The 32nd annual Hawaii International Film Festival was an interesting experience for me. This was the first film festival I have ever attended, and I had the unique opportunity of playing reporter for any part of the event I wanted. I had an official press pass that granted access to any and all of the films as well as press events and seminars. Due to a constricted schedule I was not able to watch as many movies as I would have liked, however, I did see two great films and attended two Creative Lab seminars.
The first movie I watched was Starlet (2012), a New American Filmmakers movie by Sean Baker starring Dree Hemingway. This movie depicted an inside view of the life of an adult film actress who befriends an elderly woman, and cinematographer Radium Cheung was there for post-screening Q&A with the audience. The movie contains some graphic sexual content that dampens potential for distribution, and Cheung mentioned story degradation as the reason for not cutting the scenes. Personally, I disagree because I believe it’s possible that these parts could be re-done in a way that would not degrade the story and would allow for greater distribution opportunities.
The second movie was Fresh Meat (2012) from New Zealand Director Danny Mulheron. This comedy/horror tells a story about a group of criminals who find themselves inside the house of a family of cannibals. Danny Mulheron attended the screening and handed out autographed movie posters after the show. I happened to receive the last available poster that day.
I did not find the Creative Lab seminars to be as entertaining as the films, but there was plenty of good information going around. Speakers at the Digital Media Technologies Summit talked about cross-continent collaboration on cinematic projects, amazing advancements in screen resolution and virtual reality among other things, and panelists at the New Media Academy put out there some key advice: “Be really good at what you do.”
Overall I enjoyed the HIFF experience and look forward to being more involved next year. I don’t know if I’ll have any of my own work to submit, but maybe eventually.