2016 HIFF Film Wrap Analysis
For the 36th Annual Hawaii International Film Festival I chose to see the documentary Prison Dogs. There were so many great films to be offered this year but this seemed like the film that would capture my heart the most, using such polar opposite subjects such as puppies, inmates and veterans to create a training program that would touch so many different types of lives. I also chose this film because it worked best with my schedule throughout the week as well.
My greatest experience of HIFF this year was the many talks I had with HIFF associates and staff that were so stoked and excited about the festival. I also spoke with fellow viewers of Prison Dogs and got their opinion of their HIFF experience, all having such positive remarks about the films they saw and the speakers that we got a chance to listen to. Participating in HIFF is such a great opportunity for students like myself who are majoring in Mass Communications and intend to go into similar career paths one day whether that be PR, directing, digital media producing, etc. The people that you are exposed to come from great avenues of communications and the experience at HIFF should never be taken for granted as this festival is known internationally and very recognized by important individuals in the film industry.
Prison Dogs influenced the way I feel about giving inmates the greatest opportunities in life no matter their circumstance, something the film speaker mentioned was these inmates (in the film) already showed that they can fail society; we need to allow them the leverage to be able to show that they can now give something back to the world. I couldn’t agree more that these are the individuals who need to be shown they indeed have a mark in society and can raise to higher levels morally to turn their lives around once out of prison. This film taught me that no matter where you reside, or how many legs you have, everyone deserves to be loved and given an opportunity to succeed. I particularly enjoyed learning about how the veterans all adapted to their dogs and how the dogs individually helped each veteran, appropriate to their PTSD needs.
Regarding the culture at HIFF I mainly noticed a melting pot of individuals, not only of ethnic but age differences as well; I came with a group of college students however we were sitting in front of a group of older, oriental women who wept continuously in the documentary. However it is important to note the Asian culture throughout HIFF due to the films having been directed around the Pacific Rim. HIFF is for all ages and all movie preferences, therefore I would recommend it for anyone. You are bound to find a film during HIFF that will cater to your likings and sweetspots because of the wide variety, and I know I found my sweetspot within Prison Dogs.