By Léo Azambuja
It’s time to get in the dark, in good company or alone, and see the light — on the silver screen.
The Hawai‘i International Film Festival kicks off Thursday on Kaua‘i at Waimea Theater at 7 p.m., with the screening of the short animation “Lava,” a musical love story between two volcanoes spanning millions of years; and Japan’s “The Vancouver Asahi.”
“The Vancouver Asahi” is a true story of a 1930s Canadian baseball team made of second-generation Japanese immigrants who enjoyed victory and glory until the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941. The bombing caused the Asahi to be treated with resentment and xenophobia, and the team never fully recovered.
The festival continues at Waimea Theater and at the St. Regis Princeville Resort until Sunday. Combined, both venues will have shown 17 movies, between shorts and full features, by the end of this year’s HIFF.
Some of the highlights of the festival are “Rise of the Wahine,” “Hihi‘o” and “Beyond Sight: The Derek Rabelo Story.”
“Rise of the Wahine” tells the true story of how the now-popular University of Hawai‘i Wahine volleyball team started, in a time when women were highly discriminated against.
“Beyond Sight: The Derek Rabelo Story,” was co-directed by former Kaua‘i resident and Brazilian born Bruno Lemos, a surf photographer and former professional surfer who resides on O‘ahu for the last two decades. The movie tells the true story of Brazilian Derek Rabelo. His father wished a son who would become a professional surfer, but the boy was born blind. Despite his blindness, at 17 years old, Derek decides to surf the waves on the North Shore of O‘ahu. You’ll just have to see it to believe it.
“Hihi‘o” is an eight-minute short filmed by Kaua‘i resident Serge Marcil. The film captures Serge’s artistic interpretation of mana, or life energy, as a muse in a dream, or hihi’o.
Check out the full schedule below.
7 p.m. “The Vancouver Asahi” (Japan); and “Lava” (U.S.)
5 p.m., “Rise of the Wahine” (U.S.)
7 p.m., “Where I am King” (Philippines)
12 p.m., “We are the Giant” (U.S./UK, set in the Middle East)
2:30 p.m., “Ecotherapy Getaway Holiday” (Japan)
5 p.m., “Kundo: The Age of Rampant” (South Korea)
7:30 p.m., “Beyond Sight: The Derek Rebelo Story” (U.S., set in Brazil and O‘ahu’s North Shore); and “Hihi‘o” (U.S.)
12 p.m., “We are Brothers” (South Korea)
2:15 p.m., “My Brilliant Life” (South Korea)
5 p.m., “Mary Kom” (India)
7:30 p.m., “Visions in the Dark: The Life of Pinky Thompson” (U.S.)
St. Regis Princeville Resort
4 p.m., “Beyond the Surface” (U.S., set in Southern India); “A Place in the Middle” (U.S.); and “Hihi‘o” (U.S.)
6:30 p.m., “Beyond Sight: The Derek Rebelo Story” (U.S., set in Brazil and O‘ahu’s North Shore)
4 p.m., “Angel Azul” (U.S.)
6:30 p.m., “Fort Bliss” (U.S.)
Funding for the HIFF on Kaua‘i was provided by the Kaua‘i Film Commission and Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau.
Tickets for the HIFF movies can be purchased at the respective venues. Visit www.hiff.org or call 808-792-1577 or call for more information.