The 37th edition of the Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF), presented by Halekulani was an interesting experience. I attended the opening press conference on October 24, 2017, which gave me an idea of what the whole festival was about. It gave me the chance to meet and talk with some of the directors and producers of the films to be featured during the festival. When I first got there I had no idea what to expect and all I knew was to take a lot of pictures and record or take some notes. Then I realized that we had been sitting in an audience full of these talented individuals who created these great films we would be watching. Suddenly, I was slightly intimidated. Of course, you have to realize that they are regular people that just so happen to be very talented and quite brilliant in the world of cinematography. Basically they were just more professional versions of what I am just starting to get into and learn more about now. So that made me feel a little better and eventually I gathered the courage to talk with some of them. It was a great experience, as they were very nice, funny, and real. They were touched by the fact that they were so admired by us. During this event I saw three films. My goal was to see as many of the animated films as possible because those were the films I was most interested in, unfortunately, I was only able to make it to two of them, and the third was a Korean drama. I chose the Korean drama because to me, Korean films always come off as really engaging and interesting. I also love anything involving beautiful scenery and what’s more beautiful than a green forest?
The first film I went to see was Mary and the Witch’s flower on opening night. I knew it would be kind of crowded but I didn’t think the line would stretch as far as it did like forty minutes before the movie was even supposed to start. I guess some people had the right idea coming as early as possible. It was kind of crazy and considering how packed it was I wished they could have made the signs bigger or had people to direct where the line started so you wouldn’t be forced to wiggle through a huge crowd to figure out where to go. Other than that I enjoyed myself going to see an adorable animated film with some friends.
The second film I went to see was Glass Garden, a drama/mystery/fantasy korean film. This time around, it was much less crowded. I went with a friend to see this movie and I did a video interview of her before the film. After the film was over, the director was there for a question and answer panel. It was a really interesting, deep, and unpredictable film. The ending was a little confusing so it was good to have the director there to answer some of our questions.
The third film I saw was Lu Over the Wall, and I ended up meeting up with some friends to see it. It was moderately crowded for this film too but I made sure to get there an hour before the film to ensure a spot in line. It was a wacky, eccentric, bold, loud, vivid and adorable animated film. It turned out to be nothing like I thought it would be. The director was also there for the question and answer session after the film as well as before the film to explain to us the main idea behind his film. The artistic style lacked consistency but that’s what made it so unique. That was definitely the most odd and interesting animated film I’ve ever seen, and I’m glad I saw it.
It’s hard to pick a highlight because it was all very exciting to me. One thing I knew about HIFF was that my blog posts were expected to be done within a timely manner. That was something I’m not used to. I usually like to take time to write up reviews for things to make sure they’re polished and worded the way I want them to be. So this was a new experience for me. Being a reporter on these events/movies had its challenges but was also quite exciting, as it made me feel like someone of importance. The press pass was cool to have because it gives you all these privileges that normal moviegoers don’t get. HIFF really got me to step out of my comfort zone, meet some people, all while challenging my writing abilities. It was a fun and exciting experience, and I’m glad I got the chance to experience all of it for the first time. It is a great collaboration and now that I’m more informed on what it’s all about, I would definitely recommend it to others.