‘Twilight’ and ‘Carrie’ Stars Come Out to Shine at Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i

Portia Doubleday, “Carrie’s” nemesis in the current re-telling of Steven King’s wildly popular story, and Jackson Rathbone, star of the epic “Twilight” film series, will attend Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i next week as celebrity honorees. Seeming to specialize in the darkly complex characters that today’s movie-lovers crave, Doubleday and Rathbone are young actors on the rise.

Portia Doubleday

Portia Doubleday

Portia Doubleday most recently co-starred as bad girl Chris Hargensen in “Carrie,” and played a cameo role as the sex surrogate in Spike Jonze’ critically acclaimed film “Her.” She also co-starred in 20th Century Fox’s “Big Momma’s: Like Father, Like Son,” and had a recurring role on the ABC comedy series “Mr. Sunshine.” Her first leading role was with Michael Cera in “Youth in Revolt,” named one of the ten best films of the year by the National Board of Review.

Jackosn Rathbone

Jackson Rathbone

Best known for his role as Jasper Hale in the hugely successful “Twilight” franchise, Jackson Rathbone has been an international presence in film since 2007. Originally from Texas, Jackson quickly found roles in both movies and television, earning recognition for his turn as a serial killer in “Criminal Minds.” Starring in major international box office hits such as the blockbuster “Twilight” series and “The Last Airbender,” Rathbone will also appear in the upcoming super-natural independent suspense thriller “The Dead Men.”

BIFF invites the public to exclusive soirees in honor of Doubleday and Rathbone on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, 5-7 p.m. at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i. Events begin in the Lehua Theatre with a video retrospective of the actor’s career, in-depth interview and Q&A, then stroll into Wailana Gardens for elegant pupu reception, with wines from Kenwood Vineyard, Kona Brewing Company beers, and an opportunity for informal networking in a luxury resort setting. Advance tickets are required ($35).

Doubleday and Rathbone will also attend the exciting Golden Honu Awards Brunch on Monday, May 26, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. The champagne brunch buffet in the Kilohana Room is open to the public with advance reservations required ($50). Winning films and Audience Choice Feature and Short will be announced during brunch. Audience Choice films will be presented Monday evening, following a stellar concert by award-winning Hawaiian musician WILLIE K.

Willie K

More highlights of BIFF include free family films at The Shops at Mauna Lani, two sets of daytime movies in the Lehua Theatre and nightly double features at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i Plantation Estate, screenwriting workshops and numerous opportunities to meet and interact with filmmakers and film-lovers from near and far.

Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i is a celebration of independent narrative films and filmmaking, taking place May 22-26, 2014. Major sponsors include The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, The Shops at Mauna Lani and Hawaii Tourism Authority/Hawai‘i County CPEP. For complete schedule information and tickets, stop by the information desk at The Shops at Mauna Lani starting May 21, visit www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com or call (808) 883-0394.

 

2014 Waimea Ocean Film Festival Unveils Films, Filmmakers, Speakers and Special Guests

The 2014 Waimea Ocean Film Festival (Ocean Film) offers an exciting lineup of films, special guests, intimate coffee talks, Q&As, exhibits, receptions and morning activities, running non-stop January 2-10.

Waimea Ocean Film Festival 2014

The festival opens on January 2, with films playing simultaneously from January 2-5 at multiple venues in Waimea (Kahilu Theatre, HPA Gates, Parker Theatre), and showings at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i January 2-4. On January 6, the festival moves to Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, where Eddie Kamae will share a few songs after the opening night film.

The festival brings over 50 films to the big screen this year, most of which are world, U.S., Hawai‘i or Big Island premieres, and all of which are exceptional. On the cultural side, the festival weaves a rich offering, with films by Eddie and Myrna Kamae about the history, culture and music of the islands, a presentation by Hula Preservation Society with historical footage and dances and discussion by hula kupuna, and the showing of the 1951 remake of the 20th Century Fox film Bird of Paradise, with an introduction by local lead Queenie Dowsett.

In this vein, KGMB’s Brother’s Cazimero shares the story of this musical duo, with producer Phil Arnone and writer Robert Pennybacker in attendance to answer questions about the film. The Voyager Exhibit features the upcoming worldwide voyage of Hokule‘a, and will include an 8×13- foot map of the world, showing Hokule‘a planned route, along with interactive exhibits about life on the canoe, and the work of National Geographic photographer Nicholas DeVore III. The exhibit opens with a blessing and ceremony at Kahilu Theatre 4 p.m. January 2. ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center also joins the festival this year, with a presentation on Wayfinding, complete with star compass and a full-dome star show.

For inspiration, speaker and author Alan Cohen returns as one of the presenters in Finding Joe, to host a workshop on the Hero’s Journey. National Medal of Arts award recipient and composer Morten Lauridsen attends the festival this year along with the film about his life and work, Shining Night, and will accompany a local chorus in a performance of one or two of his pieces. And, Botso, a beautiful film about a music teacher who made his way to Morro Bay from Stalinist Georgia against all odds, is sure to warm the audience heart.

On the thought-provoking side, Hot Water, produced by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Don Rogers, explores the legacy of uranium mining in the west, including the possibility of our Fukushima-like event. Gasland 2, an equally compelling sequel to Academy Award-nominated Gasland, comes to the festival with director Josh Fox in attendance to talk about the film. The Last Ocean is a stunning film about the Ross Sea, and GMO OMG, Plastic Paradise, and More Than Honey all provide insight into the issues around us. For those who missed them, 2013 People’s Choice winners Chasing Ice and North of the Sun will also show one more time.

For adventure, the festival offers a heart-pounding and heart-warming selection of surf films, along with a slide presentation and exhibit by 1960s surf photographer and former Reyn’s CEO Tim McCullough. In partnership with Bruce Brown films, Ocean Film launches the 50th anniversary tour of The Endless Summer. And, local HPA graduate Alison Teal premieres the latest installments in her series Alison’s Adventures: Blue Duck Station and The Lost Island of the Firewalkers.

M. Sanjayan, an Emmy nominated news contributor and the lead scientist for The Nature Conservancy, returns to the festival to share a sneak preview of a star-studded series produced by James Cameron, The Years of Living Dangerously, which will be aired on Showtime in April. Dawn Lippert, who leads the Energy Excelerator, a program of the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research (PICHTR), joins the festival to talk about innovations in energy technology and investing in a clean energy future. The Crash Reel, directed by Academy Award-nominated director Lucy Walker (The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom), and currently under consideration for an Academy Award nomination, will have its Hawai‘i premiere at the festival.

Receptions include a high-octane, surf-themed opening night at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i on January 2 (1960s surf attire optional), leading into the launch of the 50th anniversary tour of The Endless Summer. The Taste of the Island January 5 at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel again features the culinary delights of many of the island’s top chefs and has grown into a festival highlight. And, new this year, the closing night reception at Four Seasons moves to Hoku Amphitheatre on January 10, for what promises to be a beautiful evening with island fare, music and film.

Selections and film synopsis from the 2014 film lineup include:

  • Alison’s Adventures: Blue Duck Station and Lost Island of the Firewalkers (USA/Alison Teal Blehert-Koehn*)
  • Botso (USA /Tom Walters*)
  • Brothers Cazimero (USA/Phil Arnone* and Robert Pennybacker*)
  • Energy Excelerator (USA/Dawn Lippert*)
  • Finding Joe (USA/Alan Cohen*)
  • Gasland 2 (USA/Josh Fox*)
  • GMO OMG (USA/Jeremy Seifert)
  • Good Morning Miyazaki (Canada/Matt Wescott)
  • Hot Water (USA/Lizabeth Rogers)
  • Jane’s Journey (Germany/Lorenz Knauer)
  • Li‘a: The Legacy of a Hawaiian Man (USA/Eddie Kamae*)
  • Sons of Hawai’i (USA/Eddie Kamae*)
  • Maverick Moments (USA/Rocky Romano*)
  • More than Honey (Germany/Markus Imhoof)
  • Ocean Frontiers (USA/Karen and Ralf Meyer)
  • Paniolo O’Hawaii (USA/Edgy Lee*)
  • Paradise Found (USA/ Tom Swartwout)
  • Queenie Dowsett: Spirit a Dancer (USA/Qweenie Dowsett*)
  • Red Gold (USA/Ben Knight)
  • Sea of Rock (Germany/Sebastian Doerk)
  • Serendipity (Australia/Simon Lamb)
  • Shining Night: A Portrait of Composer Morten Lauridsen (Switzerland/Morten Lauridsen*)
  • Silver of the Sea (Norway/Are Pilskog)
  • Sine Qua Non (USA/Richard Yelland)
  • Snows of the Nile (USA/Neil Losin)
  • Bud Browne’s Surfing the 50s (USA/Anna Trent Moore*)
  • The Coral Reef (Spain/Pepe San Martin)
  • The Crash Reel (USA/Lucy Walker)
  • The Last Mountain (USA/Bill Haney)
  • The Last Ocean (New Zealand/Peter Young)
  • The Questions We Ask (Canada/Bruce Kirkby)
  • What If (Germany/Sebastian Doerk)

*Filmmakers attending Ocean Film and leading a discussion

Every January, this dynamic festival immerses participants in a greater understanding and awareness of the ocean and island culture through exceptional films, talks, exhibits and activities. Films fall into the basic categories of ocean experience (such as surfing and paddling); ocean environment—including things we do on land that impact the sea; and island culture. Inspirational films are also screened.

Participants can begin the day with sunrise yoga on the beach, power up with coffee at the morning talks and then head out for a day of thought-provoking film and discussion.

The Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel is offering discounted room rates to festival pass holders from January 2-10. Starbucks awards a prize to Ocean Film attendees who complete the festival’s 20-Punch card, showing they attended 20 film or presentation blocks.

For the latest updates on films and speakers, follow the festival on Facebook, www.facebook.com/waimeaoceanfilmfestival, visit www.waimeaoceanfilm.org or email info@waimeaoceanfilm.org.

The full lineup of films and the complete festival program will be available to download at www.waimeaoceanfilm.org around December 21. Festival passes can be purchased via the website or at 808-854-6095. Kama‘aina/early rates are available in advance by contacting the festival office through December 21.

Call For Entries – Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i

Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid Hawai‘i is accepting film entry submissions through February 1, 2014.  Acclaimed as one of MovieMaker Magazine’s “Coolest Film Festivals,” the popular event series for filmmakers and film lovers takes place May 22-26, 2014 in an elegant oceanfront setting along Hawai‘i Island’s luxury Kohala Coast.

Kate McGinnon

Kate McKinnon

Specializing in narrative filmmaking, the “talk story film festival” includes multi-location screenings, social events and networking opportunities, celebrity receptions, screenwriting workshops and more.  A closing night “Best of the Fest” features a top Hawaiian music concert and movies chosen by our audience from Festival entries. Last year’s celebrity honorees included Vincent Kartheiser, “Pete Campbell” on the award-winning drama “Mad Men,” and Kate McKinnon, featured player on the legendary “Saturday Night Live.”

Deadlines.  Narrative short films (30 minutes or less) and feature length (60 minutes or more) completed after January 1, 2013 will be considered.  Deadlines are:

  • Early Bird – November 1, 2013.  Early Bird Entry Fees: $50 Feature, $40 Short, $30 Student
  • Regular – January 1, 2014.  Regular Entry Fees: $60 Feature, $50 Short, $35 Student
  • Late/Final February 1, 2014.  Late Entry Fees:  $70 Feature, $60 Short, $40 Student

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

Awards.  “Golden Honu Awards” will be presented to the Best Feature and Best Short in Family, Student, Animated, Foreign, Hawai‘i and Audience Choice categories at a special Awards Brunch to honor the filmmakers and their works on Monday, May 26, 2014.  Numerous alumni films have won awards at prestigious film festivals around the world, and achieved commercial success in the industry.

Success stories.  Last year’s feature winner “Chasing Shakespeare” starring Danny Glover and Graham Greene continues to win acclaim at international film festivals, including AFI Cannes World Peace Initiative.  The animated made-in-Hawai‘i film “Strange Frame” is also enjoying success on DVD and filmmakers are creatively organizing the island’s first sci-fi convention, “Hawaiicon,” next fall.

2012 films “Searching for Sonny”, “Qwerty”, “The Italian Key” and numerous others have enjoyed success on film festival circuits, as have 2011’s “The Dead Inside”, “Uncle Melvin’s Apartment” and numerous other BIFF alumni film projects.  The comedy “Get A Job,” by Maui filmmaker Brian Kohne was screened in Spain during the Marbella Film Festival and numerous other festivals around the world, and has been released on DVD.  Kohne and Malama Pono Productions are working on a new film, “Kuleana,” slated for production in 2014.

“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.

Photo by Kirk Aeder

Photo by Kirk Aeder

“Our resort partnership has been win-win from day one, and we are extremely proud to be taking the Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i into its ninth year,” said Executive Director Leo Sears.  “We’ve watched filmmakers grow and mature into accomplished artists.  We’ve seen technology coming within reach of more and younger filmmakers.  We have mainstream celebrities, Hawaiian entertainers and chefs contacting us to offer their support and participation.  We’ve reached a new level, and it gets better every year.”

The Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i is a celebration of narrative filmmaking, with free family films under the stars, international features and shorts, stellar social events, celebrity receptions, screenwriting workshops, film awards and much more in an outstanding island setting.  Anchor sponsors include: The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority/Hawai‘i County Department of Research and Development CPEP, Redeeming Light International Inc. and many other generous sponsors and supporters.

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

2013 Big Island Film Festival Award Winners Announced

The 2013 Big Island Film Festival Awards Brunch was held today at the Fairmont Orchid and the following films were announced as the winners in their respective categories:

Audience Choice Awards
Short: Good Dog

Written and Directed by Don Sniffin, Produced by Don and Kathy Sniffin.  Click for more information on the movie

Written and Directed by Don Sniffin, Produced by Don and Kathy Sniffin. Click for more information on the movie

Feature: Chasing Shakespeare

Best Animated Short: Searchlight Serenade
Best Hawaii Short: Out of Focus
Best Student Short: Last Call
Best Family Short: Lift
Best Foreign Short: Spaghetti for Two
Best Short: A Perfect Day

An Adam Rubin Film.  Click for more information

An Adam Rubin Film. Click for more information

Barbara Award: The Invention
Best Animated Feature: Strange Frame
Best Hawaii Feature: The Land of Eb

Click for more information

Click for more information

Best Family Feature: The Sound of Crickets at Night
Best Foreign Feature: Stenwyken
Best Feature: Chasing Shakespeare

Don’t forget that HAPA plays tonight at the Best of the Fest and a donation from each ticket sold is made to the Hawaii Island Food Basket.  Doors open at 4:30 at the Fairmont Orchid.

Hollywood Screenwriter Ron Osborn to Teach Big Island Film Festival Workshops

Veteran screenwriter Ron Osborn shares his tried and true techniques and insider tips to create winning screenplays, in Big Island Film Festival workshops, Saturday, May 25, 2013.  Two screenwriting workshops, “What’s So Funny?” and “Ripped from the Newspapers,” will be held at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i Promenade Ballroom.  Limited space is available at $50 per session, with advance registration required (www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com).

Ron Osborn

Ron Osborn

Ron Osborn’s wonderful words have been making us smile for over 35 years in favorite TV comedies like “Mork & Mindy,” “Night Court” and “Moonlighting” and feature films like “Duckman.”  His “What’s So Funny?” class, from 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon explores the fine line that separates comedy from drama, along with today’s current comedy market, and how to approach just about any subject from a comedic standpoint.  “What’s So Funny?” promises to be an entertaining and energizing way to kick off the day with Ron Osborn.

In the afternoon, from 1 to 3:30 p.m., “Ripped from the Newspapers” is all about the art of adaptation.  With the mastery that created award-winning dramas like “West Wing,” Osborn shares his approach to finding inspiration in existing news stories or events, classic stories or previously filmed stories, and then making them your own. Using proven strategies that earned him Emmy, Humanitas and Writer’s Guild Award nominations, Osborn will provide valuable insight and perspective to screenwriters at any level.

Osborn has over 35 years of experience in the film industry and presently teaches for Dreamworks.  He also has a consulting website, NoBSscreenwriting.com, where he welcomes questions from writers.  His spec feature “Visitation” has been optioned, and he has just adapted the supernatural novel “The Elementals” for The Orphanage Animation Studios.  He also currently has three features being sent out by his reps, plus an hour-long pilot and a half-hour show that was developed with John Cleese.

The Big Island “Talk Story” Film Festival is a celebration of independent narrative films and filmmaking, taking place May 23-27, 2013.  A total of 54 free Family Films (up to PG13) and ‘Festival Films’ (up to R) are screened in three different venues during the five-day festival, which also includes celebrity receptions and salutes, social and networking events and “Best of the Fest” event with concert by HAPA and silent auction to benefit Fisher House at Tripler Army Medical Center. 

Tickets are available for individual events, or a variety of passes.  New this year, designed with food and wine lovers in mind, the “Reception Pass” admits attendance at four ultra-delicious celebrity soirees, including the invitation-only Mayor’s Welcome Reception on Thursday.  With VIP hors d’oeuvres luxuriously catered by The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i chefs, and a different upscale menu every night, the Reception Pass is a good value and great opportunity to mingle with the filmmakers and stars, enjoy stellar cuisine and savor fine wines by Kenwood Vineyards.

Big Island Film Festival’s major sponsors include The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, The Shops at Mauna Lani and Hawaii Tourism Authority/Hawai‘i County CPEP.  For complete schedule information and tickets, visit www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com or call (808) 883-0394.

HAPA in Concert at 2013 Big Island Film Festival “Best of the Fest”

The dynamic musical duo HAPA, acclaimed as “the Simon and Garfunkel of Hawai‘i,” will take the stage for Big Island Film Festival’s “Best of the Fest” concert at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i on Monday, May 27, 2013.

HAPA

Among the top-selling and most enduring acts in contemporary Hawaiian music history, HAPA has been described by Al Rudis in the Long Beach Press-Telegram as “a musical storm.”  The soulful singing of Ron Kuala‘au and stirring guitar strings of Barry Flanagan combine to create what Rudis calls “music with beautiful melodies, soaring harmonies and sweeping rhythms that is immediately captivating… And between the vocal gems are haunting instrumentals. Hearing HAPA’s music, the listener might feel if the Hawaiian Islands could be turned into a movie, this would be its soundtrack.”

Ten-time Nā Hōkū Hanohano award-winners, HAPA has been heard in countless national TV shows and feature films, and was showcased in a PBS documentary hosted by Peter Fonda. Fresh from the recording studio, Flanagan and Kuala‘au are currently on tour, performing 25+ shows spanning both coasts in many of the most prestigious venues in the country.

Tickets for “Best of the Fest” with HAPA can be purchased online at www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com. Best of the Fest tickets are $40 at the door ($30 kama‘āina) and $35 in advance ($25 kama‘āina), $10 keiki 6-12.  Some chairs will be available as well as no-host bar, gourmet pupus and other movie snacks (no coolers please).

Best of the Fest includes:
•    Silent Auction to benefit Fisher House at Tripler Army Medical Center, 5-7 p.m.
•    HAPA Concert, 5-7 p.m.
•    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.

The Big Island “Talk Story” Film Festival is a celebration of independent narrative films and filmmaking, taking place May 23-27.  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 www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com or call (808) 883-0394.

 

2013 Big Island Film Festival Announces Official Selections

Now in its 8th year, the Big Island Film Festival has announced 54 Official Selections for 2013, to be screened May 23-27 at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i and The Shops at Mauna Lani.  The “talk story” film festival is a celebration of narrative films and filmmaking, with free family films, nightly double features for grown-ups with gourmet food and no-host bar, and “meet-the-stars” celebrity social events.

BIFF2013

Notable selections include the inter-cultural romance “Chasing Shakespeare” starring Danny Glover.  Continuing the legend of their ancestral Lightning Clan, a Native American family sends a talented daughter to reach for her destiny on Broadway.

“Home,” with Gbenga Akinnagbe (“The Good Wife”) follows a mentally-ill father on the slippery path to recovery and re-connection with his son.  The film’s ensemble cast includes Emmy-winning actor James McDaniel (“NYPD Blue”).  The short film “Liberator” stars Lou Ferrigno as a washed-up super hero dealing with his past, and co-stars Ed Asner.

Top contenders from Hawai‘i State and Island include “Strange Frame” by G.B. Hajim, Island Planet One Productions (East Hawai‘i).  This animated sci-fi romance won Best Feature at the Dragon Con Independent Film Festival, with the famous voices of Claudia Black, Tara Strong, Ron Glass, Tim Curry, Alan Tudyk, Michael Dorn and George Takei, to name a few.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, a slice-of-life drama, “The Land of Eb,” directed by Andrew Williamson, tells a touching story of Marshallese coffee workers in today’s South Kona.

Another Big Island film, “Bullitt and the Mystery o the Devil’s Root” is an island adventure,  produced, acted, and directed by Kona filmmakers Richard Gonzalez and Rockwood, with Shawn Lathrop, Darrin “DC” Carlson, Mary Croix, and a great ’68 Mustang.  In “Parts of the Same Circle,” the Honolulu team of Eric Nemoto and Denny Hironaga use intertwining stories and familiar local characters to create a kaleidoscopic (at times very funny) look at life and death in Hawai‘i.  And, from the Marshall Islands, Jack Niedenthal’s “The Sound of Crickets at Night” summons a mysterious ancient deity to reunite a Bikini Atoll elder with his family.

On Thursday, May 23 at 7:30 p.m., BIFF’s Grand Opening at The Shops at Mauna Lani will include a free sampler of movies with seven short films.  One of most unique, the animated film, “Searchlight Serenade: Big Bands in the Japanese American Incarceration Camps,”shares stories from the WWII-era big band musicians and singers who made history with their music.  The entire community is invited to come and welcome filmmakers to the Island.

The Official Selections for BIFF 2013 are:

  • A Perfect Day
  • Balancing Emma
  • Boys Are Us
  • Broken
  • Bullitt and the Mystery of the Devil’s Root
  • Bumsicle
  • Caterpillar’s Kimono
  • Chasing Shakespeare
  • Coffee, God and Gasoline
  • Fight Scene
  • Frame of Mind
  • Gabby’s Wish
  • Good Dog
  • Hangdog
  • Hatch
  • Home
  • Homecoming
  • If I Were A Bell
  • Last Call
  • Liberator
  • Lift
  • Lipstick Lies
  • Lost Dog
  • Monster in Paris
  • Offline
  • Out of Focus
  • Paper
  • Parts of the Same Circle
  • Pervertigo
  • Searchlight Serenade: Big Bands in the Japanese American Incarceration Camps
  • Shoot the Moon
  • Sidewalk Wars
  • Six Letter Word
  • Spaghetti for Two
  • Stenwyken
  • Stigma
  • Strange Frame
  • Sway Away
  • The Assistant
  • The Equestrian
  • The Future
  • The Intruder
  • The Invention
  • The Land of Eb
  • The Lion’s Den
  • The Perfection of Anna
  • The Regret of the Doubt
  • The Sound of Crickets at Night
  • The Spare
  • The Visit
  • Upside Down
  • What if
  • You Got This!
  • Your Place or Mine

A limited number of ballots will be given to audience members during each screening.  Votes are tallied at the end of the festival, to determine the Audience-choice Feature and Short to be screened at Best of the Fest on Monday, May 27.

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 Hawai‘i Tourism Authority/Hawai‘i County CPEP.

For complete schedule information and tickets, visit www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com.

 

Fairmont-Orchid Sweeps Awards at Big Island Chocolate Festival

The Fairmont-Orchid, Hawaii swept the awards at the sold-out Big Island Chocolate Festival March 23. The Fairmont’s culinary team earned three “bests,” winning Best Savory and Best Sweet (plated dessert), and took the People’s Choice Award for their savory offering of a Cocoa-Dusted Spicy Ahi Cone with Orange Shiso Mayo, Truffle Orange Vinaigrette and Goat Cheese.

L to R: Fairmont Exec Pastry Chef Daniel Sampson, Dr. Nat Bletter of Madre Chocolate, Elena Garcia of Elena Chocolate, Fairmont Chef Stephen Rouelle and Fairmont Exec Chef Hubert Des Marais. Photo by Shortini Photography.

L to R: Fairmont Exec Pastry Chef Daniel Sampson, Dr. Nat Bletter of Madre Chocolate, Elena Garcia of Elena Chocolate, Fairmont Chef Stephen Rouelle and Fairmont Exec Chef Hubert Des Marais. Photo by Shortini Photography.

Other winners were Elena Chocolate for Best Bon Bon and Madre Chocolate for Best Bean to Bar. Twenty different chefs and chocolatiers vied in the festival taste-off that was critiqued by a team of eight judges. Besides indulging in tastes at the event’s culinary stations, attendees could get a chocolate “tattoo” and watch Guittard Executive Pastry Chef Donald Wressell put the finishing touches on a towering, 40-pound chocolate sculpture.

“All of the taste-off entries were spectacular and mahalo to all our culinary participants and celebrity judges,” said Farsheed Bonakdar. “We appreciate the support of the community—our attendees and volunteers—who made the evening a great success. A special mahalo to Chef Teresa (Cheech) Shurilla who created and facilitated the student competition.”

Taste-off judges included eight, off-island chefs: chocolate consultant Stanton Ho, George Mavrothalassitis of Chef Mavro restaurant, Bret Pafford of Gannon’s restaurant, Abigail Langlas of Cakeworks, Christopher Speere of the University of Hawaii Maui College, Rhonda Ashton-Chavez of Four Seasons Maui at Wailea, Orly Yadao of Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa and David Brown of Kapiolani Community College.

The sold-out event at The Fairmont-Orchid benefitted the $1 million “Equip the Kitchen” campaign for the future Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and efforts to build a community amphitheater at the Waldorf-inspired Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.

Presented by the Kona Cacao Association, the gala was the culmination of three days of chocolate-inspired activities that included culinary and agriculture-related sessions and a college competition in chocolate desserts. Taking first place in the college competition, which was held earlier on Saturday, was University of Hawai‘i Maui College, followed by Hawai‘i Community College-West Hawai‘i and Hawai‘i Community College-East Hawai‘i.

The Big Island Chocolate Festival is presented by the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. The mission and goal of this new association is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawai‘i by presenting BICF as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. Mahalo to 2013 BICF sponsors The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, Guittard Chocolate, Mahalo Broadcasting-The Wave, KKOA, LAVA 105, The Shops at Mauna Lani, Dolphin Journeys, Hawaii Coffee Connection, Johnson Brothers Distributors, West Hawaii Today, Waialua Estate Chocolate, Alex’s Westside Wines, Tinguely Development, BMW of Hawaii, Fair Wind-Big Island Ocean Guides, Barry Callebaut, Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, Gourmet Foods Hawaii, Cocoa Outlet and Kulana Foods. Info: www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com.

 

 

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.

Prelude Event Added to Big Island Chocolate Festival

Rarely does a single word conjure such anticipation—evoking emotion, desire, comfort and a complete sensory overload. That’s the power of chocolate.

Chocolate Festival

The 2013 Big Island Chocolate Festival (BICF) offers triple the fun with three days of intoxicating chocolate activities culminating with the festival gala 5:30-10 p.m. Saturday, March 23 at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i. In addition to relishing a host of savory and sweet culinary offerings prepared by top chefs and confectioners, explore chocolate-infused wines and tantalize your taste buds at the meaty mole bar accompanied by fresh salad fare.

Headlining this second annual festival is Chef Donald Wressell of Guittard chocolates and Chef Christophe Feyt, soon-to-be executive pastry chef at the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino. Both celebrity chefs will be featured at Saturday culinary demonstrations and Chef Wressell is creating a deliciously decadent chocolate sculpture at the March 23rd gala—bring your camera.

A Washington resident, Wressell was named Pastry Chef of the Year at the 2005 National Pastry Team Championships. Feyt recently served on the U.S. team that took fourth place in the Coupe Du Monde de la Patisserie—the prestigious World Pastry Cup Festival in France.

Wressell will also appear at the Big Island Chocolate Festival Prelude 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 21 at The Shops at Mauna Lani. The early-evening soiree offers pupus prepared by Monstera, Tommy Bahama’s Restaurant and Bar, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Just Tacos Mexican Grill and Cantina. Sampling Guittard chocolates and a variety of wine, along with the chance to talk story with Chef Wressell, will highlight the evening along with live entertainment by the Bill Noble Trio. Tickets are $50 in advance and $60 at the door and available for purchase at The Shops at Mauna Lani 4D Movie Ride and the management office.

Also on the three-day chocolate adventure are cacao plantation tours at the Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory in Keauhou and a compelling lineup of seminars and demonstrations, plus a student competition at The Fairmont.

During the gala, vote for the People’s Choice Award from a host of categories including mouth-watering bonbons.  Also enjoy live entertainment by Bump City, chocolate body painting, fine wines and hand-crafted ales, including Kona Brewing Company’s Black Sand Porter made with local cacao. Also on tap is a silent auction with fun activity and dining opportunities.

“We are delighted to be the host hotel for the second annual Big Island Chocolate Festival,” shared Executive Chef Hubert Des Marais. “To be a part of such a wonderful event in partnership with the Kona Cacao Association is an honor and a privilege, not to mention the delicious culinary creations from Hawai‘i Island’s best chefs.”

Presented by the Kona Cacao Association, Inc., BICF benefits the $1 million “Equip the Kitchen” campaign for the future Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and efforts to build a community amphitheater at the Waldorf-inspired Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.

Gala presale tickets are $75 and can be conveniently purchased online, charged by phone at 808-329-2522 or purchased at Kailua Candy Company and Kona Wine Market. Tickets will be $85 at the door. New to the event are VIP tables of 10 for $1000; buy online or contact the VIP coordinator at 808-938-2243. To reserve a chocolate plantation tour, phone 808-322-2626; for details on seminars and online ticket sales, visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com.

A special event rate of $249/night for Partial Ocean View accommodations including daily breakfast for two is offered at The Fairmont Orchid. Contact reservations for details at 808-885-2000 or 800-845-9905 and mention “Big Island Chocolate Festival.”

 

 

2013 Big Island Chocolate Festival Coming Up

It’s where you can feast on rich, creamy chocolate to your heart’s content! Satisfy all your chocolate cravings—and more—at the second annual Big Island Chocolate Festival (BICF) Saturday, March 23, 2013 at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i.

The highlight of the decidedly decadent festival is the colorful and tasty 5:30-10 p.m. gala with tempting sweet and savory chocolate creations prepared by top island chefs, chocolatiers and confectioners.  Savor a friendly culinary competition where you can vote for People’s Choice in a host of categories including mouth-watering bonbons.  Also enjoy live entertainment by LT Smooth; dancing; fine wines and hand-crafted ales; plus a silent auction.

“We are delighted to be the host hotel for the second annual Big Island Chocolate Festival,” shared Executive Chef Hubert Des Marais. “To be a part of such a wonderful event in partnership with the Kona Cacao Association is an honor and a privilege, not to mention the delicious culinary creations from Hawai‘i Island’s best chefs.”

Presented by the Kona Cacao Association, Inc., BICF benefits the $1 million “Equip the Kitchens” campaign for the future Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and efforts to build a community amphitheatre at the Waldorf-inspired Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.

Other chocolatey fun includes daytime cacao farm tours and compelling educational demonstrations by chocolatiers and cacao farmers. Learn about what it takes to grow the bean that makes chocolate—and why Hawai‘i is the only state that commercially grows cacao—plus how to turn cacao, or cocoa, into the coveted “food of the gods.”

A veritable Who’s Who in the world of chocolate—both locally and nationally— has been invited to serve as celebrity culinary judges and educational presenters. Last year’s inaugural event headlined “Mr. Chocolate” Jacques Torres of New York City as a celebrity judge.

Ticket sales for Hawai‘i’s premiere chocolate event start January 1 and early-bird gala tickets are $60 until 100 are sold.  After that, presale tickets are $75, then $85 at the door. Tickets will also be available at Kona Wine Market and Kona Pacific Public Charter School. For event details and online tickets, visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com.

A special event rate of $309/night for Garden View accommodations including daily breakfast for two is offered at The Fairmont Orchid. Contact reservations for details at 808-885-2000 or 800-845-9905 and mention “Big Island Chocolate Festival.”

The Big Island Chocolate Festival is presented by the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. The mission and goal of this new association is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawai‘i by presenting BICF as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. For information, visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com.

 

2013 Waimea Ocean Film Festival Coming Up – GoPro Joins Ocean Film Fest

The Waimea Ocean Film Festival (Ocean Film) offers a stellar lineup of films and special guests for 2013. The festival headlines several TEDx and TED global speakers; world, US and Hawai’i premieres; plus a non-stop schedule of stunning and thought-provoking films, breakfast talks and special cultural exhibits and events. The festival runs January 3-11, starting at Waimea and Kohala Coast venues before moving to Four Seasons Resort Hualālai with the first showing at the resort the evening of January 7.

Waimea Ocean Film Festival

Each year, the festival immerses participants in a greater understanding and awareness of the ocean and island culture. The 2013 event opens on January 3 with a tribute to the late Jake Eberts, including a compilation of his work, and the showing of the latest film he produced, Hidden Beauty/Wings of Life, presented by director Louie Schwartzberg.

Producer Paula Dupré Pesmen and director Jeff Orlowski will be on hand during the festival to talk about the making of Chasing Ice, currently under consideration for a 2013 Academy Award nomination. Jon Shenk joins the festival for a discussion of The Island President, along with some 30 other filmmakers and speakers, traveling from as far away as New Zealand, Norway and the UK.

Ocean Film is pleased to welcome M. Sanjayan as a guest speaker on ocean health. Sanjayan is a CBS correspondent on science and environment, a chief scientist for the Nature Conservancy, has appeared on NBC’s Today Show and David Letterman, was a TED Global 2010 speaker, has hosted documentaries for the Discovery Channel, BBC, and National Geographic TV, and is one of 20 senior advisors to the Clinton Global initiative.

Among the other outstanding festival speakers, Ocean Film presents Noah Idechong, founding executive director of the Palau Conservation Society and the elected speaker of the Palau National Congress, to elaborate on the Palau experience in reversing the deterioration of its reefs and depletion of its fisheries to become one of the world’s leading dive destinations. Dr. Adam Pack, associate professor at UH-Hilo, will share his 18 years of studying the behavior and biology of humpback whales in their Hawaiian breeding and calving grounds. Alan Cohen, inspirational author and featured speaker in the film Finding Joe, will speak about the work of Joseph Campbell and the Hero’s Journey, while Louie Schwartzberg, whose presentation on gratitude was the most popular TEDx talk of all time, will discuss gratitude at the festival, along with a showing of the film with the same name.

GoPro joins Ocean Film in 2013 Creative Director Bradford Schmidt talks about the beginnings of GoPro, the evolution of the camera’s capabilities and design and what it’s like to work with the world’s most versatile camera. GoPro athletes Jaime Sterling, Alana Blanchard and Monyca Byrne Wickey join the festival for a “Best of GoPro” evening January 3.

Other festival activities include an exhibit and presentation on the 2013 worldwide voyage of Hokulea, the artist works of Christian Enns and Becky Holman, a Barela Art Gallery reception, a cultural evening featuring a talk on wayfinding under the stars January 9, the Taste of the Island culinary event January 6, and a book signing with Kathy Kohner Zuckerman, the real “Gidget,” who will talk about the book written by her father that started it all, Gidget: The Little Girl with Big Ideas. Participants can begin the day with sunrise yoga on the beach or outrigger canoe lessons, power up with coffee at the morning breakfast talks and then head out for a day of thought-provoking film and discussion.

A still frame from "Hokulea: Passing the Torch" one of the films shown last year.

A still frame from “Hokulea: Passing the Torch” one of the films shown last year.

Selections and film synopsis from the 2013 film line up include:

  • Chasing Ice / USA (Jeff Orlowski* Paula DuPré Pesmen*)
  • Duke Kahanamoku: Hawaii’s Soul / USA (Phil Arnone*)
  • The Endless Winter / UK (Matt Crocker, James Dean)
  • Finding Joe / USA (Pat Takaya Solomon) Alan Cohen* for Q&A
  • Gauchos del Mar / Argentina (Joaquín Azulay & Julián Azulay)
  • Going Vertical AUS (Poppy Walker)
  • Gratitude / USA (Louis Schwartzberg*)
  • Hidden Beauty/Wings of Life USA (Louis Schwartzberg*)
  • The Island President / USA (Jon Shenk*)
  • Jaws: Changing the Game / USA (Wangdu Hovey*)
  • Naked Ambition / UK (Joe Wihl, Oliver Gray)
  • Nona Beamer: A Legacy of Aloha / USA (Linda Kane*)
  • North of the Sun / Norway (Inge Wegge*, Jørn Ranum)
  • There Once was an Island: Te Henua e Nnoho / New Zealand (Briar March*)
  • The Tsunami and The Cherry Blossom / USA (Lucy Walker)
  • Under African Skies / USA (Joe Berlinger)
  • Waking the Green Tiger / Canada (Gary Marcuse)
  • The Water Tower (Pete McBride)
  • 2012: The Beginning (Shannon Kring Buset*)

*Filmmakers attending Ocean Film and leading a discussion

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel are offering discounted rates to attendees purchasing a festival pass.

The Waimea Ocean Film Festival thanks all 2013 Film Festival partners. Mahalo to Go Pro, San Disc Foundation, Four Seasons Resort Hualālai, The Fairmont Orchid, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Hapuna Prince Resort, West Hawaii Today, Big Island Weekly, Hawaii Preparatory Academy (HPA), Big Island Brewhaus, Redwater Cafe, Parker School, Merrimans, gaiacreative, Ke Ola Magazine, Joe Fagundes III (Kona Law), Maile Charters, Blue Wilderness Dive Adventures, and Starbucks Coffee.

For the latest updates on films and speakers, follow the festival on Facebook, www.facebook.com/waimeaoceanfilmfestival, or visit www.waimeaoceanfilm.org.

TICKET INFORMATION – Waimea and Four Seasons film passes for the festival are on sale now.  Passes may be purchased online or by calling the festival office at 808.854.6095.

 

Christmas at the Fairmont

It’s a festive culinary arts extravaganza Saturday, Dec. 8 when 20 top local chefs and confectioners present enticing entrees and decadent desserts at Christmas at the Fairmont-Dining with the Chefs. The event will kick off with the lighting of The Fairmont Orchid’s spectacular coconut Christmas tree.

The holiday gala is 5:30-8 p.m. at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii and benefits local culinary scholarships and the Equip the Kitchens campaign for the future Hawaii Community College-Palamanui campus. In its 24th year, Dining with the Chefs is presented by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Kona Kohala Chefs Assn.

“Our local chefs pull out all the stops at this event and prepare spectacular culinary offerings,” says Devin Lowder, Kona Kohala Chefs president. “Each one tries to outdo the other in taste and presentation. It’s a holiday for the tastebuds.”

Participants include a Who’s Who of West Hawaii’s top chefs and confectioners: Hubert Des Marais of The Fairmont Orchid, Peter Pahk of the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Clayton Arakawa of The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows, James Babian of Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, David Abrahams of Red Water Café, Stennis Hirayama of Tommy Bahama’s, Ken Schloss of Huggo’s, Nancy Edney of Tropical Dreams Ice Cream and Cathy Smoot Barrett of Kailua Candy Company—to name a few.

Chefs use primarily locally sourced ingredients to prepare tantalizing cuisine—all accompanied by handcrafted ales, wines and 100 percent Kona coffee. On display will be specially crafted gingerbread houses; the eye-popping creations are the work of local culinary students under the direction of Pastry Instructor Fernand Guiot. This year’s gingerbread display will have a vintage Hawaiian look.

After voting for their favorite gingerbread house, attendees can enjoy jazz under the stars by the Kohala Quartet and participate in an exciting live auction.  Bid on exclusive, private dinner parties and receptions presented by local chefs and premiere, luxury hotel accommodations.

Also available by silent auction are local products, activities and dining opportunities—perfect for holiday gift-giving.

Ticket prices are $85 and can conveniently be purchased online at www.konakohalachefs.org. They are also for sale at Kona Wine Market, Clark Realty/Kona and Kailua Candy Company. Phone 329-2522 for info and to charge tickets by phone.

Special event room rates of $249 for Partial Ocean View and $239 for Garden View are offered, including breakfast for two and self-parking at The Fairmont. Contact reservations for details at 808-885-2000 or 800-845-9905 and mention “Christmas at The Fairmont.”

For updates, visit Christmas at The Fairmont-Dining with the Chefs on facebook.

American Culinary Federation Kona Kohala Chefs Association: ACF is the largest, professional, non-profit organization for chefs and cooks in the nation. Founded in 1980, the Kona Kohala chapter is comprised of food service professionals, vendors, growers and culinary enthusiasts; www.konakohalachefs.org.

Hawaii’s Big Island Film Festival 2013 Accepting Entries

Hawaii’s Big Island Film Festival (BIFF) 2013, one of MovieMaker Magazine’s “25 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” and “25 Coolest Film Festivals,” is now accepting entries for the May 23-27 events at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i.  A celebration of narrative filmmaking in inspiring Hawai‘i Island settings, BIFF includes screenings, social events and networking opportunities, celebrity receptions, screenwriting workshops and more.  A closing night “Best of the Fest” features a top Hawaiian music concert and movies chosen by our audience from Festival entries. Last year’s celebrity honorees included Eloise Mumford (“The River”) and NBC’s award-winning Story/Career Consultant Jennifer Grisanti.

Eloise Mumford at the 2012 Big Island Film Festival

Deadlines.  Narrative short films (30 minutes or less) and feature length (60 minutes or more) completed after January 1, 2012 will be considered.  Deadlines are:

  • Early Bird – November 1, 2012.  Early Bird Entry Fees: $50 Feature, $40 Short, $30 Student
  • Regular – January 1, 2013.  Regular Entry Fees: $60 Feature, $50 Short, $35 Student
  • Late/Final February 1, 2013.  Late Entry Fees:  $70 Feature, $60 Short, $40 Student

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

Outdoor evening screenings (Kirk Aeder photo)

Awards.  BIFF 2013’s “Golden Honu” will be awarded to the Best Feature and Best Short in Family, Student, Animated, Foreign, Hawai‘i and Audience Choice categories at a special Awards Brunch to honor the filmmakers and their works on Monday, May 27, 2013.  Numerous alumni films have won awards at prestigious film festivals around the world, and achieved commercial success in the industry.

Kristina Anapau in front of the Fairmont Orchid at Mauna Lani

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

Success stories.  The made-in-Hawai‘i comedy “Get A Job,” was screened in Spain during the Marbella Film Festival and numerous other festivals around the world.  “Get A Job” is currently being shown in Hawai‘i theatres, prior to mainstream DVD release this fall.  From Canada, “Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy” continues to garner acclaim at international film festivals, and both the film DVD and its soundtrack are enjoying commercial success.

Get a Job... The Movie

2012 films “Searching for Sonny”, “Qwerty”, “The Italian Key” and numerous others have enjoyed success on film festival circuits, as have 2011’s “The Dead Inside”, “Uncle Melvin’s Apartment” and numerous other BIFF alumni film projects.  “The Drummond Will” (2011) has been acquired by House Lights Media Partners for Theatrical and Non-Theatrical North American distribution.  “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.

Leo Sears presents Sarah Wayne Callies the "No Ka Oi" Award

Leo Sears presents Sarah Wayne Callies the “No Ka Oi” Award in 2011 (Photo Courtesy of Devany Vickery-Davidson)

“It’s hard to believe we’re in production for the eighth annual Big Island Film Festival with our resort partners at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i,” said Executive Director Leo Sears.  “Thanks to them, and to our wonderful audiences, filmmaker family and supporters, we’re able to bring a little bit of the ‘Sundance’ experience to Hawai‘i.  Filmmakers from around the world have told me it’s one of the most inspiring and rewarding film festivals they’ve been to, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Jennifer Grisanti, Mayor Kenoi and Eloise Mumford at the 2012 Big Island Film Festival

The Big Island “Talk Story” Film Festival is a celebration of narrative filmmaking, with free family films under the stars, international features and shorts screened days and evenings at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, stellar social events, celebrity receptions, screenwriting workshops, film awards and much more in an outstanding island setting.  Anchor sponsors include: The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority/Hawai‘i County Department of Research and Development CPEP, Kenwood Vineyards, Redeeming Light International Inc. and many other generous sponsors and supporters.

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

Wordless Wednesday – I Found the Hidden Spa

I found the “Hidden Spa” at the Fairmont Orchid!

Eloise Mumford Awarded Golden Honu at the 2012 Big Island Film Festival

On Saturday at the 2012 Big Island Film Festival there were more movies and films that included “Nobody’s Child” and “Steve Phoenix – The Untold Story” in the morning followed by “Buzkashi Boys” and “Donkeys’.  Then in the afternoon the films “Election Day”, “Found” and “Searching for Sonny” were shown.

The big event of the day was the “Reception and Salute” to actress Eloise Mumford.  The reception included a carving station that had roasted turkey and then this steamed platter of Chinese food.

After the reception and salute, there was a celebrity awards ceremony where Big Island Film Festival Director Leo Sears presented Mumford with a 2012 Golden Honu Award for Acting.

Maui film producer Brian Kohne (Get a Job) interviewed Mumford about what it was like to work in the industry and she mentioned how fortunate she feels to be so far along at such a young age.

While only a few weeks ago Mumford learned that the current show she stars in “The River” has been cancelled, she remained upbeat and talked about a current project she is working on entitled “Waikiki”.

Eloise with the producers of “Waikiki”

She talked about the auditioning process and how many auditions folks really need to go out and do before they may even get picked up. Of course Kohne tried to convince her to come play a part in one of his upcoming movies.

After the awards ceremony, I had the opportunity to go on a walk with Eloise and ask her a few more questions about herself.

Eloise Mumford and Singer/Songwriter/Producer RJ Kaneao

When she was talking to Kohne earlier in the evening she mentioned that she graduated from High School in Olympia, Washington and that struck a nerve with me as I attended a High School there as well my freshmen year.

Well it turns out that she went to Capital High School and I went to a high school on the opposite site of Olympia called Tumwater for a brief time during my younger days.  Of course I really didn’t want to ask her how old or young she was… but with this connection I was having with her… I just had to ask her what year she graduated, but with respect for how young she really is… I won’t say what year she graduated in!

Of course all the guys want to know if she is single.  Well she does have a boyfriend that arrived just in time for her to receive an award.

Sorry guys… taken!

Later on in the evening the “family films” held at The Shops of Mauna Lani, were “Dissolving Destinies”, “A Finger”, “Two Dots”, “Giant Monsters” and ” Miss Minoes”.    The festival films held at the Plantation Estate of the Fairmont Orchid were ” Technicality”, “Nani”, “Silver Case”, “Scenen” and “Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy”.

I had to leave early the next day to go to Oahu but according to the Big Island Film Festival Facebook site… The previous attendance record of 1954 patrons was smashed this year with 2202 patrons and visiting filmmakers visiting this year.

Big Island Film Festival Interview with Huffington Post Blogger Jennifer Grisanti

Each year the Big Island Film Festival brings in industry professionals to talk about things and present workshops to people attending the festival.  This year they brought in multi-talented television do-it-all and Huffington Post Blogger, Jennifer Grisanti, as one of the folks giving workshops.

On Sunday evening, there was a “Reception and Salute” to her where she won this Golden Honu Award for her accomplishments in the industry.

I had the chance to interview her on Friday at the Fairmont Orchid and I asked her about some of her experiences, her background and what she is currently up to and here are some things she said to me.

Q: Tell me a little about you do and why were you invited to the Big Island Film Festival?

A: I actually did a seminar at Turtle Bay Resort about three years ago and I contacted Leo (Sears)… I got his name from someone at one of the universities as somebody that could help promote the event that I was doing and Leo told me that he was doing the Big Island Film Festival and he gave me some tips which helped and lead to a very successful event at Turtle Bay.  Then Leo told me he would keep me in mind for future BIFF in the future and when an opportunity came up, he sent me an email in May of last year and asked if I would be interested and of course I said yes.

Q: Where are you from and what is your educational background?

A: I’m from Los Angeles and I was born in Buffalo and raised in Los Angeles in a place called Friendly Hills Whittier.  My educational background… I went to a all girls Catholic High School in Anaheim and went to USC where I studied Communication and Cinema.

Q: How long have you been a blogger for the Huffington Post?

A: I’ve been a blogger for the Huffington Post for three years.

Q: What do you like to blog about?

A: I like to blog about the books that I’m writing and I wanted to develop the other side of my brain and blogging was a great practice for writing my books.

Q: What was the workshop that you gave at the Big Island Film Festival?

A: The class was about writing the TV Spec and Pilot Scripts which is a very big part of my background.  I started as Aaron Spellings Assistant in 1992 and I climbed the ranks at Spelling Television as a current programming executive where I covered shows like 90210, Melrose Place, Charmed, Seventh Heaven and then I went on to be a VP of current programming at CBS/Paramount where I covered shows like “Medium”, “Numbers”, “NCIS”, “4400”, and “Girlfriends” which lead to all my knowledge on Spec  Scripts because I read like 300 Spec Scripts a season so the Spec and Pilot Script became my expertise and teaching classes on it is a large part of what my business is.

Q: Is the film writing class something that you do on an ongoing basis?

A: Yes, I own my own business called Jennifer Grisanti Consultancy Inc., and I work with writers one on one in consult as well as seminars and teleseminars where I teach TV writing, film writing, covering topics such as finding your voice and adding fiction to your truth in your writing, as well as writing the TV Spec and Pilot Script and the Writing the Features Script.

Q: What are some of your favorite projects that you have worked on?

A: It was wonderful working on 90210 at the beginning of my career because it was the original 90210 so that will always have a special place in my heart.  I would say while working at CBS/Paramount I loved working on all the shows, I would say that “Medium” was a fun show to cover, I really enjoyed the creative experience of story telling with that show.  With “Numbers” it was a challenge and every show has its gifts and its challenges.

Q: If you weren’t doing consulting what would you fall back onto as a second career?

A: I was a television executive for 15 years so I would have thought that opening my own business was falling back on something, but then I recognized that being an executive was setting the foundation for what I do now and what I do now I love.  I know that because the business is growing at a tremendous pace, that its something that could last for a very long time, like when you look at Robert McCree (sp?) and you recognize that he’s still teaching story at 73 there is a recognition that the niche is there which is a great thing.

Q: Is there anything you would like to say in closing?

A: I’m very grateful to Leo and Jan Sears and all of their hospitality, I’m very grateful to the Fairmont Hotel and everybody that works here and their friendliness and the accommodations are phenomenal, I’m grateful to everyone who’s been part of the Big Island Film Festival.

The biggest thing in coming here like one of the messages that I really thought about is that it was so wild when they asked if you wanted to be the celebrity guest and it was such a fascinating thing because really what I do is celebrate the accomplishments of the filmmaker and that’s what I’m all about is really the message of understanding the significance of being able to put your heart on the page and connect with your audience by coming from your truth, and so seeing so many filmmakers that have done that through their stories here has been a really fulfilling experience for me because it’s why I love what I do.

2012 Big Island Film Festival Announces Awards

The 7th Annual Big Island Film Festival announced winners in twelve categories today, at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i.  Chosen from 57 Official Selections from Hawai‘i and around the world, the bi-lingual comedy “French Immersion” took top honors for Best Feature, “Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy” received the Best Foreign Film award and “Beatrice” won Best Short.

Audience Choice short film “Hi Honey,” created by Big Island residents Kelly Winsa and Peter Henderson, will screen tonight at the “Best of the Fest” event, followed by Audience-Choice feature “Shouting Secrets,” directed by Korinna Sehringer.

“Shouting Secrets” stars Chaske Spencer as a bestselling Native American novelist who draws from his own family drama on the reservation.  Costarring Q‘oriana Kilcher (“Princess Ka‘iulani”), “Shouting Secrets” resonated with the Hawai‘i audience at Sunday’s screening, and was acclaimed by Hollywood story consultant Jen Grisanti as “one of the best films I’ve seen in a long, long time.”

2012 Big Island Film Festival Awards:

  • Best Student Short:  “Faceless”
  • Best Student Feature:  “Anos Despues”
  • Best Hawaii Short:  “Flat”
  • Best Family Short:  “Swoosh!”
  • Best Animated Short:  “Cadaver”
  • Best Foreign Short:  “Scenen”
  • Barbara Award:  “Mr. Babbo”
  • Best Foreign Feature:  “Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy”
  • Best Short:  “Beatrice”
  • Best Feature:  “French Immersion”
  • Audience Choice Short:  “Hi, Honey”
  • Audience Choice Feature:  “Shouting Secrets”

An annual celebration of narrative films and filmmaking, the Big Island Film Festival would like to thank its anchor sponsors: The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, The Shops at Mauna Lani, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority/Hawai‘i County Department of Research and Development CPEP, Kenwood Vineyards, Redeeming Light International Inc. and many other generous sponsors and supporters.

For more information, visit www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com or find them on Facebook.

A Spa Without Walls at the Fairmont Orchid

Yesterday I had the opportunity to check out the spa at the Fairmont Orchid and it’s name seems a bit strange until you see the place where the massages are given.

It’s called “A Spa Without Walls” and it’s located downstairs of the main building at the Fairmont.

There is a waiting room that is stocked with things to pamper yourself with and then when it’s your time to get a massage, they lead you outside to this little courtyard of open-aired bungalows where the masseuse do their magic.

There was about a dozen little huts that I could see and many folks were getting massages so I couldn’t really check out the all the individual huts personally.

One of the things about this spa that makes things so relaxing… is the waterfalls and creeks that surround the area.

I myself didn’t get a massage, however, I was offered a foot massage but I was running late to some other things I was doing at the Big Island Film Festival.

Now that I think about it… I wish I would have taken then up on their offer!

Who knows… maybe today I’ll get another opportunity… (Hint! Hint! Fairmont Orchid)

For the last couple days now… I’ve been watching folks leave the back entrance wrapped up in a bath robe looking super relaxed.

I’m not someone who is normally into massages and spa treatments… but this place is making me have second thoughts!

Big Island Film Festival – Day 2 Highlights

Yesterday was the second day of the 7th Annual Big Island Film Festival and the day started off with an orientation and introduction to the filmmakers by Festival Director Leo Sears and Big Island Film Office’s John Mason.

Leo Sears and John Mason

Then at 10:00 at the Fairmont Orchid’s Amphitheater, the daytime movies began with the movies “Byte-Sized”, “Dancing Freak”, “Hi Honey”, and “Subjective Expression” being shown to a crowd of about 100 folks.

After the movies played, audience members had a chance to listen to the film makers and ask questions about their individual films.

At 1:00 the second set of daytime films began and they included “Viewer Discretion Advised”, “Just Like Her”, “Children of the Air”, “Incest: The Musical”, and “Todd & the Book of Pure Evil:  See You Later”.

Then at 5:00 there was a new event this year called the “Meet the Stars” event where folks got meet and greet all the stars and celebrity guests that were in attendance while feasting on prime rib among other things!

Then there were evening family films that were held at The Shops at Mauna Lani – “Ad & Subtract”, “Mr. Babobo” “Flat” and “The Italian Key”.

The Festival Films that were shown at the Plantation Estate section of the Fairmont Orchid where I estimate that over 200 folks enjoyed the movies.

Film Director Leo Sears and the Producers of “Pork”.

The movies that played at the Plantation Estate were “Pork”, “Cadever”, “French Immersion” Blind”, “The Darkest Game” and “QWERTY”.

The festival continues for the next few days and you can pick up individual tickets to the films at the Fairmont Orchid.

You can click on the pictures below for larger images.