Nonstop Movies: HIFF Preview

Anyone looking for me between October 10-20 likely will find me quiet in a dark room with my silence only being intermittently interrupted by bursts of laughter, tears or even a bit of freaking out. No, I’m not crazy; I’ll just be spending most of my waking hours at the Hawaii International Film Festival.

HIFF has really outdone itself this year with its extensive and diverse programming. Browsing through the film selection, there are more than two dozen films I want to see. In addition to great international films, HIFF also is offering many Creative Lab workshops where people can learn more about acting, screenwriting, social media and other aspects of filmmaking. HIFF has also expanded its reach by not only showing films at Regal Dole Cannery Theater, Koko Marina Theater and Hawaii Theatre, but extending to Kaua`i and the Big Island.

I’m really loving the ambitious direction HIFF is headed, and I can’t wait for the movies, workshops and parties to start. Of course, the main attraction is the films, and these are the ones that I’m placing on my “must see” list.

“About Time” (United Kingdom)

Richard Curtis, the director of “About Time” also directed “Notting Hill” and “Love Actually,” two of my favorite romantic comedies of all time. Yes, of course I’ll be watching. Hopefully not alone.


“August: Osage County” (USA)

Based on a famous play and starring Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Sam Shepard and produced by George Clooney, this film has an impressive Oscar pedigree and looks like a new version of “Steel Magnolias.”


“The Avenging Eagle” (Hong Kong)

Part of HIFF’s new Kung Fu Theatre showcase, this martial arts classic starring legends Ti Lung and Fu Sheng also made my Fab Five Films – Black Belt Theater list. Throw in some liquor and food vendors and this kung fu movie showing is going to be a fun party.


“Boomerang Family” (South Korea)

Some might say that the term “Korean dysfunctional family” may be repetitive but there’s always a strong love at the root of all that bickering. It looks like this film captures that essence of the Korean family bond.


“Dancing Karate Kid” (Japan)

The synopsis says that this film is a cross between “Best of the Best” and “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.” I’m sold!


“Maruyama, the Middle Schooler” (Japan)

This coming-of-age film about a teenager with a creative imagination looks like the kind of crazy, off-the-wall kind of humor that I’m usually drawn to.


“Rurouni Kenshin” (Japan)

HIFF always brings action fans at least one epic Asian action film and “Rurouni Kenshin” looks to be this year’s choice. Can’t wait for some good old samurai bloodletting.


“Sake-Bomb” (USA)

Since Asian-American filmmakers rarely get the chance to get their films on to the big screen, I support them whenever I can, especially when it looks this hilarious. This road trip comedy about a Japanese-American and his visiting cousin from Japan looks like a great time.