Hawaii International Film Festival 2014: East meet west.

Find your HIFF Moment. That was the theme for this year 34th Hawaii International Film Festival. I have never attended a Film Festival before, and was really excited about it. Especially since the festival has a wide range of films from a lot of different cultures. HIFF is a festival were the east meet the west.

During HIFF, I was able to attend four film screenings and the opening press conference. I tried to see some very diverse films. One of the foreign films I went to see was a Norwegian gangster comedy called “In Order of Disappearance” or “Kraftidioten”. It was terrific entertainment especially because it reminded me of Danish movies.

For me, one of the best HIFF moments was watching “We Are the Giant” directed by Greg Barker. “We Are The Giant” portrays seven activists involved in several national uprisings of the Arab Spring, several of whom already have high international profiles; some are now dead or imprisoned. The seven activists are organising on Twitter and they are all dreaming about freedom. Their stories do not end happily. The picture in all three countries is insistently grim – so much blood spilt and so many lives wasted. It’s tempting to come away feeling hopeless as well as angry. Why aren’t any governments doing something? Has people power failed? But then you watch these interviews: accounts from young people who have found their voices and a taste of freedom, and want more. Maybe this is just the beginning. It was a really strong and moving documentary that made me think and made me be grateful for the things I have and the society I grew up in. I was really impressed by the young people’s belief in freedom and how much they are willing to sacrifice in order to obtain freedom, something I sometimes take for granted.

The other film I saw was “Beyond the Surface” and “Haider”. Both films unfolds in India. The choice of movies was based on my passion for India.

HIFF’s widespread range of movies and documentaries makes it possible for the audience to learn about different cultures and how life is in different parts of the world. I found it very inspiring to watch the different cultures, reflected through the eyes of different people.

I would recommend HIFF to other students especially exchange students. Try to make as many films as possible. Overall, I think HIFF is a valuable experience for students and I am grateful the HPU was able to collaborate in the film festival.


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