The Fall 2014 Hawaii International Film Festival was successful to say the least. During the festival I attended the opening press conference and three Films; Stations of the Cross, Kabukicho Love Hotel, and Mary Kom. There were more films that I wanted to see like Beyond the Surface, Imitation Game, and others, but those films either didn’t fit with my schedule or they were sold out. Most of what drove me to the films I was able to see, was my free time while they were playing, but more specifically each one had something that piqued my interest. Stations of the Cross intrigued me, not only because I am a Catholic, but because it seemed interesting how they connected this young girl’s journey to that of Jesus, my classmate and I saw Kabukicho Love Hotel with our interest from the HIFF website description of how a group of people connect to each other through this surprising “love hotel,” and finally, I have had some previous kickboxing experience and Mary Kom looked like an empowering movie about overcoming the odds.
The highlight of the festival for me personally had to be the opening press conference. I throughly enjoyed the press conference, as it was my first one, I felt like my presence was like being a secret agent- I had the first eyewitness account of what was going on for the festival, and I was able to interview a few different individuals responsible for making HIFF possible and effective. Participating in HIFF meant a lot for me. It was an incredible experience that helped me take my learning outside of the classroom. I think this application of learning outside of the classroom is extremely important, because we can become somewhat robotic in the classroom of standard papers and due dates. However, I learned that through the many write ups and reviews I had to complete on the HPU@HIFF website, made me realize it’s all up to me to make my deadline, along with the tweets I made during the festival including the trending topic #MYHIFFMOMENT. Instead of waiting for the professor to assign us to post on the HPU HIFF blog, I wanted to post a review as soon as possible after viewing the film, because I wanted it to be relevant and up to date.
Other than learning to drive myself to complete my work, there were some lessons I took out of the individual films as well. As for Stations of the Cross, I was influenced for my own filmmaking about the power of a shot, and the directors decision to primarily use still shots and only pan the camera for specific scenes, symbolizing a greater meaning. One thing I really didn’t like about the film Kabukicho Love Hotel, was the vulgarity of the scenes they showed. I felt extremely uncomfortable at times and it challenged my view of what should be deemed appropriate for a movie theater before it becomes more of a pornographic film. In the future I hope that HIFF would specify or leave a mark that there is nudity and extreme sexual content in the film’s description. However, the benefit of an international film festival is the opportunity to view cultures in their most natural view. Things that are completely customary in one country are completely interesting for another. For example, in Mary Kom it was interesting to see the Indian cuisine and the way it is mixed and eaten with the hands, as well as the traditional celebratory dancing and music soundtrack, even the sound of the Hindi language was beautiful.
Furthermore, I will most certainly be using what I learned about the Fall Festival at HIFF this year, not only from the films, but the need for promptness to provide feedback, in order to be relevant in the media world. In my future profession, it is evident that media requires some sort of immediacy for the people, so I got a small taste of that from the festival. Overall, my experience at HIFF was a positive one, and I can’t believe how quickly it flew by. I would most certainly recommend HIFF to my family and friends for the years to come, as well as remain an active role in my participation.