Aloha from the Hawaii International Film Festival!
Once again, the Vilcek Foundation is pleased to present the annual New American Filmmakers showcase at the Hawaii International Film Festival! NAF presents the best independent films from immigrant artists in American cinema, representing an exciting mix of genres and influences from around the world.
As our featured filmmaker, we have stuntwoman and actress Zoë Bell, who started her career as the stunt double for Lucy Lawless in the television series Xena: Warrior Princess. She has performed stunt work in over 20 films and was featured in the documentary Double Dare, which chronicled the lives of two stuntwomen in the industry. She segued into an acting career and has appeared in Grindhouse, Deathproof, Django Unchained, and the upcoming The Hateful Eight.
At this year’s festival, Zoë will be presenting Camino, an action-thriller she produced and starred in. Camino follows Avery, a photojournalist on assignment in the jungles of Colombia. When Avery witnesses something she wasn’t supposed to, she must run for her life.
NAF is also proud to feature the following films and delegates:
Margarita, with a Straw, directed by Indian-born Shonali Bose. Filmed in India and New York, Margarita presents an honest look at life for a young woman with cerebral palsy. Shonali is not afraid to confront the question of sexual desire in those living with disabilities, nor is she afraid to depict homosexuality in a country where it is outlawed. Margarita received the Sundance Institute’s Mahindra Global Filmmaker Award and the Best Asian Film Award at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Yosemite, directed by French-born Gabrielle Demeestere. Yosemite is a wonderfully restrained look at childhood through the eyes of three young boys living under the threat of a mountain lion stalking the suburbs of Palo Alto in the 1980s. Based on a short story collection by James Franco, Yosemite was the closing film at the Slamdance Film Festival and it won the Tangerine Entertainment Juice Fund Award. Gabrielle is a co-founder of La Ti Da Productions, a collective of women filmmakers in New York.
Seoul Searching, directed by Benson Lee (born in the U.S. to Korean parents) and shot by Irish-born cinematographer Daniel Katz. Seoul Searching is a narrative feature based on a summer Benson spent in a South Korean cultural immersion camp for Koreans born overseas. Although he loved the teen dramas of the 1980s, Benson was bothered by the depiction of Asian-Americans, and he set out to create a teen comedy with an all-Asian-American cast. He opened the casting call to social media, and Seoul Searching includes two new talents discovered via Facebook. The film was shot by Daniel, building upon an impressive resume that includes I Am Legend and Adam.
People Are the Sky, directed by North Korean-born Dai Sil Kim-Gibson. As a child, Dai Sil moved to Seoul with her family to escape the warfare and political unrest that ultimately separated Korea into two countries. She did not return again until 2009, and she documented her homecoming in People Are the Sky. Dai Sil is the first Korean-Americans to film a documentary with the official approval of the North Korean government, and People Are the Sky is a contemplative exploration of the meaning of home.
We are also pleased to co-present, with HIFF, a special spotlight on legendary British-born director Alfred Hitchcock. Two screenings will be held in his honor: the documentary Hitchcock/Truffaut, and a special, outdoor screening of Hitchcock’s Spellbound. After the screening of Spellbound, Hitchcock’s granddaugher Tere Carrubba will host a special Q&A about Hitchcock’s life and legacy.
Saturday, Nov. 21 – 4:00PM, Dole Cannery E
We hope to see you at the screenings and filmmaker Q&A sessions, but no worries if you can’t make it—we’ll be presenting interviews with the filmmakers and photos from the events during the festival! Stay tuned for more.
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In this New American Filmmakers interview, French-born director Gabrielle Demeestere talks about how French film culture, the Californian surf scene, and her studies in literature influenced her debut feature film, Yosemite.
Dai Sil Kim-Gibson, North Korean-born filmmaker and scholar, returns to North Korea after 70 years in search for home. Read more about her emotional journey and watch an interview to learn more about her film, People Are the Sky.