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2003 HIFF's best year, director says

by Natalia Casas, A & E editor

The 23rd annual Hawai‘i International Film Festival, sponsered by Louis Vuitton wrapped up on Nov. 9. HIFF was a huge success according its Executive Director of HIFF, Chuck Boller and it accomplished its goal of enlarging understanding and cultural appreciation for the people of Asia, the Pacific, and North America, through film.

 

This was HIFF’s best year, Boller said, noting that 40,000 HIFF programs were all gone within the first four days of the festival and pointing to record-breaking sales to prove it. No wonder Travel & Leisure Magazine calls HIFF “One of the ten best film festivals around the world.”

Film audiences had more than 150 film features to choose from, 37 films of them from Hawai‘i. But just because it is called a film festival does not mean that it only screens films, said Boller. HIFF held eight seminars, including one with Academy Award-winner Dean Semler, as well as a symposium with the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. More than 300 film industry professionals attended from more than 14 countries.

HIFF opened with Robert Altman’s The Company and closed with a Cannes Film Festival winner, Deny Arcand’s The Barbarian Invasions. The award ceremony took place Nov. 6 at Doris Duke Theatre at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. One of the award-winning films was The Ride, directed by local filmmaker Nathan Kurosawa, who made history by winning both the Cades Schutte award and the Cades Foundation Hawai‘i Film and Video Maker Award. This was the first time a Hawai‘i film won both awards.

The Ride also walked away with the Blockbuster Video Audience Award for Best Feature Film, which was definitely not a surprise since 15,000 audience members were at the free screening at Sunset on the Beach in Waikiki. This film was based on world renowned surfer Duke Kahanamoku and his attempt to communicate the true meaning and love of surfing to professional, money-driven surfer, David Monroe. The principal cast consisted of locals, Scott Davis, Sean Kaawa, and Mary Paalani.

Other award winning films include, The Twilight Samurai, Refugee, Goodbye Dragon Inn, They Call Her Lady Fingers (The Betty Loo Taylor Story), and Dragon of Love.

Dean Semler, Australian cinematographer and Oscar winner for his work done in Dances With Wolves (1990), won The Eastman Kodak Award for Excellence in Cinematography for his work done in contemporary cinema.

The State of Hawai‘i presented The Film in Hawai‘i Award to James McArthur, who played Danno in Hawaii Five-O for his continual support in promoting Hawai‘i and the local film industry.

Overall HIFF was a tremendous success this year. “I want to say Mahalo to all the sponsors, filmmakers, delegates, staff, volunteers, and the media who made this year’s HIFF the best in history,” said Boller.

 

Top HIFF winners

· The Ride, from Hawai‘i, directed by Nathan Kurosawa, won the Cades Schutte award, the Cades Foundation Hawai‘i Film and Video Maker Award, and the Blockbuster Video Audience Award for Best Feature Film.

· The Twilight Samurai, from Japan, directed by Yoji Yamada, walked away with the First Hawaiian Bank Golden Maile Award for Best Film Feature.

· Refugee, from the United States, directed by Spencer Nakasako, won the First Hawaiian Bank Golden Maile Award for Best Documentary Film.

· Goodbye Dragon Inn, from Taiwan, directed by Tsai Ming-Liang, was honored with the First Hawaiian Bank Golden Maile Special Jury Award.

· They Call Her Lady Fingers (The Betty Loo Taylor Story), from Hawaii, directed by local Patricia Gillespie, received the Blockbuster Video Audience Award for Best Documentary Film.

· Dragon of Love, from the United States, directed by Doan La won the Blockbuster Video Audience Award for Best Short Film.

 

2003, Kalamalama, the HPU Student Newspaper. All rights reserved.
 
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