community-based organization that first mobilized to protect local and Native Hawaiian residents of Kalama Valley in Oʻahu from overdevelopment back in the 1970s.
Join Ciara Lacy and HULI Director; Gary Pak in conversation about his film.
A man wakes up to find an ominous stranger in his dining room and is faced with making an impossible decision.
Join HIFF Artistic Director; Anderson Le and CHARITY Director; Mitchel Viernes and Lopaka Kapanui in conversation about the short film.