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Hawaii Film Festival honours Roger and Chaz Ebert

The 30th Annual Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) is honored to host the return of dear friends Roger and Chaz Ebert to Hawaii and to present them with it's "Vision in Film" award. An American icon in film reviews, Ebert has paved the way for critics for nearly 50 years.

Roger Ebert is a conduit; a bridge between the hallowed film criticism world that he helped create, ranging from Cahiers du Cinema and the French New Wave, to the likes of Gene Siskel, Pauline Kael, and other American icons, and the new world order of citizen journalists like Aintitcoolnews and the blogosphere. With the seminal SNEAK PREVIEWS and later iteration, AT THE MOVIES, he brought the art of criticism into our living rooms by making it accessible, but never dumbed down. Aside from the eloquent summations of films every week on the show, it was more the verbal showdowns between him and "frenemy" Gene Siskel that made the show such a treat to watch - two eggheads who passionately loved movies and their point-of-view even more.

Ever since he lost his ability to speak some years ago, his output has greatly expanded, thanks to the very tools that decimated traditional film criticism to begin with. An avid Twitter user, which is an understatement, Roger has used this social media tool to directly connect with his fan base and actually promote critical thinking through film, politics, pop culture and beyond. With the Ebert imprimatur, he's inspired foreign critics, or "far flung correspondents" as they are called, to write insightful essays and reviews that live on his official website, Ironically after losing his ability to speak, Roger's "new normal" has become even more vocal and influential than ever before. He lives up to Forbes Magazine's quote of Roger as "the most powerful pundit in America." Charlie "Chaz" Ebert, Roger's bedrock of a life and business partner, has many traits- wise, funny, thoughtful, empathetic, and savvy are just some of the handful of qualities that make up what Chaz is. Through thick and thin, she was always by Roger's side, fueling him to persevere. As the Vice-President of The Ebert Company, and the recent announcement of the revival of ROGER EBERT PRESENTS AT THE MOVIES at Public Television, is truly exciting. We are honored to present the VISION IN FILM AWARD to the Eberts, dear friends of the Hawaii International Film Festival, for their staunch support of independent and international cinema, and for imbuing their work with the Aloha Spirit.

The Eberts will receive the Vision in Film Award after HIFF's screening of LEAVES OF GRASS on Sunday, October 17th. The Vision in Film Award is given to recognize industry players with broad insight into film: artistically, commercially, and charitably. Previous honorees have included The American Film Institute, the Kawakita Memorial Film Institute, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, directors Ang Lee and Zhang Yimou.

Sunday, October 17 I 5:30 PM I Regal Dole
United States 2009 I 105m

Director: Tim Blake Nelson
Cast: Edward Norton, Tim Blake Nelson, Susan Sarandon, Richard Dreyfuss

Tim Blake Nelson's LEAVES OF GRASS is some kind of sweet, wacky masterpiece. It takes all sorts of risks, including a dual role with Edward Norton playing twin brothers, and it pulls them off. It is certainly the most intelligent, philosophical and poetic film I can imagine that involves five murders in the marijuana-dealing community of Oklahoma and includes John Prine singing "Illegal Smile." Sometimes you can't believe your luck as a movie unfolds. There is a mind behind it, joyful invention, obvious ambition. As is often the case, I had studiously avoiding reading anything at all about LEAVES OF GRASS before going to see the movie, although I rather doubted it would be about Walt Whitman. - Edited from Roger Ebert's review

*A brief, moderated conversation with the Eberts, and the Vision In Film Award presentation will precede the screening of LEAVES OF GRASS.

Additionally, Ebert will be signing copies of his new cookbook, THE POT AND HOW TO USE IT: THE MYSTERY AND ROMANCE OF THE RICE COOKER.

Saturday Oct. 16 I Noon I HIFF Cafe

This landmark season will feature 214 films from 40 plus different countries. HIFF's 2010 program is being held at the Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18 Cinemas from October 14 -24. Tickets are on sale now. General admission tickets are available for $12 or $10 for students, seniors, children and military. Tickets may be purchased in person at HIFF's box office at 680 Iwilei Road #101 from Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18 Cinemas or by phone at (808) 447-0577.
Festival Information
Established in 1981, the Hawaii International Film Festival, a non-profit organization, is dedicated to the advancement of understanding and cultural exchange among the peoples of Asia, the Pacific and North America through the medium of film. HIFF is the premier international film event in the Pacific and has won the praise of governments, filmmakers, scholars, educators, programmers and film industry leaders throughout the world. For the discovery and exhibition of Asian and Pacific features, documentaries and short films in the nation, it is a primary source. The festival has premiered such movies as ONCE WERE WARRIORS, THE PIANO, SHINE, SHALL WE DANCE, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN, and CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON. Plus, DEPARTURES, a Japanese film, had its U.S. premiere at HIFF in 2008, won the HIFF Audience Award and then went on to win the 2009 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

HIFF's major sponsors include: Regal Entertainment Group, Halekulani Hotels & Resorts, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Hawaii, Hawaii Tourism Authority, The Vilcek Foundation, and EuroCinema Hawaii.

The 2010 Hawaii International Film Festival will be held October 14 - 24.

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