2019 Official Selections

August at Akiko’s

Drama | 1 hour 15 min | Directed by Christopher Makoto Yogi
*Special guest Akiko Masuda present

A musician who has returned to Hawaii after years abroad to search for his roots forms a bond with an elderly local woman.

Aloha Theatre | June 14 | 8pm

Award nomination: Best Feature

Out of State

Doc | 1 hour 20 min | Directed by Ciara Lacy

This celebrated, award-winning documentary tells the story of native Hawaiian prisoners shipped 3,000 miles across the ocean to a for-profit prison in the desert of Arizona.

Hilo Palace | June 2 | 7:30 pm

Award nomination: Best Feature

Running for Grace

Family | 1 hour 50 min | Directed by David L. Cunningham

An orphan uses his blazing speed to deliver medicine to the coffee pickers in the mountains of Hawaii. Young love soon blossoms when he begins a forbidden romance with the daughter of a plantation owner.

Hilo Palace| June 1 | 4:30 pm

STOKE

Drama | 1 hour 27 min | Directed by Phillips Payson* and Zoe Eisenberg*
*in attendance

A struggling tourist hires two aspiring tour guides to take her to an active volcano on the big island of Hawaii.

Hilo Palace| June 1 | 7:30 pm

The Ali’i’s Seed

Family | 10 min | Directed by Jonathan Yudis*
*in attendance

The Ali'i's Seed is a Hawaiian retelling of an ancient folktale about how a chief, or leader, selects his successor.

Hilo Palace| June 2 | 5:15 pm 
Aloha Theatre | June 14 | 6 pm
Award nomination: Best Short Form

All Natural

Comedy | 16 min | Directed by Lauren Hillhouse

Cast in attendance:Randall Galius Jr , Samuel Jones
Aria Alexander

An over-achieving high school graduate is forced to spend a summer with a motley crew of testosterone-filled mechanics after losing her parents' trust by crashing her car.

Hilo Palace| June 2 | 12 pm

The Culinary Edge TV

Adventure | 38 min | Directed by Andrew Resignato*

*In attendance

Veteran bodyboarder and surfing pioneer Mike Stewart joins Chef Ellard as they tour a local farm on the Hamakua Coast, go for an epic surf session and grill out with da kine local grindz.  

Hilo Palace| June 2 | 12 pm 

Baby's Riding on a Falling Star

Music video | 3 min | Directed by Dennis Lee Foster*

*in attendance

A musical story of yearning and unrequited love, navigating the stars for direction and redemption.

Hilo Palace| June 1 | 2 pm

Braininacat - substituation

Animated | 3 min | Directed by David Morrill*

*in attendance

This music video by artist braininacat uses 3D abstract animations to explore the different climates and sights of big island, from snow to mountains to a suburb to a volcano.

Hilo Palace| June 1 | 2 pm

Dakine

Music video| 3 min | Directed by Toro Juanpalface
*In attendance: Knowledge Iz

Musical artist Knowledge Iz celebrates dakine with an infectious anthem performed around Hilo town.

Hilo Palace| June 1 | 2 pm

Donut Dynamite!

Doc | 3 min | Directed by Austin Michael Alimbuyuguen

Donut Dynamite follows a tiny, celebrated donut shop in Maui where everything from the sprinkles and up are created from scratch.  

Hilo Palace| June 2 | 5:15 pm

Fire and Sand

Doc | 38 min | Directed by Lorraine Freedle*
*In attendance with Executive Producer Shannon Freedle

Created by a psychologist and first-time filmmaker, Fire and Sand documents community mobilization and healing during the 2018 Kilauea eruption.

Hilo Palace| June 1 | 12 pm

Get Back Up

Music video| 4 min | Directed by Jordan Christopher*

*In attendance

One year after losing his homestead to lava, musician Drew Daniels returns home with a resilient anthem providing a powerful follow-up to last year's MIHFF selection "Our New Life."

Hilo Palace| June 1 | 2 pm

Hamakua

Music video | 4 min | Directed by Dominik Walczuk

A dance of time, this musical story weaves the past and present to showcase the growth of artist Nahko Bear.

Hilo Palace| June 1 | 2 pm
Aloha Theatre | June 14 | 6 pm

He and I

Music video | 5 min | Directed by Dondi Iannucci

Artist Dondi and friends tour the Southside of Kaua'i as they celebrate the joy of being in love and wanting the world to know that you've finally got it right.

Hilo Palace| June 1 | 2 pm

Ho’omau

Drama | 22 min | Directed by Kenji Doughty

Following a migratory period in ancient Hawai'i, war breaks out between tribes and Lehua must persist against perilous odds to defend all she holds dear.

Hilo Palace| June 1 | 7:30 pm (with Stoke)
Aloha Theatre | June 14 | 6 pm
Award nomination: Best Short Form
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Immerse | Journey

Experimental | 4 min | Directed by Eric Morgan* and Marysol Damo*
*In attendance

‘Immerse | Journey' communicates the very beginning of a connection as a real-life couple navigates their fears of the inevitable hurt that accompanies the “L-word.”

Hilo Palace| June 1 | 2 pm

Ka Hale: A Revival

Doc | 5 min | Directed by MarQ Morrison

In attendance: Brandon Matich, producer

Architect and Kumu Francis Palani Sinenci leads the revival of ancient Hawaiian hale building in an effort to save indigenous cultural practices.

Hilo Palace| June 2 | 5:15 pm
Aloha Theatre | June 14 | 6 pm

Kaumakaiwa

Doc | 3 min | Directed by Bradley Tangonan

Kumu Hula Kaumakaiwa Kanaka'ole demonstrates how hula and oli, or chanting, connects her to the land and the spirits therein.

Hilo Palace| June 2 | 2:30 pm
Aloha Theatre | June 14 | 8 pm (with August at Akiko's)
Award nomination: Best Short Form + Best Cinematography

Ka Wa'a: The Canoe

Doc | 6 min | Directed by MarQ Morrison
In attendance: Brandon Matich, producer

An exploration of the past, present and future of Maui's Ocean Voyager Canoes Mo'okiha O Pi'ilani and the Mo'olele.

Hilo Palace| June 2 | 5:15 pm

Music Video | 4 min | Directed by Phillips Payson*
*in attendance with musician Bub Pratt

The filmmakers behind Big Island road film Stoke collaborate with Hilo musician Bub Pratt to create this fun, upbeat behind-the-scenes look at the making-of Stoke to the song "La La La Together" off Pratt's 2018 album Oceans &  Bridges.

Hilo Palace| June 1 | 2 pm

La La La Together

Doc | 43 min | Directed by Nathan Howe
*In attendance

Shot on Maui, KŌ is a non-narrated, aural and visual ethnofiction staged as the final act of the Hawaiian sugarcane epoch.

Hilo Palace| June 1 | 2:00 pm

Award nomination: Best Cinematography

Leland

Drama | 20 min | Directed by Jason Honeycutt*
*In attendance

A genius daughter (Taiana Tully) cannot live her life until her deadbeat father (Garret T. Sato, 'Marvel's Inhumans,' 'The Wolverine,' 'Pearl Harbor') figures out his.

Hilo Palace| June 2 | 5:15 pm

Life Among Lava

Doc | 17 min | Created by NMG Network

FLUX reporter Rae Sojot takes us to Pāhoa and speaks firsthand with those affected by the 2018 eruption.

Hilo Palace| June 2 | 5:15 pm
Aloha Theatre | June 14 | 6 pm

Paradigm Now: The Albizia Project

Doc | 5 min | Directed by Rob Lau

Is the albizia tree a destructive force disrupting native ecosystems and communities in Hawai'i, or the material that can awaken new paradigms through thoughtful design?

Hilo Palace| June 2 | 5:15 pm

Aloha Theatre | June 14 | 6 pm

Potluck with Smooch: Cray Cray Crepes

Comedy | 23 min | Directed by Diq Diamond*
*In attendance

Smooch, his dysfunctional Chronic Crew, some colorful culinarians and a THC induced haze are a recipe for a delectable stew of stoney comedy

Hilo Palace| June 2 | 12 pm
Award nomination: Best Short Form 

Prelude

Drama | 9 min | Directed by Alexandra Bennett
*In attendance

Following a turbulent relationship, a young traveler turns to her new roommates and old diaries to discover the true reason for her struggles.

Hilo Palace| June 1 | 12 pm

Reel Wāhine of Hawai’i

Doc | 50 min | Directed by Leah Kihara, Vera Zambonelli*, Shirley Thompson*, Laurie Sumiye, Heather Haunani Giugni
*in attendance

This series of portraits follows some of Hawai‘i’s female filmmakers, from the mothers of Hawai‘i independent filmmaking to cutting edge artists at the top of their game.

Hilo Palace| June 2 | 2:30 pm

Return to Life

Sci-fi | 26 min | Directed by Cliff Bailey

Pursued by an evil army, a lone crusader in a post-apocalyptic world leads a motley crew on a quest to restore hope to the people and life to the world.

Hilo Palace| June 2 | 12 pm 

Sincerely, Kaye

Drama | 10 min | Directed by Kristle Backe

A young woman reflects on how her parents’ divorce and unstable upbringing affects the way she approaches relationships as an adult.

Hilo Palace| June 2 | 2:30 pm

Small Kine

Doc | 4 min | Directed by Jordan Christopher*
*In attendance

Dive into the tiny world in this short film about the small creatures of the Big Island.

Hilo Palace| June 2 | 5:15 pm
Aloha Theatre | June 14 | 6 pm

Tales of the Circle Keys

Fantasy | 16 min | Directed by Diq Diamond
*in attendance with Executive Producer Kurt Ken Kaminaka

An obsessed screenplay writer struggling to distinguish between dreams and reality embarks on a search for a strange musical instrument.

Hilo Palace| June 1 | 2 pm

T-Shirt Theatre presents Kipuka: An Anti-Bullying Project

Doc | 1 hour, 6 min | Directed by Jeremiah Tayao

This anti-bullying project addresses bullying, cyberbullying, and teen suicide prevention – written and performed by the students (aged 13-18).

Hilo Palace| June 2 | 2:30 pm

Turn On Your Own

Drama | 9 min | Directed by Mary Baghdady
*in attendance

Five friends get kicked out of their senior prom and are forced to confront one another at Wailana Coffee house.

Hilo Palace| June 1 | 12 pm

Upstream

Noir | 7 min | Directed by Jeff Orig*
*in attendance with Producer Lisa Orig

Two estranged brothers reunite in Honolulu to overcome a powerful drug lord who threatens everything and everyone they love.

Hilo Palace| June 2 | 5:15 pm
Aloha Theatre | June 14 | 6 pm

Award nomination: Best Cinematography

Waterworks

Drama | 20 min | Directed by Cheyenne Lawes*
*in attendance

After breaking up with her boyfriend, Ray struggles with people's expectations for how emotional she should be.

Hilo Palace| June 1 | 12 pm

Hilo, Hawaii

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