Dear HIFF…

The Brooklyn poet Shawn Corey Carter, better known as Jay-Z, is my favorite artist in the world. My favorite song from my favorite artist is ‘Dear Summer.’ In this song, Jay-Z raps about how he isn’t going to drop an album in the summer anymore. He talks about how he is going to miss summer but he wants the summer to show his fellow artists the same respect. This is how I feel about the Hawaii International Film Festival. While I will be attending more HIFF events, I won’t be writing for HIFF after this year. Hopefully my fellow classmates enjoy the same fun that I did.

My experience this year was much different than all but eight other people. I was fortunate enough to be selected as a participant in the Ebert Young Writers Program for the Arts. Roger Ebert and his wife Chaz loved attending HIFF. After Roger passed away, HIFF hosted a panel in tribute of Roger’s contributions. This year was only the program’s second year in existence. The program was a fast and furious four day crash course on film critiquing. The wonderful Sheila O’Malley mentored the nine of us as most of us took our first steps in film critiquing. Sheila has a BFA in Theatre form the University of Rhode Island and a masters in Acting from the Actor’s Studio MFA program. We were also blessed with the presence of two of her film critiquing peers, Jason Sanders and Justin Lowe. So not only did we get to learn from one professional film critique, we got to learn from three. This is an opportunity I will probably never get again and I am forever thankful for it. Sheila’s critique on us can be found here.

I made connections with the After Bruce PR team. They are the official PR team of HIFF. Eseel Borlasa invited my girlfriend and I to the premiere of ‘The Apprentice.’ The movie was about a Malay correctional officer trying to overcome the execution of his father. His father was executed in the same prison the he now works for. He even becomes the executioner at the prison. A few days later I met the star of the film, Fir Rahman, at the HIFF Awards Gala.

I also saw the Made in Hawaii Shorts. My favorite film was ‘Bone of the Whale’. Zoe and Phillips are great writers and directors and I look forward to their films every year.

Sadako vs Kayako was the last film that I saw. It was kind of like Freddy vs Jason except it was the protagonist from The Ring and The Grudge. Two very scary movies. Sadako vs Kayako was also scary but had a decent amount of comedy mixed in with it.

I love HIFF. HIFF has opened my eyes to an art form that I have never considered before. I critique everything I watch now and hope to one day a professional film critique. This is all thanks to my experience at HIFF!

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