A Sneak Peek at the 2014 New American Filmmakers

Aloha!  The Hawaii International Film Festival is just around the corner, marking the eighth year that the Vilcek Foundation has partnered with the festival to present the New Americans Filmmakers (NAF) program.

The 2014 New American Filmmakers are a diverse, talented, and creative group of immigrant filmmakers.  We invite you to preview all of this year’s filmmakers and NAF selections below.  Stay tuned for filmmaker spotlights and complete coverage throughout the festival!  Mahalo!

The Artist

This year’s Featured Filmmaker, Antoine de Cazotte, has years of experience as a producer.  He has worked on television shows, miniseries, documentaries, and featured films around the world, and he currently serves as the French representative of the Producers Guild of America. 

NAF will be providing a free screening of The Artist, an Academy Award–winning film set in the era of silent cinema.  Antoine will be available for an extended discussion following the film. 

Read more >

Man From Reno

Japanese-born actress and writer Ayako Fujitani began her film career at the age of 13, in the Gamera sequels of the 1990s.  Since then, Ayako has demonstrated additional talents as a novelist, film critic, and musician. 

Now the lead in Dave Boyle’s Man from Reno, Ayako plays a Japanese mystery writer, Aki.  On a visit to San Francisco, Aki becomes involved with a mysterious traveler from Reno, who abruptly disappears, leaving behind a trail of questions.

Read More >

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

Ana Lily Amirpour was also a young, avid artist when she created her first film at only 12 years old—a horror film starring guests of a slumber party.  The artist, musician, and filmmaker, born in the U.K. to parents of Iranian descent, now debuts her first feature film, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, dubbed cinema’s first Iranian vampire Western. 

In the Iranian ghost town of Bad City, where a lonesome vampire preys on the town’s most depraved denizens, a love story ensnares two tortured souls.  A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a joyful mash-up of genre, archetype, and iconography, with influences spanning from spaghetti Westerns to graphic novels and horror films.

Read More >


Prior to making films, Iranian-born Farzad Sangari studied both literature and film and worked in education.  His first feature documentary, Mudbloods, follows a collegiate Quidditch team, the fictional-turned-real competitive sport from the Harry Potter universe, as they travel from UCLA to New York to compete in the 5th annual Quidditch World Cup.

Read More >

Nuoc 2030

Minh Nguyễn-Võgrew up in a small town in Vietnam during the Vietnam War.  To get away from the atrocities, he escaped into the one-room movie theater in town that his parents managed.  After moving to the U.S. by way of France to work in applied physics, Minh returned to his early passion for cinema; Nước 2030is his second feature film.

Set in the vast and beautiful coastal regions of Southern Vietnam, Nước (Water) is a mixed genre of mystery and romance set in the near future, when water levels have risen dangerously due to global climate change and arable lands have become valued commodity.  A woman searching for the truth behind her husband’s murder finds more than she expected.

Read More >


Ethiopian-born writer and director Zeresenay Berhane Mehari has more than a decade of experience making films.  In 2010, he founded Haile Addis Pictures to produce his first feature film, Difret.

Based on a real-life story, the film follows a bright 14-year-old girl who is kidnapped on her way home from school, in the rural Ethiopian tradition of bride kidnapping.  When a tenacious young lawyer arrives to represent Hirut, she is embattled in a case of civil authority, women’s rights, and customary law.

Uzumasa Limelight

Ken Ochiai left his home in Tokyo, Japan, to pursue his dream of becoming a film director in the U.S.  Since then, he has made more than 30 short films, commercials, and music videos and has won numerous prizes, including the Jury Prize from the Directors Guild of America and the Governor of Tokyo Award. 

In his latest feature film, Ken presents a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of kirare-yaku, extras from the golden age of Japanese samurai epics who specialize in portraying spectacular deaths on screen.  One elderly extra fears that the art form is dying, until he takes on a young disciple. 

Read More >

The Hawaii International Film Festival runs from October 30 to November 9 in Honolulu, Oahu, and from November 13 to 16 on the Big Island and Kauai.  To purchase tickets, please visit hiff.org


  • Announcing the 2018 Vilcek Prizewinners

    Congratulations to the remarkable biomedical scientists and professionals in the architecture field who have been awarded the 2018 Vilcek Prizes. Learn more about their incredible accomplishments:


    Read more >

  • In Support of DACA

    2017 was a tumultuous year for immigration policy in the United States, with several controversial restrictions issued by the new administration. As former refugees and green card holders, our founders Jan and Marica Vilcek share their thoughts on these policies.