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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, March 23, 2006

Spring showers us with fine films

By Michael Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Forget love, baseball and blackout benders on the beaches of Fort Lauderdale. For local film aficionados, these spring thoughts lightly turn to high-quality film screenings statewide, from U.S. and Hawai'i premieres at the Hawaii International Film Festival's Spring Showcase to student shorts at the Hawai'i Pacific University Film Club's inaugural festival.


For the past nine years, the HIFF Spring Showcase has been a convenient catch-all for international and independent films not available for the organization's main event in October. At this year's minifest, March 31 to April 6, the lineup includes the Hawai'i premiere of "Tsotsi," which won the Oscar for best foreign film last month, and a strong contingent of works from Australia, Japan, South Korea and other countries.

Tickets can be purchased in advance at the HIFF ticket counter at the Regal Dole Cannery theatres, by phone (550-8457), via fax (536-8192) or online at www.hiff.org.

HIFF's Web site is worth checking out. In addition to comprehensive film listings and information, it also features news updates, a soon-to-come Spring Showcase blog, and other festival resources. New this year: a full schedule of films plus archived audio from past HIFF seminars and events that can be downloaded to an iPod.


Don Brown's intriguing "Healing World Film Series" at the University of Hawai'i is offering a sneak preview of "The Celestine Prophesy," Armand Mastroianni's film adaptation of the James Redfield best-seller, at 7 p.m. March 31, at the University of Hawai'i's Spalding Auditorium. Cost for the special screening is $10.

The film has a Hawai'i connection in actress Sarah Wayne Callies, who plays Marjorie, one of the lead characters. Callies, the daughter of UH English professor Val Wayne and writer Richard Tillotson, has a regular role on the Fox series "Prison Break."


With the proliferation of student film programs has come, predictably, a growth in the number of student film festivals. The latest, "Shorts on the Rocks," comes courtesy of the HPU Film Club and the Honolulu Academy of Arts.

Festival organizers are accepting film submissions of 15 minutes or shorter through March 30. Films must have been made while the filmmaker was a student. Entry is free.

The film festival takes place at the Doris Duke Theatre at the Academy on April 29. The 10 selected films will be judged by industry professionals, with awards for best acting, best cinematography and overall best short film.

Even the prizes are geared for up-and-coming film professionals, including a free head shot for the best-actor winner, as well as copies of Avid Xpress Pro software. For more information, check out www.shortsontherocks.org.


  • Nominations for 'Flight 29 Down': Hawai'i-based series "Flight 29 Down," which is co-produced by Hawaii Film Partners, has received three nominations for the 27th Annual Young Artists Awards.

    The show, which is filmed entirely on the North Shore, was recognized with a nomination for Best Family Television Series (Drama), and stars Halle Hirsh and Allen Alvarado were nominated for best performance in a TV series (Comedy or Drama); leading young actress, and best performance in a TV series (comedy or drama); actor age 10 or younger, respectively. The series wraps up filming for its second season tomorrow.

  • ACM at Pacifika: This year's Pacifika: New York Hawaiian Film Festival will include works by three University of Hawai'i Academy for Creative Media students: Kaliko Palmeira's "Steve Ma'i'i," Ty Sanga's "Plastic Leis," and Kelsey Chock's "Stand for Justice."

  • Byler wins: Former Hawai'i resident Eric Byler took home the Narrative Audience Award and a special jury prize for ensemble cast for his film "AMERICANese," at last week's South by Southwest Film Conference & Festival in Austin, Texas. Byler won the audience prize at SXSW four years ago for his indie smash "Charlotte Sometimes."

    Another Byler project, "Kealoha," has been selected for the Tribeca Film Institute's Tribeca All Access Connects program, which connects U.S. directors and screenwriters of color with film industry insiders. "Kealoha" tells the story of an overweight (by Western standards) Hawaiian girl who falls for the most popular boy at fictional Mapunapuna High School in Hawai'i.

    Reach Michael Tsai at mtsai@honoluluadvertiser.com.