On October 11, I attended the opening Press Conference for Hawaii International Film Festival. The conference was held at Rumfire at Sheraton Waikiki. It was hosted by executive director of HIFF Chuck Boller, and the panel consisted of; Debra Zimmerman, Georja Skinner, Princess Liz Kawananakoa, Ruth Bolan and Peter Shaindlin.
One new initiative this year is HIFF creative lab that will explore a broad range of fields such as acting, screenwriting, directing and music for local and visiting filmmakers. The workshops will give the opportunity to interact with the industry.
The festival has over 300 international guest and media from all over the world are attending. The major of Honolulu Peter Carlisle handed over a twenty thousand dollars check to the festival.
– It’s important to celebrate the arts and the creativity, and this is one of the greatest film festivals in the world.
Next up speaking were Georja Skinner who is chief officer of the state of Hawai’i’s Creative Industries Division in the Department of Economic Development and Tourism. She said that Hawaii has a lot of great storytellers and their vision is; begin small but grow expeditionary.
Ruth Bolan mentioned how important media is to the democracy, because everyone needs a voice. She is the executive Director of Pacific Islanders in Communications which sponsor pacific showcase, to bring films from the islands in the spotlight.
One of the people who have been recognized for their talent is the local scriptwriter and HPU Davis Kop, who is sponsored by HIFF. He came up to the panel and expressed how much this means to him because it means that he is heading in the right direction.
– My advice to other story tellers is to be fearless and to keep writing, Davis says.
At the end of the conference, Bolan told that there are going to be some celebrities attending this year’s festival. One of them is the Japanese film icon Koji Yakusho.