Hawaii’s International Film Festival started the 10-day cinematic event on Thursday, November 12, 2015 with the opening press conference at the Halekulani Hotel in Honolulu, HI.
Key speakers such as Peter Shaindlin, Chief Operating Officer for Halekulani, and Robert Lambeth, HIFF’s Executive Director, got the ball rolling. While Georja Skinner, Chief Officer of the State of Hawaii’s Creative Industries Division, and Michael Andres Palmieri, Executive Director of Creative Lab-Hawaii, then explained the Creative Lab at HIFF partnership. Lee Joon-Ik, the director of HIFF’s opening night film, The Throne, also said a few words.
Shaindlin set the tone for the conference by beginning with a discussion on the art of film. As Shaindlin eloquently described it, film is a “priceless tool” and a “widely touching messenger” that you simply cannot run from. These were valuable things he learned while sitting on the judges panel for the Halekulani Golden Orchid Awards. This year there were over 1,000 film submissions from all around the world. Making it “almost impossible to choose” because “every one of them is a winner” in their own unique way, Shaindlin declared.
Lambeth provided further information about the awards such as the categories and nominees. The award categories included Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature, and Best Narrative Short Film. Lambeth emphasized how HIFF is extremely dedicated to film and filmmakers. The organization thrives to help those in and looking to get into the film business, which has led to the Creative Lab at HIFF.
Skinner and Palmieri discussed the 2015 Creative Lab at HIFF Programs which work extensively to help creative writers and producers with opportunities such as immersive programs. Programs such as this not only assists students in improving their work but also allows them to build foreign connections and cultural understanding.
HIFF pushes the boundaries to be a culturally enhancing and enriching experience. Its impact is far-reaching which was evident from Joon-Ik’s speech. The film director explained how he and his wife cheered when they discovered his film was selected to be in the festival as the opening feature. His excitement and passion were priceless, leaving the audience ready for the festival to begin.