2013 Big Island Film Festival Coming in May

Acclaimed as one of MovieMaker Magazine’s “20 Can’t-Miss Festivals,” the Big Island Film Festival (BIFF) 2013 will take place May 23-27 at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i and The Shops at Mauna Lani.  A celebration of narrative filmmaking, BIFF 2013 includes film screenings, social events, screenwriting workshop and a closing night “Best of the Fest” with a top Hawaiian music concert and movies chosen by the audience from Festival entries.

Photo by Kirk Aeder

Photo by Kirk Aeder

“There are hundreds of film festivals around the country,” said Executive Director Leo Sears, “but how many offer the audience a resort setting like The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i?  Their Plantation Estate is this incredibly beautiful lū‘au area by the tennis garden.  They set up a 20-foot screen and superb sound system, gourmet food stations, a beer and wine bar—all out there under the stars, surrounded by palm trees.  It’s just a magnificent way to spend Memorial Day Weekend.”

The majority of BIFF events take place at various locations within The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, including daytime film screenings in the air-conditioned amphitheatre, filmmaker workshops, celebrity receptions and salutes, as well as “festival films” (up to R) and Best of the Fest, at Plantation Estate.  Family films (up to PG-13) are shown at The Shops at Mauna Lani Center Stage, where admission is free.

“We’re not quite ready to announce the celebrities for this year yet,” said Sears.  Generally, one filmmaker and one actor are invited to attend BIFF, where attendees can meet and interact with them at receptions and salutes in their honor, and other social occasions.  “But I can tell you that we’re getting a lot of interest from stars who’ve heard about the Festival and want to experience the Big Island.”

Kristina Anapau in front of the Fairmont Orchid at Mauna Lani

True Blood’s “Maurella” Kristina Anapau was awarded a Golden Honu in 2011

Past years celebrity honorees have included Hawai‘i actresses Eloise Mumford (The River), Kristina Anapau (“Black Swan”, “True Blood”) and Sarah Wayne Callies (“The Walking Dead”), Tom Berenger, Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa, D.B. Sweeney, John Saxon and filmmakers Ron Osborn, Rick Stevenson, David Winning and Scott Stewart.  And, such noted Hawaiian musicians as Makana, Brother Noland, John Cruz, Henry Kapono and Kohala have graced the stage.

Eloise Mumford was honored in 2012

Eloise Mumford was honored in 2012

BIFF 2013’s “Golden Honu” Awards will be presented to the Best Feature and Best Short in Family, Student, Animated, Foreign, Hawaii and Audience Choice categories at a special Awards Brunch to honor the filmmakers and their works on Monday, May 27.  Numerous alumni films have won awards at prestigious film festivals around the world, and achieved commercial success in the industry.  One of BIFF’s alumni short films, “The Buzkashi Boys” is a current Oscar nominee, and another, “The Sea is All I Know” starring Academy Award-winner Melissa Leo, was a nominee last year.

The Big Island “Talk Story” Film Festival is a celebration of narrative filmmaking.  Sponsors include The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, The Shops at Mauna Lani, County of Hawai‘i, Dept. of R&D: CPEP Grant/Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, Redeeming Light International, Inc. and others. For detailed information visit www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com, find them on Facebook, or 808-883-0394.

CALL FOR ENTRIES – 2011 Big Island Film Festival at Mauna Lani Resort, May 11-15, 2011

Media Release:

Hawaiian music, moonlight and movies make Mauna Lani Resort a must for filmmakers, fans and friends in May, when the Big Island Film Festival returns for its sixth year.  One of MovieMaker Magazine’s “25 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee,” and “25 Coolest Film Festivals”.  BIFF 2011 is now accepting entries for the May 11-15 event, on location at two luxury hotel properties and premier resort shopping center.

BIFF Director Leo Sears gives actor Tom Berrenger the "Golden Honu" award at the 2010 BIFF

A celebration of independent narrative filmmaking, BIFF 2011 includes screenings, social events and networking opportunities, celebrity receptions, screenwriting workshop and a closing night “Best of the Fest” with a top Hawaiian music concert and movies chosen from Festival entries.  Last year’s celebrity honorees included screenwriter Ron Osborn (“Moonlighting”), filmmaker Scott Stewart (“Legion”) and actors Tom Berenger (“Platoon”) and Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa (“Mortal Kombat”).

Narrative short films (30 minutes or less) and feature length (60 minutes or more) completed after January 1, 2010 will be considered.  Deadlines are:
•    “Early Bird” November 1, 2010. Early Bird Entry Fees: $50 Feature, $40 Short, $30 Student
•    Regular January 1, 2011. Regular Entry Fees: $60 Feature, $50 Short, $35 Student
•    Late/Final February 1, 2011. Late Entry Fees:  $70 Feature, $60 Short, $40 Student

All films shot in Hawaii or created by filmmakers who live in Hawaii receive a 25% discount on entry fees (verification required).

BIFF 2011’s “Golden Honu” will be awarded to the Best Feature and Best Short in Overall, Family, Student, Animated, Foreign and Hawaii categories at a special Awards Brunch to honor the filmmakers and their works on Sunday, May 15.  Numerous alumni films have won awards at prestigious film festivals around the world, and achieved commercial success in the industry.

“Lunatics, Lovers, and Poets” (BIFF 2009) was distributed in 10 states through Carmike Cinemas, and by North American Home Entertainment DVD contract with Seminal Films.  “Remarkable Power” starring Kevin Nealon (2009 BIFF Best Feature) was released through most cable outlets as a PPV title before DVD release.  “Two Tickets to Paradise” (BIFF 2008), and “Rain in the Mountains” and “Sixes and the One-Eyed King” (BIFF 2007) have been released on DVD.

“As we approach our sixth Big Island Film Festival, judging by the quality of films submitted in the past, we are absolutely ready to see the next ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ or the next ‘Honokaa Boy,’” said Executive Director Leo Sears.  “Fans are more sophisticated and open to independent films than ever, especially those brilliant, different gems that surprise us.  And when you bring your film to BIFF in Hawaii, you can’t have a more receptive, more spectacular and beautiful place to introduce it than the Mauna Lani Resort.”

The Big Island “Talk Story” Film Festival is a celebration of narrative filmmaking, with free family films under the stars at The Shops at Mauna Lani, international features and shorts screened at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii and Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows, stellar social events, celebrity receptions, awards and much more in an outstanding island setting.

For submission rules and application visit www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com.  For further information call 808-883-0394.