Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) 2018

One of the most exciting things to happen in Hawaii in November is the Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF). This is one of the most premier film festivals for the Asia-Pacific region. Each year the Halekulani hosts this famous event, which brings together films from around the world. The 38th annual Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF 38) brings together films from 35 countries. Over 1000 films were prescreened and narrowed down to 187 films. These are the best of the best from the Pacific.

Originally a small film festival initiated by the East-West Center and has grown to a state-wide celebration of films from around the world. This film festival is highly regarded in the Pacific Rim Region. It showcases films around the world and films are shown throughout the state. This is the sister to the Shanghai International Film Festival. The HIFF has become a festival for presenting Asian films from China, Korea, and Japna to the rest of the Pacific Rim region.

Toronto Film Festival People’s Choice Award Winner

The winner of the Toronto Film festival People’s Choice Award is the main presentation of the festival. Green Book starring Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortenson and directed by Peter Farrelly. This film about Don Shirley as a Jamaican-American concert pianist and the relationship with his driver and security detail.  Mortenson plays a working-class Italian-American bouncer  THe bouncer becomes the driver of an African-American classical pianist on a tour of venues through the 1960s in the American South.

HIFF finale: a documentary about the Hokulea

The finale is as a documentary about the Hokulea and its worldwide voyage. Moananuiakea: One Ocean, One People, One Canoe shows the journey of the crew as they sail around the world with includes their stops in 23 different countries and 150 ports. Through education and cultural exchange, it brings people together. Directed by Naalehu Anthony, it is the perfect film to end the festival which joins cultures and nations from around the world with Hawaiian hospitality. This journey began in the 1970’s. This is the culmination of Nainoa Thompson’s vision of the rebirth of the voyaging canoe. This is a resurgence of how the ancient Polynesian’s traveled throughout the South Pacific.


The HIFF 38 is one of the extraordinary cultural events that Hawaii has to offer. I hope you get a chance to catch one or more of the films. I was fortunate to attend the awards gala last years, and it was an inspiring event honoring the greatness in local and international film efforts. The beautiful ceremony is a star-studded affair. Waikiki and the Halekulani come alive with the HIFF.


Photo credit: Jakob Owens

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