Hawaii International Film Festival kicks of five days of movie-going goodness


Film festival starts tonight

After years of being shuttered and after extensive renovations, the Historic Palace Theater in downtown Hilo re-opened in November of 1998 to present the first Hawaii International Film Festival. And every year since, the Palace has continued to feature unique films of Hawaii, the Pacific Rim and other international locations of interest.

This year’s line-up includes films about life in Korea, South Africa, China, the Philippines, Japan and, of course, our own Hawaiian Islands.

The 2012 festival begins on today at 5 p.m. with a humorous look at marriage in “All About My Wife,” a crowd-pleasing hit from Korea that asks: Is it a “sign” when an earthquake hits upon first meeting your future spouse?

At 8 p.m. that same night, “The Land of EB” takes the audience on a compassionate journey to the Marshalese community in Kona, with a look into the lives of a population with its own language trying to make a life in a foreign land.

Saturday features three screenings with a total of four films and a live performance.

At 2 p.m., “Lucky” will introduce us to a 10-year-old South African orphan who unites in friendship with an Indian woman just as hope seems lost for the boy.

At 5 p.m., director Ryan Kawamoto brings us “The Untold Story: Japanese Internment in Hawaii” after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1948. This film is followed by “Moving Home” an enigmatic portrait of Korean dancer and teacher Halla Pai Huhm with archival footage and interviews. This movie will feature a live performance after the film by one of the teachers from the school founded by Huhm.

At 8 p.m., “Shanghai Calling” takes us into a world of legal morass, falling in love and keeping a job. A full-length film to capture your attention — and perhaps your heart.

Sunday begins with “Harana” at 2:30 p.m. Filmed in the Philippines, the film follows a guitarist back to his roots and the tunes of Harana where young men would serenade girls outside their windows with guitar and voice. Our guitarist finds old men as the only living remnant of this musical part of his culture and they still sing.

The 5:30 showing, “Seeds of Hope,” takes us on a journey of exploration to examine where the food in Hawaii comes from and the challenges the food and agriculture industries face here in Hawaii. (See related story on Page C1.)

On Monday at 7 p.m. the festival will show Japan’s biggest box office hit of the year, “Thermae Romae,” a sparkling time-travel comedy where modern Japan meets ancient Rome in a culture clash.

On Tuesday the 2012 Hawaii International Film Festival ends with “Jake Shimabukuro: My Life in Four Strings.” Hawaii’s ukulele virtuoso is followed from early days of practicing at home to international acclaim. While Jake has captivated the world with his music, this film will captivate you with the story behind the man.

This festival is made possible with support from Hawaii County’s Big Island Film Office and the Department of Research and Development.

For more information, visit the Palace website at www.hilopalace.com or call the ticket office 934-7010, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., to order tickets with a credit card.

 

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