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Hawaii Festival Spring Fling will feature 21 films

For Immediate Release Contact: Chris Dacus
March 11, 2004 Email:


Film Festival offers movie buffs a wide diversity of 21 films from 13 countries

HONOLULU –The Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) is proud to present its 7th annual SPRING FLING presented by COMMERCIAL DATA SYSTEMS, a showcase of new, emerging cinema to kick off the New Year. Signature Dole Cannery 18 Theatres returns as the home of the film festival.

“It’s such an exciting time for the Hawaii International Film Festival, coming off our most successful film festival ever,” said Chuck Boller, executive director at HIFF. “The selection of films was extraordinary resulting in films shown at HIFF winning 11 Oscar nominations and 6 Golden Globe nominations and the HIFF closing night film BARBARIAN INVASIONS winning the Oscar Award for Best Foreign Language Film.”

“The Hawaii International Film Festival Spring Fling promises to continue the excitement from the Fall festival with 21 Hawaii Premieres with three films that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival,” said Chuck Boller. “Due to the record-breaking attendance of THE RIDE at Sunset on the Beach at the fall festival, we’re continuing the tradition with a very special film premiering April 3rd, SUMO EAST & WEST, a rare inside look at foreigners entering the quintessential culture of Sumo featuring four Hawaii residents. Don’t miss it! Another film that will be extremely popular this year is THE LAND HAS EYES - an historic coming of age tale from the island of Rotuma. This is a film by a local filmmaker and it’s one of the films that just premiered at Sundance.”

“Two other films I would I wouldn’t miss are TOUCHING THE VOID, a famous true story of a mountain climbing expedition gone awry along the lines of Jon Krakauer’s famous book INTO THIN AIR,” said Chuck Boller. “The second film is DOGVILLE featuring Nicole Kidman, a story about a young woman, Grace (Nicole Kidman), who seeks refuge among a Depression-era town named Dogville. Of course all 21 films at the Spring Festival are amazing independent films and I highly recommend after all the sold out shows in the fall that movie goers purchase tickets early!”

Hawaii International Film Festival Spring Fling will feature more than 21 films, all Hawaii premieres, from 13 countries - Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Fiji, France, Hong Kong, India, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, United Kingdom, and United States.

South Korea, 2003
Director/writer Im Sang-soo's third feature is a provocatively erotic portrait of infidelity, yet its candid sex scenes are reminiscent of THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING. Lawyer Young-jak (Hwang) counsels families of massacre victims between spending time with his family and his lover. His wife Ho-jung (Moon) releases her energy through dance rehearsals between caring for their adopted son and her in-laws. Aware of Young-jak's infidelity, Ho-jung begins fancying the high-school boy next door, a crush that leads this good lawyer's wife into some remarkably unlawful circumstances.
Saturday, April 3- 12:45pm and Wednesday, April 7- 8:45pm

Japan, 2003
Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa has slowly been creeping up on international audiences with such distinctively atmospheric chillers as CURE, CHARISMA and the remarkable PULSE. In BRIGHT FUTURE he fuses several genres—science fiction thriller, male bonding melodrama, youth culture piece—to create an enigmatic, eerie study of marginalized young men and the dreams that burn—and die—within them. Current Japanese star-boy Tadanobu Asano stars as a listless brooder working a dead-end factory job, his only companions his pet jellyfish, amazing haircut and comparatively dim co-worker Yuji, a young man with a similarly anti-social attitude (and great haircut). Beyond some disconcertingly vivid fashion choices, neither seems to take pleasure in this world, nor recognize any brightness in the next. A sudden act of violence, however, leads to one final scheme: set their poisonous glowing jellyfish loose in Tokyo's water supply, and hope for a "bright" future indeed.
Saturday, April 3 – 6:30pm and Sunday, April 4- 3:30pm

France/Denmark/US/UK, 2003
The reclusive citizens of the Depression-era town, Dogville, are reticent to accept the young woman, Grace (Nicole Kidman), who seeks refuge among them with the help of a local boy, Tom (Paul Bettany, , who respects her privacy and secrets. The townspeople require a two week trial in which Grace proves her charm and work ethic, but alas, they turn against her. Reactive to community abuses, her secret is revealed and Dogville will never be the same. This film has been described as a parable about mercy, vengeance and human frailty, with controversial allegations of Anti-American sentiment.
Tuesday, April 6- 6:30pm

Japan, 2003
In his stunning tenth feature DOLLS, acclaimed director Takeshi Kitano (HANA-BI, BROTHER) continues his fascination with the value of living in the face of mortality. But his latest film marks a palpable departure from his earlier, bullet-ridden portraits of men struggling with death. Kitano turns instead to stories of love and devotion, set against the backdrop of Japan's natural beauty. Kitano's hapless characters invariably encounter the most cruel and implacable force in nature—death itself, whose unexpected visits truncate any hopes for sustained joy. But in their serene march towards a tragic destination as inevitable as winter, Kitano also taps into the most Japanese of sensibilities, the bittersweet appreciation for those fleeting moments of beauty amidst transience.
Saturday, April 3- 12:30pm

France, 2003
French cinema is notorious for many reasons, but not because of any significant level of horror film production. This film proves the exception almost all its own. Stylishly - in that sense it is French - the film tells a horrific story that continues to fascinate right up to the end thanks to many ingenious turns in the plot. The story focuses on the girlfriends Alex and Marie. Marie has invited Alex to her parents' old farm to escape the bustle of Paris. Right at the start, the viewer is wrong footed. Of course terrible things are going to happen in the lonely and ghostly house (the maker knows his examples), but who does it and why, remains well hidden for a long time. Sunday, April 4- 8:45pm

South Korea, 2002
An academic, clever yet unworldly, 27-year-old Lee Weon-sang contributes an article to a magazine as a favor to a friend; shortly thereafter, he's invited to join its staff. But there is a complication - the magazine's publisher, Han Yun-shik, is the same man for whom his girlfriend recently dumped him. On his first assignment, Lee finds himself paired with a female photographer, Park Seong-yeon. There's a shiver of sexual chemistry between the two, and Lee is quickly beguiled, but Park, a free spirit, proves elusive - and before long, she too is sleeping with Han, despite Lee's pleas to the contrary. Now feeling doubly humiliated, Lee considers seeking revenge... Sunday, April 4- 12:30pm

India, 2003
This much-anticipated Bollywood extravaganza marks the return of heartthrob actor Shahrukh Khan and the creative team of Karan Johar and Nikhil Advani, makers of the award-winning KUCH KUCH HOTA HAI. Here, all-stars sing, cry, dance and romance their way through New York City to catchy songs—and the joyous camp of disco and wedding excess—that rival any SOUND OF MUSIC sing-along. KAL HO NAA HO tells the story of Naina (Preity Zinta), an all-business, no-play daughter struggling to keep her financially distressed family together, especially her bickering Christian mother (Jaya Bachchan) and ever-antagonistic Punjabi grandmother. The film offers a Spike Lee-lite fantasia on diasporic multiculturalism and a giddy vision of post-9/11 New York as the backdrop to its visual spectacle and romantic heroics.
Sunday, April 4- 3:15pm and Thursday, April 8 – 6:45pm

Fiji/Hawai`i/USA, 2003
HIFF is proud to present the Hawai`i premiere of THE LAND HAS EYES, an amazing production from Vilsoni Hereniko, playwright, author, filmmaker and professor at the Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai`i at Manoa. In his directorial debut, playwright and filmmaker Vilsoni Hereniko provides a consciously detailed portrait of Rotuman life through the eyes of Viki, a young girl coming of age in a changing world. The vibrancy of her traditional life contrasts starkly with the imposed colonial influences of Christianity and education as Viki navigates the complex mazes of a world that no one before her has had to journey. Guided by a loving father and the lessons entrenched in stories of the ancestress, Viki becomes a woman of strength and dignity on her own terms at the doorstep of a new era.
Thursday, April- 8:30pm

Hong Kong/Japan /Thailand, 2003
At first sight, Kenji (Tadanobu Asano) seems the exemplary librarian. Anal, fastidious and allergic to fish, he has hidden himself away in the library of a Japanese cultural centre in Bangkok. He seems to have a secret, possibly one connected with the full-back yakuza tattoo concealed by his shirt. By the time his secret catches up with him, he has stumbled into the life of Thai bar-girl Noi (Sinitta Boonyasak), devastated by the death of her sister in a traffic accident but determined to pull herself together in time to emigrate to Japan next week. They spend a few days together in her semi-derelict house near Pattaya.
Saturday, April 3- 3:30pm and Tuesday, April 6 – 6:30pm

Korea/Japan, 2002
The career of an ambitious young actor named Ken comes to an end when the film studio employing him runs into financial difficulties and a project that was to have launched Ken as a star is put on ice. Ken’s run of bad luck is complete when his wife is killed in a car accident. Twenty years later, the film studios are faced with a new set of problems: good quality films for theatrical release are of little or no importance anymore and an increasing number of ambitious television producers are giving the film industry a run for its money. This is the state of play when the ageing Ken lands a small role in a cinema film.
Saturday, April 3- 6:45pm and Monday, April 5- 8:45pm

South Korea, 2003
Set around the year 880, this stunning film tells the story of a love triangle involving a queen, a general and an ordinary rural woman. Bi-Ha-rang (Jeong Jun-ho) is a powerful general of the “Shilla” Dynasty and is also the object of affection for the Queen (Kim Hye-ri). However, all Bi Ha-rang wants in life is to be with his beloved, Ja Woon-bi (Kim Hye-jin). As Ha-rang is dispatched to deal with growing insurrection at the frontiers of the empire, the Queen sends assassins to deal with Ja Woon-bi. But events turn wicked. While fleeing, Woon-bi falls into a haunted lake and her soul becomes possessed by the lake’s evil spirit.
Saturday, April 3- 9:15 and Sunday, April 4- 9:00pm

Hong Kong/China, 2004
MAGIC KITCHEN centers on a sweet, even if insecure, woman named Yau (Sammi Cheng). Yau is a successful restaurant owner and chef who cooks everything literally by the book, or in her case, from an encyclopedia of recipes she inherited from her mother. But her successful career cannot compensate for an empty love life, haunted by a family curse, she is destined to fail in very relationship…until now.
Monday, April 5- 6:45pm and Wednesday, April 7- 6:30pm

China/France, 2003
Set apart from much of contemporary Chinese cinema, director Lou Ye's (SUZHOU RIVER) visually sumptuous, hypnotizing features have revolved around topics of love and fate, coincidence and possibility. In PURPLE BUTTERFLY he signs his charismatic signature to a page of Chinese history that is rarely dealt with: the activities of the underground anti-Japanese resistance movement during the thirties. Cynthia (Zhang Ziyi) is a young Chinese woman who is in love with Itami (Toru Nakamura), a Japanese man about to be sent home for military service. A devastated Cynthia moves back to Shanghai only to witness the death of her elder brother during an attack by the Japanese extreme right. She changes her name to Ding Hui and joins a secret resistance group code-named Purple Butterfly, the same group that, years later, will plot to assassinate Itami.
Sunday, April 4- 6:30pm and Wednesday, April 7- 6:45pm

South Korea, 2003
Sad that SEX AND THE CITY is over? Don’t you fret, the chic, romantic comedy SINGLES is about sex, friends, fun and laughter. It’s great being single! Based on Japanese writer Kamata Toshio’s novel CHRISTMAS AT TWENTY-NINE, SINGLES is set around the lives of four late-twentysomething professionals. At the heart of the film is pretty Na Nan (Jang Jin-young from THE FOUL KING, SORUM) who is about to hit 30 and believes that her life is in need of serious change.
Friday, April 2- 8:45pm and Saturday, April 3- 3:45pm

South Korea, 2003
Shot entirely around a floating monastery on a beautiful remote lake in the mountains, Kim Ki-duk's serene rumination on the cycles of life follows the spiritual evolution of one man from boyhood to old age, drawing from the sparsest elements a resonant experience of joy, sorrow, anger, and enlightenment. When a young monk, only a boy, is found gleefully tying stones to a fish, a frog, and a snake, his master binds a rock to the child's back and instructs him to set each animal free. The master warns that if any creature has died, the boy will carry that stone in his heart forever. Thus commences a journey that will pass through four more stages in accordance with the seasons of the monk's life: from love and temptation as a teenager to a terrible misstep and a crime, through his subsequent search for peace of heart, and ultimately to maturity, whereupon he assumes the role of master himself.
Tuesday, April 6- 6:45pm

Hawai’i/USA, 2003
HIFF and Pacific Islanders in Communication is proud to present SUMO EAST AND WEST. This spectacular feature documentary provides a fascinating look in the ancient Japanese sport of sumo wrestling. Filmmakers Ferne Pearlstein and Robert Edwards do a fantastic job tracing the history and traditions of sumo and its development in the modern world. More interestingly, SUMO EAST AND WEST examine sumo’s growing popularity in the West by fans and participants alike. However, what sets this documentary apart is how Pearlstein and Edwards explore Hawai`i’s trajectory into sumo. Through the story of local boy Wayne Vierra, a champion in amateur sumo, we find out how Hawai`i changed and challenged sumo wrestling. SUMO EAST AND WEST features in depth interviews with Hawai`i born superstars Konishiki and Jesse Kuhaulua and the famous Akebono, the first non-Japanese sumo wrestler to achieve the rank of yokuzuna or grand champion. Thursday, April 8- 6:30pm

U.S.A., 2003
A gleeful, nondenominational, politically incorrect comedy for anyone who's been to Bible camp, Saved! takes the conventions of overwrought After School Specials and turns them inside "out." Meet Mary, a devout teenager at a Baptist high school. When her earnest boyfriend tells her he's gay, a distressed Mary has a heavenly vision and comes to the obvious conclusion that the best way to straighten out her boyfriend is to sleep with him. Things don't go entirely as planned, to say the least. Meanwhile, Mary's relentlessly religious best friend, Hilary Faye, is on a crusade to convert a Jewish classmate, win the heart of the cute new boy with a skateboard and a religious mission, and keep tabs on her sarcastic younger brother, who is wheelchair bound but something of a holy terror. Often happily over the top, but with a soft spot in its heart for all of its characters, Brian Dannelly's film is a teasing take on the passionate moral convictions of adolescence. Featuring a stellar cast, including Jena Malone, Mandy Moore, Macaulay Culkin, Patrick Fugit, and Heather Matarazzo, Saved! poses the question, "What's a God-fearing girl to do when well-meaning classmates are hell-bent on saving her soul?"
Monday, April 5- 6:30pm

Japan, 2002
HIFF is proud to present an encore presentation of Academy Award nominated and Golden Maile Award winning film, TWILIGHT SAMURAI. Set just prior to civil war and the Meiji Restoration, in the twilight of the samurai era, Senbei (Hiroyoku Sanada) is a low-ranking samurai who earns a meager salary as an office clerk, his wages insufficient to support his two young daughters and senile mother. When his wife dies from consumption, he is forced to sell his sword, the “soul” of the samurai, in order to pay for the funeral. While his co-workers drink sake all evening, he always departs at twilight to do housework and tend to the family, thereby earning the nickname of “Sir Twilight”. He is not unhappy, however, churning dignity from poverty, unconcerned with rising in the ranks, and never complaining about his misfortune. He finds great pleasure in watching his daughters grow, a journey which he equates to “watching crops ripen or flowers grow in a field”. Sunday, April 4- 12:45pm

United Kingdom, 2003
HIFF is proud to present as its opening night film, the highly acclaimed and riveting film, TOUCHING THE VOID. In June of 1985, two young and talented British climbers set out to tame the unconquered west face of Siula Grande, a remote, twenty-one-thousand-foot peak in the Peruvian Andes. Two-and-a-half days after tiptoeing up near-vertical icefields, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates reached the summit. Little did they know their epic was only beginning. What ensued is one of the most gripping tales in mountain history, a survival story to rival the great epics: the notorious 1996 Mount Everest tragedy (immortalized in Jon Krakauer’s “Into Thin Air”) and Shackleton’s remarkable 1914-16 Antarctic expedition.
Friday, April 2- 6:30pm

USA, 2003
Berkeley is a quaint little town where you can find good fishing and homemade pies. Life here is like living in a holiday postcard until a meteorite shower rips through a lazy summer day. The onslaught of space rocks brings a deadly plague that twists the happy citizens into zombies with insatiable appetites for human flesh.
Led byRene, a beauty queen fallen from grace, a group of desperate survivors finds shelter in an old farmhouse owned by Marion, who was cast out of the town for telling weird tales of alien abduction. With an army of rotting corpses surrounding their sanctuary, our survivors count their ammo. When escape is within reach, a discovery sheds light on the epidemic: the infection is only the first step of a greater plan.
Saturday, April 3- 9:00pm and Tuesday, April 6- 8:45pm

China, 2003
A visually ravishing epic tracing the journey of a caravan carrying the sacred remains of the Buddha back to the Imperial City during the Tang Dynasty, this riveting costume drama immortalizes the eternal battle between good and evil. First we met two dedicated warriors - Lieutenant Li, a renegade soldier wanted for leading a violent mutiny when he is issued orders to kill women and children, and Lai Qi, a Japanese emissary who longs to return home but is charged by the Emperor with capturing the errant Li. Wandering with his men through the Gobi desert, Li meets the caravan bearing the precious cargo and agrees to escort it through the stronghold of Master An, a notorious bandit leader. Soon this motley group encounters Lai Qi and a harrowing battle ensues. The two warriors agree to a temporary truce until the caravan is safely through the territory of the bandit king but all bets are off during an ambush by Master An's gang.
Friday, April 2- 9:15pm

Hawai`i Premiere Screening on WAIKIKI SUNSET ON THE BEACH.
This spectacular feature documentary provides a fascinating look in the ancient Japanese sport of sumo wrestling and through the story of local boy Wayne Vierra, a champion in amateur sumo, we find out how Hawai`i changed and challenged sumo wrestling. An amazing film! It will also feature live entertainment and food from O`ahu’s leading restaurants prior to this special HIFF screening. HIFF and the City encourage you to bring your beach blankets and `ohana for this truly special evening under the stars. Admission is FREE. SUMO EAST AND WEST Sunset on the Beach Screening (FREE)
Saturday, April 3 – Festivities start at 4:00pm – Screening at 6:00pm or when dark.

REMINDER: 2004 Hawaii International Film Festival fall festival will be held October 28th – November 7th.

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