At this year’s 37th Hawaii International Film festival presented by Halekulani I had the chance to watch eight films I chose myself, just by the criteria of my interest and how well they work with my schedule. I chose to watch “11/8/16”, which is a film about last year’s presidential elections in the US, “Island Soldier”, which is about Micronesian soldiers who serve in the US military and their families, “Lady Bird”, “Blue”, a documentary about the pollution of our oceans and the impact it has on the planet, the wildlife and marine life and how it in the end effects us humans too. Furthermore, I watched “Breath”, a film based on a novel, directed and produced by “the mentalist”-actor Simon baker, “In the fade”, a German production about Nazism in Germany, starring actress Diane Kruger, “The final year” which is about the last year of President Obama’s administration and “Downsizing”, a comedy.
Additionally, I attended the press conference, taking place one week prior the start of the Film Festival. My personal highlight was the screening of “Breath” because I love surfing and I lived in Australia for a while, which is where the movie was filmed. It was very interesting for me to hear how Simon Baker came to produce and direct this film and what it means to him personally.
Over all, it was a great opportunity to watch films before they are actually in the cinema programs and – which was the actual highlight of that – to hear the stories behind the films and what the directors, producers, editors and talents have to say about their films.
HIFF meant to me the possibility to watch films which I would probably never have watched if it weren’t for HIFF. Some because I would not have been interested enough in seeing them in the cinema, others because I would most likely never have heard of them, like, as an example, Island Soldier. This film in particular challenged my ideas. It really moved me to see how those people think about serving a country or a nation which is not their own, what they give for others and in the end, what they loose. I was personally very affected by some film sequences because my father is a major and he used to serve in Afghanistan for a while. I also have some American friends who serve in the U.S. Marines and one really good friend who is currently on deployment.
The Hawaii International Film Festival was a great experience and I would recommend it to my family and friends if they were here. What I learned from HIFF is that I should definitely start watching a variety of genres and not just stick with the mainstream as I did before.
Therefore, I want to thank the HIFF team for making this collaboration possible and hope future students will get to make this experience too.