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MOONLIGHT, directed by Barry Jenkins is the winner of the Halekulani Golden Orchid for Best Narrative Feature at the 36th edition of Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF).  The Jurors shared their thoughts on the award winning film: “Spare language and cinematography with a documentary feel illuminate the possibilities of love, hope and healing in this American yet universal story. The authenticity of the acting and the attention paid to emotions of the characters let the audience see the world through Chiron’s big eyes and open heart, making MOONLIGHT accessible to viewers anywhere.”

The Jury also announced a Special Mention (Acting) for APPRENTICE, directed by Boo Junfeng. KNIFE IN THE CLEAR WATER, directed by Wan Xuebo, was also recognized with a Special Mention (Cinematography).

Cheng Pei Pei is honored, as well as the work of master auteur King Hu who is this year’s Filmmaker in Focus. Cheng is synonymous as the “Queen of Swords” in classics such as COME DRINK WITH ME (1966), GOLDEN SWALLOW (1968), DRAGON SWAMP (1969), and THE LADY HERMIT (1971). Auteur Ang Lee would bring Cheng back into the limelight by casting her as the Jade Fox in the Oscar-winning CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON. Cheng would transition to international films including the U.K. film LILTING (2014),

This year the festival honored internationally renowned actor Simon Yam, as part of the Hong Kong sidebar sponsored by the Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office – San Francisco. Yam is best known for his critically acclaimed performance in FULL CONTACT. He has starred in over 170 feature films, including: THE MISSION (1999), SPL (2005), LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER (2003), ELECTION (2005), EYE IN THE SKY (2007), SPARROW (2008), THE THIEVES (2012), BODYGUARDS AND ASSASSINS (2009), RIPPLES OF DESIRE (2012), THE MAN OF TAI CHI (2013), THE MIDNIGHT AFTER (2014) and THE TENANTS DOWNSTAIRS (2016), which screened in this year’s festival.

Oscar winning producer Nicole Rocklin (Best Picture winner SPOTLIGHT) was also honored by HIFF and the City & County of Honolulu, Honolulu Film Office.

The Best Documentary Feature Award was awarded to THE CINEMA TRAVELERS, directed Shirley Abraham and Amit Madeshiya. The jury also recognized filmmakers Robin Lung for FINDING KUKAN (Special Mention, Women In Film) and Tadashi Nakamura for MELE MURALS (Special Mention, Local Impact / Perpetuation of Hawaiian Culture).

Juror Pamela Young said “Arthur, Karim and I were privileged to be inspired, educated, and encouraged by this year’s impressive documentary entries, all of which demonstrated a commitment to excellence by filmmakers who took audiences into the worlds of surfing, drug addiction, samurai’s, LGBT rights, and family history. One film in particular transported us on a lyrical exploration of cultural and technological transitions, where the analog nature of celluloid film projection crumples to make way for a digital future.”

COIN BOY, directed by Li Chuan-Yang, won the Best Short Film Award. Here is the jury statement: “There were many standout shorts that made selecting a winner difficult, but “Coin Boy” best demonstrated the craft of filmmaking with its exceptional cast and quiet restraint in directing.”

The NETPAC award is presented annually at international film festivals in Berlin, Cannes, Venice, Rotterdam, Pusan, Singapore, Taiwan, Yamagata, Amiens and Hawaii. HIFF is the only film festival in North America granted the distinguished honor of presenting the NETPAC award. NETPAC Jurors selected KNIFE IN THE CLEAR WATER, directed by Wang Xuebo, as this year’s winner.

“This is an authentic and unique insight into the Muslim Hui people in one of the most desolate rural communities in Western China,” said the Jurors. “It’s a story that transcends the local with a universal elegy of grief and desperation and embodies achievement in cinema on every level.”

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