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Hawaii International Film Fest Spans Pacific Cinema and the World

Seoul Searching

The ThroneComprised of films from Hawaii, across Asia, and representing Pacific Islanders, the Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) has grown from it’s humble beginnings in 1981, to now feature over a hundred films and events from November 12 to the 22nd. Presented at theaters across Honolulu, the HIFF includes special segments focusing on films and filmmakers from Hawaii, Japan, China, Korea, India, and Europe along with shorts, documentaries, and the Eat Drink Film showcase focusing on films about food.

Opening the festival is the South Korean court drama, The Throne, directed by Joon-ik Lee. Set in 1762 during the Joseon dynasty, King Yeongjo (played by Kang-ho Song from Snowpiercer and The Host), must tangle with the dilemma of having to execute his son, Prince Sado, who has been accused of treason.

Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s (Tokyo Sonata, Cure) film, Journey to the Shore, is about Mizuki (Eri Fukatsu), who is greeted one day by her husband, Yusuke (Tadanobu Asano), who she thought was dead for the last three years. Yusuke takes Mizuki on a trip to help her understand where he has been these last three years. Present at the festival will be Asano, who will be presented with the Maverick award for his work in film (Ichi the Killer, Zatoichi, Survive Style 5+, and even Marvel's Thor).

carol posterAs part of the Centerpiece section of the festival, the Todd Haynes (Mildred Pierce, Velvet Goldmine) film Carol is a drama set in 1950’s New York starring Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett engage in a tangled relationship that is threatened by jealousy.

The New American Filmmakers showcase highlights the work of foreign born directors and reflects the impact of immigrant cultures on the lingua-franca that is American cinema. Films include the Zoe Bell vehicle from New Zealand, Camino, the Indian film Margarita, With a Straw, and the Korean film, Seoul Searching.

To learn more, go to:

Hawaii International Film Festival
November 12 - 22, 2015

Various locations throughout Honolulu

13th Annual Korean Film Fest at Museum of the Moving Image


The Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35th Ave, New York, NY) is playing host to a series of Korea’s finest films with the 13th Annual Korean Film Festival (November 6 - 11, 2015). Organized by Subway Cinema, the same people that bring you the New York Asian Film Fest every summer, the NY Korean FF brings together some of Korea’s fascinating, strange, and dynamic films that have been captivating audiences in the US since Oldboy hit the scene in 2003. Along with a wide selection of films, the festival also has special guest speakers from the Korean film industry.

Guests include:

  • Ryoo Seung-Wan
  • Kang Hye-jung and Park Jung (Veteran)
  • Shin Suwon (Madonna)
  • Lee Do-yun (Confession)
  • Kang Hyo-jin (Wonderful Nightmare)
  • Oh Seung-uk (The Shameless)
  • Hong Won-chan (Office)
  • Koh Ah-Sung.


koreanffposterFilms scheduled to be in the festival include:


  • Office
    Dir. Hong Won-chan
    After gruesomely murdering his family, a midlevel manager (Bae Seong-woo) dutifully returns to the office, haunting the building like a vengeful ghost and turning the otherwise bland workspace into a house of terror. Legitimately alarmed, his colleagues nonetheless sing his praises to the police—a hint that there’s more to the matter than a disgruntled employee suddenly snapping. Described as “hearty genre entertainment” by Variety, this Cannes “Midnight Madness” selection is a perfect outlet for young leading actress Ko Ah-sung.


  • Trap
    Dir. Bong Man-Dae
    Maladjusted screenwriter Jeong-min (Yoo Ha-joon) travels to the countryside to rethink his life and concentrate on his career. But instead of working on his screenwriting, he finds transgressive distraction in the person of temptress Yumi (Han Je-in). The frontier between reality and fantasy blurs as Jeong-min’s mind and body are engulfed in a fatal attraction to the innocent-faced but dangerous Lolita, leading him to increasingly poor life decisions. A standout entry in the filmography of softcore erotic meister “Playboy” Bong Man-Dae.


  • Confession
    Dir. Lee Do-yun
    Since a tragic mountain incident in high school, Min-soo (Lee Kwang-soo), Hyun-tae (Ji Sung) and In-chul (Ju Ji-hoon) have remained best friends through thick and thin. But when two of them agree to burn down an illegal gambling hall for the insurance payout, the spilt blood of loved ones unearths the bitter ghosts of a dark past. Soon, the group of childhood friends turn on each other in the bleakest of fallouts. Lee Do-yun’s debut feature has been compared with the slow-burning noir of Sidney Lumet’s final film, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead.


  • The Shameless
    Dir. Oh Seung-uk
    In Oh Seung-uk’s highly anticipated return to the director’s chair since his debut masterpiece Kilimanjaro in 2000, Cannes award-winning actress Jeon Do-yeon plays a bar hostess in love with a suspected murderer. Kim Nam-gil (The Pirates) is outstanding as a detective who plays a game of seduction with a dangerous woman. Selected for the Un Certain Regard program at the Cannes Film Festival, The Shameless is an unforgettably stylish noir.


  • Madonna
    Dir. Shin Su-won
    After her festival hit Pluto (2012), a critically acclaimed high-school drama about bullying and murder which won a Special Mention at the 2013 Berlinale, director Shin Su-won delivers a shocking, noir-tinged tale of privilege and poverty: a nurse's aide uncovers and tries to prevent the horrific use of a brain dead pregnant street-walker for a heart transplant to a rich patient.

  • Veteran
    Dir. Ryoo Seung-wan
    In this instant action/comedy classic—a massive theatrical hit earlier this summer—hardboiled detective Seo Do-cheol (top actor Hwang Jung-min can throw—and take—a punch) and his misfit team defend the powerless against the vicious scion of a prominent family (played with villainous delight by heartthrob Yoo Ah-in, in a widely acclaimed performance.


  • Wonderful Nightmare
    Dir. Kang Hyo-jin
    Director Kang Hyo-jin’s independent feature, Kill’em with Bare Hands (2004), won the audience award at the Seoul Independent Film Festival. His films include Dirty Blood (2012), Twilight Gangsters (2010), and Punch Lady (2007).

To learn more, go to:

The New York Korean Film Festival
November 6 - 11, 2015

The Museum of the Moving Image
36-01 35th Ave.
New York, NY 11106

Kickstarter Film Fest Shows Shorts & Features Across Country


Over the years the crowdfunding site Kickstarter has grown so exponentially now saying you are going to "kick start" something is synonymous with a brand. The site has attracted artists, programmers, engineers, and everyone in between to implore the public to lend their support to various dream projects. The site has also attracted a number of filmmakers, ranging from first-timers to seasoned directors. Now Kickstarter is celebrating some of the exceptional films that were realized thanks to crowdfunding.

The 5th Annual Kickstarter Film Festival is a one night only event on October 15 in which five films (two features and three shorts) will be screened in 32 theaters across the country. These films encompas animation, doccumentary, and comedy from all over the world, assembled under the umbrella of Kickstarter.

Don Hertzfeldt, known for his darkly comedic cult animated short Rejected and feature length It's Such a Beautiful Day, brings a new short film: World of Tomorrow. World examines human memory and bends science fiction in a way that has made critics compare it to Chris Marker’s La Jetee.

Frances Bodomo’s short, Afronauts, follows a group of Zambian misfits attempting to reach the moon as part of the Cold War space race. The film premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

What We Do in the Shadows does for vampires what Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi did for folk rock in their HBO series Flight of the Conchords. Along with getting accolades at the Toronto International Film Fest and charming horror fans, What We Do was a Kickstarter backed film that places the trope fearsome and romantic vampire on its side, as a group of bloodsuckers adapt to modern life.

T-Rex, directed by Zackary Canepari and Drea Cooper tracks seventeen year old Claressa “T-Rex” Shields as she trains to compete in the 2012 Olympics, the first time the games have allowed women’s boxing .

PES’ short animated film, Submarine Sandwich, utilizes stop motion animation to create a charmingly bizarre deli where foods are not exactly, well, food.

To learn more, go to:

5th Annual Kickstarter Film Fest
October 15, 2015

Various Locations

NYU Celebrates Italian Cinema with International Conference

The reverberations of Italian cinema can be felt throughout the whole world. Whether it’s Anna Magnani bravely defying the Fascists in Rome Open City, Sergio Leone’s revitalization of the Western, and the worlds of shock and schlock from the likes of Argento and Fulci. Now NYU’s Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò (24 West 12th Street), will be examining the effect cinema has had on the Italian identity.

Cinema and Italian Identity (October 8 - 9, 2015) brings together film scholars from the US and Italy to examine Italy’s cinematic history (note: some speakers may be presenting in Italian) and to celebrate the publication of the tremendously large Lessico del Cinema Italiano, edited by Roberto De Gaetano. this festival examines how Italian cinema born out of the ashes of World War II reflected a new national identity, but also how the films of today is looking back at Italy’s history and culture.

Speakers and subjects include:

  • Millicent Marcus (Yale University)
    The Memorialist Tradition in Italian Film through an Unlikely Lens: Pierfrancesco Diliberto's "La mafia uccide solo d'estate"
  • Valeria Castelli (NYU)
    Worker. History, Memory and Found Footage in Andrea Segre's "Il sange verde" and Costanza Quatriglio's "Triangle"
  • Joseph T. Perna (NYU)
    Cinephilia, anni '50
  • Luca Peretti (Yale University)
    The Politics of Italian Industrial Cinema. The ENI Case
  • Francesco Casetti (Yale University)
    Le parole per dirlo [IN ITALIAN]

Closing the symposium is a special screening of Mario Martone’s Leopardi (aka Il Giovane Favoloso), which follows the life of 19th century Italian poet, philosopher, and writer Giacomo Leopardi as he examines the human condition while navigating his own life as he tries to find his place in a stratified society.

Italian cinema produced some of the most deeply affecting films ever made and NYU is celebrating its rich history.

To learn more, go to:

Cinema and Italian Identity
October 8 - 9, 2015

New York University
Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò
24 West 12th Street
New York, NY 10011


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