HIFF40's Documentary Panorama: Check out these 5 compelling films

We are truly in a Documentary Renaissance with the proliferation of award-winning and compelling docs being distributed on multiple streaming platforms. As the globalization of cinema becomes the norm, the plethora of real life stories are coming out of the woodwork, presenting different perspectives from unique voices and communities that are still familiar because of universal and shared experiences that we can all relate to as audience members. HIFF40 ‘s Documentary Panorama presented by Civil Beat, as well as other sections like the 11th annual Film For Thought, in partnership with the Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities, continues this trend, presenting engaging documentaries that will make you laugh, cry, get mad, and contemplate.
Can’t decide what to watch? Then check out these 5 documentaries that we recommend with your HIFF40 ALL-ACCESS PASS!

China, United States

“History in the making… an urgent act of witnessing for a world that only tends to see itself clearly in hindsight” – Indiewire
On January 23rd, 2020, China locked down Wuhan, a city of 11 million, to combat the emerging COVID-19 outbreak. Set deep inside the frontlines of the crisis, 76 DAYS tells indelible human stories at the center of this pandemic. It bears witness to the death and rebirth of a city under a 76-day lockdown, and to the human resilience that persists in times of profound tragedy.

United States

Award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson (FREEDOM RIDERS, THE MURDER OF EMMETT TILL) examines the rise of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s and its impact on civil rights and American culture. The first feature-length documentary to explore the Black Panther Party, its significance to the broader American culture, its cultural and political awakening for black people, and the painful lessons wrought when a movement derails. What parallels do we see between the Black Panthers and current social justice movements?
This special presentation is part of the THE WAY FORWARD: CONVERSATIONS ABOUT RACE AND RECKONING IN HAWAI‘I panel series (November 18-20).

United States 

While utilizing footage of Hollywood films set in Hawaii and various corporate commercials that paint the islands as paradise, CANE FIRE examines years of economic and social exploitation of the Hawaiian culture, people, and their land. The documentary follows various perspectives of the residents on Kauai to shine a light on the indigenous working-class people who resist the forces of large corporations that cast them as “extras” in their own story.

Norway, United States

Where his prior film, AQUARELA was a reminder of the fragility of human tenure on earth, in GUNDA, Viktor Kossakovsky reminds us that we share our planet with billions of other animals. Through encounters with a mother sow (the eponymous Gunda), two ingenious cows, and a scene-stealing, one-legged chicken, Kossakovsky movingly re-calibrates our moral universe, reminding us of the inherent value of life and the mystery of all animal consciousness, including our own.

United States


To make ends meet, people in the U.S. are working longer hours across multiple jobs. This modern reality of non-stop work has resulted in an unexpected phenomenon: the flourishing of 24-hour daycare centers. Interweaving the lives of two working mothers and a childcare provider, THROUGH THE NIGHT speaks to the heartbreaking realities that face working families, and the acts of everyday kindness and generosity that bring us together.

HIFF40 Limited and All-Access Passes provide the best value to view as many films online via HIFF’s streaming platform. Buy your pass today!

Follow Us

HIFF © 2021 All Rights Reserved