It’s been eons since the Hawaii International Film Festival. Thankfully I was able to see more films than I did last year. Two films that stood out from what I saw were Tze Chun’s Children of Invention and Daniel Lee’s Precious.
Along with bringing boat loads of great videos and films HIff also brought friends from far away. My friend Suzi from way back was here with her lovely film Dear Lemon Lima. Suzi and I had fallen out of touch years ago but fell back into an easy rapport. Maybe it has to do with getting older, but I wondered a few times while we were together, how did we lose touch? It took being thousands of miles from where we met to reconnect.
Cinnamon’s in Kailua was the breakfast place of choice for me and whoever would join me during HIFF. It’s currently my favorite: crab eggs benedict and guava chiffon pancakes.
Another funny thing was that The Chinatown Film Project that Karin and I began at MOCA three years ago had it’s premiere outside of NY at HIFF. Karin couldn’t make it at the last minute so I stepped in to ‘represent’ it. It was the first time I’d seen the result of our efforts. I really didn’t know what to expect. But as we watched Wayne Wang’s contribution to the project, I found myself getting emotional. His scenes of Chinatown swept by like waves. The soundtrack and the images made me feel a longing for NYC Chinatown that I never thought I’d feel. I was really proud to be there and to have had something to do with it.
K and I went to HIFF’s opening night reception at the Halekulani a few nights ago. We were late and missed all the remarks and the big check from Mayor Mufi but we weren’t late for the food…which was yummy: pretty char siu wraps, kahuku shrimp raviolis, and poke-tinis.
Tonight we’re going to see my long ago friend Suzi’s film Dear Lemon Lima. I’m excited to see it and her. It’s been eons.
K and I just got back from watching one of the last screening of HIFF 08: Noho Hewa. I was deeply moved by this film and feel that any American that has the opportunity to see this should. I first heard about the Hawaiian ‘sovereignty’ ‘movement’ from my friend over dinner when I first arrived. He was explaining to me the politics of the island because I had said that I didn’t understand why Asian American issues had no traction here. I was surprised to hear that such an issue exists. I was apt to believe Hawaii was just a happy place with lots of tan relaxed happy people. The loose strands of politics and culture that I’ve picked up since arriving make more sense after seeing the film. For example the stalled plans for a badly needed public transportation solution: rail or no rail ? The incongruous heavy military presence in stunningly lush sacred land. Or the perception that Hawaiians don’t like change.
I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to see this film. I feel rather complicit living in an area that is dominantly haole and that we’re paying rent that most local people wouldn’t be able to afford. I feel this film has given me the tools to live here more respectfully. It does what most very good films do: they leave you feeling like a better person for having seen it. Visit the website: nohohewa.com.
We also saw Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story yesterday. I think everyone should see this film too! It was so illuminating. The similarities between this 2008 election and the Bush/Dukakis race in 1988 are astounding. It’s amazing how easily and quickly we forget our mistakes. See the movie: boogiemanfilm.com
Afterwards we went into Chinatown in search of sang chau sauce which K uses in almost every cantonese dish he makes. We were under the impression that it would be very hard to find but there it was in the first grocery we walked into:
For lunch we decided to pay a visit to Pho One, one of our favorite regular places to eat in Ala Moana. Good pho and an added bonus they serve soybean milk drinks. Yuuuuum. Reminds me of home.
Unfortunately at the mall afterwards in the parking lot we scratched our car on a a concrete beam. It’s really bad. It sounded awful. Like the car was being crunched. blech.
I got to take the car out this morning! Kind of exciting because I don’t drive in New York and I’d resigned myself to being uncomfortable in the driver’s seat. But driving in Kailua is awesome, mainly because you only really have to make two turns to get anywhere. Today I had a meeting at Morning Brew so I woke up early, grabbed the GPS, jumped into the car and turned up the radio really loud to sing along… to drive half a mile.
It was pointed out to me by a friend that there are similarities between my arrival in Hawaii and scenes from Jerry Maguire. The scene where Tom Cruise secures Cush as a client and he’s trying to find a song to rock out to on the radio but he can’t? That was me this morning.
My meeting this morning was with a staff member of the Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF). I was introduced to them by a friend and will likely be helping them out for the festival in October. It was really great to meet with him. They seem super nice and I’m looking forward to getting to know them and working the festival. Visit HIFF
The only other notable event today would be another episode in my ongoing drama with Hawaii creatures. I went to close a screen door and something soft but substantial landed on my head. Apparently I took the gecko by surprise when I slid the door closed, rousing him out of a mid-morning nap. He landed on my head, then my hand, and after I screamed he landed on the ground and seemed as shocked as I was as it took him a few minutes to scurry under the washing machine.