The Hawaii International Film Festival announces the full line up for their first-ever HIFF@HOME Summer Fest scheduled for August 7-14. The program will screen 11 new feature films entirely online. Check out the titles and synopses below.
Director: Alice Gu (USA)
The Donut King, Ted’s story is one of fate, love, survival, hard knocks, and redemption. It’s the rags to riches story of a refugee escaping Cambodia, arriving in America in 1975 and building an unlikely multi-million dollar empire baking America’s favorite pastry, the donut. Ted sponsored hundreds of visas for incoming refugees and helped them get on their feet, teaching them the ways of the donut business. By 1979 he was living the American Dream. But, in life, great rise can come with great falls.
The First Supper
Director: Yi Chen (USA)
Having been away in Tokyo for a long time, photographer Rintaro (Shota Sometani) returns to his hometown to attend his father’s funeral. To the consternation of both he and his sister Miyako, he discovers that his mother has canceled the catering service for the wake. Claiming instead that she will be cooking a special meal for the mourners. As it turns out, this special meal is the last request of their deceased father (Masatoshi Nagase). And as they move through each course, the family’s past and present collide in an unfolding of memory, love, loss, and redemption
I Am Woman
Director: Unjoo Moon (Australia)
For the first time on screen, I Am A Woman tells the inspiring story of singer Helen Reddy, who wrote and sang the song “I Am Woman” that became the anthem for the women’s movement in the 1970s. The film is a story of fearless ambition and passion of a woman who smashed through the patriarchal norms of her time to become the international singing superstar she always dreamed of being.
The Legend Of Baron To’a
Director: Kiel McNaughton (New Zealand)
Fritz (played by Australian-Tongan actor Uli Latukefu), a displaced Tongan man, who escaped his past after the death of his father, returns to the cul-de-sac of his youth to sell his family home. When a priceless heirloom – a championship wrestling belt belonging to his late father, Baron Toa – is pillaged from the family home, Fritz’s uncle Otto cancels the sale of the house until the belt is returned. A local street thug reveals the belt is now in possession of resident gang, The Pig Hunters. Fritz determines to get the belt back with higher reasoning, but must also channel the life lessons of his late father to fulfill his new mission, to save the neighborhood.
Director: Hong Khaou (United Kingdom, Vietnam)
Kit (Crazy Rich Asians’ Henry Golding) can’t remember much of his native Vietnam. When he returns to the Land of the Golden Star for the first time in over thirty years, he takes in his surroundings as any Western tourist would: the environment as exotic as the language incomprehensible and a budding romance with an ex-pat. The aim of Kit’s travels is to find a place to scatter his parents’ ashes becomes part of a journey back to his roots and to the discovery of his identity. A subtle film about rootlessness, the process of recollection, and finding new contexts that bring a different sense to one’s existence, Monsoon is a personal journey of the 1st generation who want to fulfill the legacies of their refugee parents by bringing them home.
My Sweet Grappa Remedies
Director: Akiko Ohku (Japan)
Single 40-something Yoshiko (Yasuko Matsuyuki) spends her days enjoying life’s simple pleasures, riding her bike to work, enjoying a drop of her favorite drink in the evening writing in her journal. But when she begins spending more time with her spry young colleague Wakabayashi (Haru Kuroki), she is soon confronted with the possibility of romance. With a much younger man. Through this season of romance, Yoshiko reflects on her past and her hopes for the future.
A Thousand Cuts
Director: Ramona S. Diaz (USA, Philippines)
In 2016 Duterte made headlines as an outsider candidate who won the presidency through promises of change and a brutal approach to the war on drugs. Shortly after taking office, he kept that promise, and thousands of bodies began appearing in the streets. As attacks on journalism and the free press begin to ramp up, documentary filmmaker Ramona Diaz follows key players from both sides of the divide. The film documents journalist Maria Ressa and her outlet Rappler as they struggle to continue to tell the truth in the face of extreme opposition, threats, harassment, and even arrest. While at the same time, tracking the campaigns of staunch Duterte supporters and influencers. As the fight for power, truth, and democracy unfolds, the story of Duterte and the Philippines becomes one that resonates ever closer to home.
Twilight’s Kiss (Suk Suk)
Director: Ray Yeung (Hong Kong)
Twilight’s Kiss (Suk Suk) presents the story of two closeted married men in their twilight years. One day PAK, 70, a taxi driver who refuses to retire, meets HOI, 65, a retired single father, in a park. Despite years of societal and personal pressure, they are proud of the families they have created through hard work and determination. Yet in that brief initial encounter, something is unleashed in them, which had been suppressed for so many years. As both men recount their personal histories, they also contemplate a possible future together. The multi-award-winning second feature from Ray Yeung (Front Cover), the director has crafted a moving story set against the backdrop of life as it has been in Hong Kong, but which is rapidly disappearing from view.
We Make Antiques: Kyoto Rendezvous
Director: Masaharu Take (Japan)
Here comes the sequel to the popular comedy caper hit We Make Antiques! Just when they had left their life of pottery forgery behind them, antiques dealer Norio and master potter Sasuke find themselves ensnared in a plot, not of their own making. When a woman named Shino (Ryoko Hirosue) appears at Norio’s antique shop distraught over the theft of her father’s most prized tea bowl, Norio can’t help but be drawn in by her plight. But when he and Sasuke try to catch the culprits, they discover that not all is what it seems, and find themselves fighting for their livelihood! A witty and thrilling whodunnit!