The Made in Hawaii Film Festival will return to Hilo from March 25-28, with both virtual offerings and limited capacity in-person screenings.
Founded in 2018, the festival offers a lineup of over 60 Hawaii-made films, including feature-length and short narrative films, documentaries, music videos and web series–all shot within the state of Hawaii.
The event was scheduled to go into its third year in 2020 but was postponed due to COVID-19; now it’s back with offerings that will be available virtually at no cost to the public and ticketed screenings at the Hilo Palace with proper safety precautions in place, marking one of the first events the theater has been able to put on since it closed down due to the pandemic in March of last year.
“We hope to provide a platform not only for local filmmakers to screen their work, but for the community to see how much Hawaii island has to offer,” says festival co-founder and Palace Theater Executive Director Phillips Payson. “MIHFF was started here at the Palace, and we are inspired by the growth within Hawaii’s film industry. Whether you’re watching the program from home or attending a screening, you’ll be inspired and entertained by the diversity of stories being produced locally.”
Films will be grouped by category in blocks of 90 to 120 minutes. In-person festival tickets will run $10 for one block, and all virtual offerings will be run through the festival’s website (www.MIHFF.org ) at no cost.
“I know much of our audience will want to enjoy our lineup from the safety and comfort of their own couch, and it was important for us to be able to offer that at no cost,” says Zoe Eisenberg, the festival’s Executive Director, who points to the immense financial strain the pandemic has put on her community. “For those who are missing the theatrical experience, we’re excited to provide a lineup of films designed for the big screen.”
The opening night of the festival will also include pre-filmed performances from Na Halau Ha’a o Kea and Kainani Kahaunaele with Emma Coloma-Nakano. It will conclude with a selection of short films exploring the experiences of the people of Hawai’i.
“Our opening night films showcase a new standard of excellence, with cinematic images and compelling storytelling from a Hawaiian perspective,” says Vincent Keala Lucero, Head of Development, Native Hawaiian Programming, who curated the lineup.
All screenings will be socially distanced with restricted capacity, and audience members will choose their seats when purchasing through the Palace’s ticketing software, which will automatically create a buffer of empty seats around audience members as a safety precaution.
In an effort to support and grow Hawaii’s independent arts, the event will also include several virtual panels that can be accessed at no cost online.
The festival also maintains a partnership with the Aloha Theatre in Kona; the venue remains closed to the public and will be supporting the festival virtually.
The event was made possible through support of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the County and State of Hawai’i.