Last week Thursday, I attended the opening day press conference for this year’s HIFF, which was held at RumFire in the Sheraton Waikiki. I must admit, I felt apprehensive about going because I’m just a student and official members of the press would be there. Nevertheless, I walked into RumFire, hoping my dress, heels, and press pass would make me look like I belonged there.
The press conference was not quite what I expected. I was picturing a big crowd in a cold hall (even though I knew it’d be at a lounge/bar, haha), with lots of reporters and flashing cameras. However, most of the people there were HPU students trying to get a story. I recognized a reporter from Hawaii News Now, but that was about it.
The press conference itself was a great experience. I learned a lot about the festival and the people behind it.
The first speaker on the panel was Peter Shaindlin of Halekulani, who said that the Halekulani Resort aims to foster the arts and culture. He emphasized the “international” in Hawaii International Film Festival, saying that this festival is an exchange of humanities. Film, he said, is a form of contemporary literature, which enriches the community, creates prosperity and beauty; for these reasons, Halekulani is committed to HIFF for many years to come.
As a musician, I appreciate Halekulani’s involvement because often times, the arts get tossed to the side, forced to make way for “bigger and better” things. One of the speakers said that “without the opera, ballet, Contemporary Museum, and the Academy of Arts, life in Hawaii wouldn’t be the same.” And I completely agree.