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.

Leo Sears From the Big Island Film Festival at Mauna Lani Resort Earns International Certification

BIFF Founder/Executive Director Leo Sears presents actor Tom Berenger with the 2010 “Golden Honu” Award. (Photo by Jeff Sears)

Media Release:

At the recent convention of the International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA), September 15-17, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri, Leo Sears received professional designation as a Certified Festival and Event Executive (CFEE).

Initiated by the IFEA in 1983, and sponsored by K & K Insurance, the certification program recognizes professionals in the festivals and events industry who have attained the highest level of competency in their field.   Requirements for obtaining the CFEE designation include experiential career achievements; required course work; published article(s) based on research pertaining to events; professional speaking requirements; and meeting the professional standards of the association and its assessment board.  The program typically takes three years to complete.

“The CFEE designation is a mark of distinction. These individuals have proven their commitment to continuous learning and professional growth, which in turn translates into the continued growth and success of their own festivals/events, as well as our industry as a whole,” states IFEA President & CEO, Steven Wood Schmader, CFEE.

Sears, a SAG actor, screenwriter, playwright, teacher and Executive Director of Big Island Film Festival, joins over 255 other festival/event professionals from around the world who have earned their CFEE certification since the program’s inception 25 years ago.  The 2011 Big Island Film Festival takes place May 11-15 at Mauna Lani Resort on the Big Island-Hawai’i.  www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com

Headquartered in Boise Idaho, the IFEA is a non-profit membership organization with members spanning 40 countries and 5 continents, and offers the most complete source of ideas, resources, information, education and networking for festivals and event professionals world-wide.  For more information on the IFEA, please go to www.ifea.com