Prior to this special event, I attended the press conference for the 38th annual Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) on October 12, 2018, presented by Halekulani and I found it insightful. When I was there, I was very nervous since I had absolutely no clue on what to expect and do while I was there. After that, I realized that we were there sitting to see the fantastic films we will be watching at the event. When HIFF started, I was honestly confused where to go because it has been a while since I have been to a movie theatre. It was also completely ironic since I live fairly close to the actual location of the film event.
During this spectacular occasion, I was able to watch four films with a few classmates since I did not want to be alone and I wanted to hear what they had to say after the screenings. The way how I planned on which films to see was completely based on my availability since I was (and currently) making hours for my internship next semester. I also was wondering if any of my classmates needed a friend to bring along to the screening as a way to keep them company. My main objective of participating in HIFF was to open my eyes on how this event associated with the class I was in and I believe it did.
The first film I watched was Shadow directed by Zhang Yimou, which was on opening night. Part of me wished that it was filmed during the middle or close to the end of the event since it is now one of my favorite films that I have watched by far. I am still blown away by the minimal yet amazing color scheme the director was inspired by in order to open one’s creative minds. I was also engaged with the actions that were in the film to have a feeling on being a part of that historical era. Overall, I enjoyed myself going to see a historical/international film with my peers.
The second film I watched was Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable, which frankly was a last minute decision of mine at the time, and I am still happy that I attended not only the screening, but also the Q&A. One part of the documentary that really opened up to me was that I do not have to choose one path over the other, but I can do two things at the same time such as Bethany being a professional surfer and a mother, which shows that we need to efficiently manage our time. Watching it was extremely encouraging and I still believe Bethany Hamilton is an unstoppable force.
The third film I saw was another documentary called Call Her Ganda, which to me had a strong impact for reasons that associate with my Filipino heritage and believing that every person should respect each other no matter what sexuality they are. I really liked how it balanced between politics and family ties to have a feel on how the case happened and to make the film alive and happy as they can. As of now, I am still wondering when it will end since it seems like an ongoing battle between both families of the lost loved one and the culprit.
The last film I saw was Chungking Express directed by Wong Kar Wai, and I was immediately surprised on how packed it was even before the movie started. I guess some people were smart by reserving their seats as soon as possible or coming there very early. While watching, I was confused on how the story went at first, but then I realized they were two separate stories that had the same connection, which made it very captivating. I also stuck around the Q&A discussion and it was great to see him in person as it was his first time visiting the state of Hawai’i. I am proud that I ended this film on a positive note.
Although I do not consider myself a film fanatic, I believe that at least attending the event was the actual highlight itself since it is very exciting to see which films everyone is enthusiastic to see and to share common ground on what we like/dislike about the film. Although being a press reporter is the most nervous part at HIFF, I do think there was some importance to it as I thought having a press pass was cool to have. HIFF was an absolutely fun event as it got me to see how much of a critic I am and meet different people throughout the state and around the world. Regardless if you have a huge passion with film or not, I would definitely suggest going to HIFF, especially with a friend if you do not want to be alone.