On this adventure, I went with two other classmates (Noelle and Destiny) to watch 2 films–Modest Heroes and Her Story. When we were planning which films to see, we wanted each of us to have a chance to see a film of their choice. Noelle really wanted to see Modest Heroes (I wasn’t surprised); I wanted to watch Her Story; Destiny was neutral and didn’t have a preference. We were supposed to be watch a third film, but we decided the films had a substantial amount of content for analysis.
Personally, I wasn’t significantly touched by Modest Heroes because it wasn’t angsty enough for me. I love really heartbreaking stories that make you feel physical pain in your chest, and I don’t think Modest Heroes delivered in that aspect. It was cute and more lighthearted and that works for some people, but not for me. Pixar short films are about six minutes long, and they have made me cry or really packed a lot of emotional resonance in a short amount of time. Yet these short films were longer, but didn’t have the same impact.
Her Story had a stronger impact on me for reasons tied to my Korean heritage and the pain that the surviving former comfort women will likely pass away without having the closure they are hoping for. Also, the tone and moods within the scenes were varied, so I felt very engaged with the narrative because it wasn’t stuck on one emotion over another. Also, the accuracy of the women’s accounts and where comfort women issue stands between South Korea and Japan pains me. That’s the one thing that I think about most, before and after seeing this film.
In terms of the positive aspects of my HIFF experience, I enjoyed the opportunity to have the experience and see a film I was enthusiastic about. I had always briefly thought about what it would be like to participate in this event when I heard about it. Before, I thought the event was very high-end and constantly filled with red-carpet vibes (cameras, actors/actresses posing and giving out interviews, etc.). Basically I thought the event was a red-carpet thing. Totally not the case. It was a laid back event that wasn’t overhyped and just a lot of regular people wanting to see different films.
The second thing I liked most about this HIFF experience was how easy it was to get our press badges. This semester has been crazy, stressful, and filming encountered so many obstacles. The last thing we wanted was to stress over picking up the badges. Fortunately, it was very simple. However, we stood in the wrong line for about 20 minutes and then we were directed to the table with our passes. One suggestion would be to label what line someone is standing in.
The biggest area of improvement for HIFF could be the organization of the event. It was difficult and confusing to register for passes, various pick up dates/times for the badges, and delayed responses for certain events. Considering this is their eighth one (at least), it was assumed there would be a more structured process for press reporters. I would have been less frustrated with the event if the registration process had been simplified and run smoother.
Additionally, the dates of the event is not ideal for college students–we just finish midterms; in the midst of projects, papers, and assignments. As a senior, there’s a heavier pressure to have balance in social, academic, and professional life and I worried about how I would manage that with the HIFF event. If this was done earlier in the semester (early-September), then I think it would be easier to have a larger demographic of student participation. But since it’s toward the end, it was more challenging to find that balance. Overall, I’m glad I got to experience HIFF and with my friends because who wants to go to the movies alone. Personally, I wouldn’t go again, but maybe I’ll change my mind in the future.