Big Island Film Festival Kicks Off Thursday

Movies under the stars, “Mad Men” and “Saturday Night Live” celebs, stellar Hawaiian music, multi-star cuisine and more make the Big Island Film Festival (BIFF) memorable, May 23-27, 2013, at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i and The Shops at Mauna Lani.

BIFF Leo on Stage

Kicking off Thursday, May 23, at 7:30 p.m. with a free Grand Opening at The Shops at Mauna Lani, BIFF welcomes filmmakers representing 54 new movies from Hawaii and around the world, celebrity guests Vincent Kartheiser aka Pete Campbell from “Mad Men” and Kate McKinnon from “Saturday Night Live.”  Eleven of the films selected are made-in-Hawai‘i, seven shorts and four features.

and Kate McGinnon

Vincent Kartheiser and Kate Mckinnon

After the introductions, seven short films (PG) will be shown:

  • “Sway Away” (Hawaii-made), an unlikely love story that plays out on the clothes line
  • “The Assistant.”  A disgruntled photographer’s assistant pretends to be his boss when a young actress arrives early for her photo shoot.
  • “The Regret of the Doubt,” the trajectory of a man who dreams of a paradise, but when he reaches it, the old dream fades and soon others are born.
  • “Fight Scene.”  A man decides to walk home after his car breaks down in a bad part of town.
  • “The Perfection of Anna.”  When a stroke leaves Anna’s left side paralyzed, daughter Jesse witnesses her courageous struggle to dance ballet again.
  • “Searchlight Serenade: Big Bands in the Japanese American Incarceration Camps,” an animated tale told in song, based on true stories of young detainees during WWII who escaped from their reality came through Big Band music
  • “Spaghetti for Two.” How a seemingly ordinary day becomes a significant turning point for an unremarkable man, thanks to a minimal shift of fate.

At the Grand Opening, free programs are available, and tickets, passes and tee shirts are available for sale at the information table.  BIFF continues through Monday.  Events include:

Film Screenings, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

  • Daytime movies.  A selection of shorts and features are screened in two-hour blocks, indoors in the newly renovated Lehua Theatre at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i.  Validated parking.
  • Free Family Films.  Nightly, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at The Shops at Mauna Lani.  Admission free for two hours of short and feature films up to PG.  Some chairs provided, or bring your own.
  • Festival Films.  Nightly, beginning at 7:30 p.m.  Double feature shown under the stars at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i Plantation Estate, near the tennis park.  Validated parking.  No-host bar, pupus and movie snacks available for purchase.  Some chairs provided or bring your own.

Tickets are available for individual events, or passes.  Each film will be rated by audience members to determine the Best Short and Best Feature that will screen again at Monday’s “Best of the Fest.”

From the Big Island's Planet One Productions, "Strange Frame" is an animated sci fi feature film, with voices of Claudia Black, Tara Strong, Ron Glass, Tim Curry, Alan Tudyk, Michael Dorn, George Takei and others.  It will be screened at Big Island Film Festival on Sunday, May 26 at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai'i.

From the Big Island’s Planet One Productions, “Strange Frame” is an animated sci-fi feature film, with voices of Claudia Black, Tara Strong, Ron Glass, Tim Curry, Alan Tudyk, Michael Dorn, George Takei and others. It will be screened at Big Island Film Festival on Sunday, May 26 at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i.

Social events to meet and mingle with the stars, at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i.

  • Friday, May 24, Party-goers get a taste of film festival glamour, as well as stellar cuisine, and a chance to rub shoulders with celebrity guests at “Meet the Stars: Aloha Hollywood” reception.  Guests are encouraged to dress in their finest aloha wear, bring cameras and meet up at the red carpet to generate some silver screen buzz.  The VIP menu features butler passed hors d’oeuvres, action stations and “Chef Daniel’s Chocolate Film & Stars Dessert Display,” a chocolate centerpiece with Chocolate Silk Tarts, Chocolate Lollipops & Truffles, Chocolate Pop Rock Strawberries and more.
  • Saturday Night, May 25, “Saturday Night Live” comedienne Kate McKinnon, known for her doppelganger impersonation of Ellen Degeneres, is in the spotlight at a Reception & Salute in her honor, with onstage interview by Maui filmmaker Brian Kohne (“Get A Job”).
  • Sunday, May 26, Vincent Kartheiser aka Pete Campbell will appear at his Reception & Salute, with a cool mid-century vibe and “Mad Men” themed menu that includes mini Beef Wellingtons, Oysters Rockefeller and “Dr. Arnold Rosen and Sylvia’s Fondue.”
  • Monday, May 27, Golden Honu Awards Brunch.  Posh buffet brunch, Awards presentations and announcement of the Audience Choice films that will be screened at Best of the Fest Monday evening.

Advance reservations required for all social events.  Visit for details and tickets.

Screenwriting workshops.

Saturday, May 25, veteran screenwriter Ron Osborn shares his tried and true techniques and insider tips to create winning screenplays, in two workshops, “What’s So Funny?” and “Ripped from the Newspapers” at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i.  Limited space is available at $50 per session, with advance registration required (

“Best of the Fest.”

Monday, May 27, at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i Plantation Estate.

  • Silent Auction to benefit Fisher House at Tripler Army Medical Center, 5-7 p.m.
  • HAPA Concert, 5-7 p.m.   Ten-time Nā Hōkū Hanohano award-winners Barry Flanagan and Ron Kuala‘au
  • Audience-voted Best Feature and Best Short Films of BIFF 2013, 7:30-9:30 p.m.
  • Best of the Fest is also a fundraiser for Hawai‘i Island Food Basket

Tickets are available for individual events, or as inclusive passes.  For complete schedule information and to purchase tickets on line, visit

The Big Island “Talk Story” Film Festival is a celebration of independent narrative films and filmmaking, taking place May 23-27, 2013.  Major sponsors include The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i and The Shops at Mauna Lani and Hawaii Tourism Authority/Hawai‘i County CPEP.

For complete schedule information and tickets, visit or call (808) 883-0394.

Tomorrow: Free Hepatitis Screenings Available to the Public – National Hepatitis Testing Day

National Hepatitis Testing Day will be observed in Hawaii on Monday, May 20, 2013. In collaboration with Hep Free Hawaii, Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) clinics and other community-based sites are offering free hepatitis screenings to the public on May 20 to encourage people to find out their hepatitis B and C status. National Hepatitis Testing Day events will also help to raise awareness within communities and remind people with insurance to get tested through their primary care provider.

Hepatitis Testing

“Often called the silent epidemic, most people with hepatitis B or C don’t have symptoms for many years,” stated Health Director Loretta Fuddy, A.C.S.W., M.P.H. “People with hepatitis B and C shouldn’t wait until they feel sick to be tested because there are many things, including treatment, they can do to take care of themselves before they become ill. The earlier people know they have hepatitis, the better the outcome.”

According to DOH Immunization Branch estimates, between 1 and 3 percent of people in Hawaii have hepatitis B, and approximately 23,000 are living with hepatitis C. Hepatitis B and C are the most common known causes of liver cancer in Hawaii, and Hawaii has the highest rate of liver cancer in the United States.

Hepatitis B and C are spread through contact with blood and body fluids. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that anyone who has been exposed to blood through needle use, blood transfusion, non-sterile equipment, or tattooing should be tested for both hepatitis B and C. Anyone born in a country with high rates of hepatitis B, especially countries in Asia and the Pacific should be screened for hepatitis B. Anyone born from 1945-1965 (“baby boomers”) should also get a one-time test for hepatitis C, regardless of any known risk.

“If you are at risk, you should ask your doctor to get tested for hepatitis B or C. Putting off this simple test now can have dangerous health implications later on, such as liver disease and cancer,” said Fuddy.

Individuals without insurance may call Aloha United Way 211 or go to to find the free screening location nearest them (flyer attached). Not all sites will offer hepatitis B testing. Testing will be based on eligibility and availability at each site.

For more information about National Hepatitis Testing Day, go to

For more information about hepatitis resources and events in Hawaii, go to