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Southeast Asia Films at HIFF 2014 *UPDATED*

NEW FILM: The Look of Silence


Sunday, November 09, 6:45 PM, Dole Cannery D

The Hawaii International Film Festival announces a special screening of THE LOOK OF SILENCE, the sequel to Joshua Oppenheimer’s award-winning documentary THE ACT OF KILLING. THE LOOK OF SILENCE does something virtually without precedent in cinema or in the aftermath of genocide: it documents survivors confronting their relatives’ murderers in the absence of any truth and reconciliation process, while the murderers remain in power. -HIFF

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New Cinema Education Forum: Islam in Film



This dynamic panel discussion will feature six participating filmmakers from the New Frontiers Program: Desiree Akhavan (APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR) from New York, Siti Kamaluddin (YASMINE) from Brunei, Cherien Dabis (MAY IN THE SUMMER) from Los Angeles, Sanif Olek (SAYANG DISAYANG) from Singapore, and M. Raihan Halim (BANTING) from Singapore. The panel will focus on the filmmakers’ work and an exploration and negotiation of identity and place in contemporary Islamic communities as a filmmaker in the 21st century. The panel will be moderated by HIFF Director of Programming Anderson Le.



This exciting roundtable discussion will feature three dynamic media artists participating in the New Frontiers Program portion of the Chain of Fire exhibition co- presented by HIFF and the Honolulu Biennial Foundation. The highlighted artists are: Hasan Elahi from Maryland, Arahmaiani from Indonesia, and Sama Alshaibi from Arizona. The roundtable discussion will focus on their work, and negotiating identity as a contemporary media artist. The discussion will be moderated by Chain of Fire curator KJ Baysa.

Upcoming Films


Love is never an easy matter, especially for Yasmine. The boy of her dreams is back in town but he hooks up with Dewi, her longtime rival. Tired of her school and tied up in an underdog Silat club, she decides to take matters into her own hands and starts leading the team. At first, Yasmine’s secret activities are well hidden. However, when her father eventually finds out, he decides once and for all to save Yasmine from what he believes to be her downfall. Yasmine is the first commercial film to come out of Brunei in over 50 years.

Yasmine, Brunei (2014):
Sat, November 1 – 8:30 PM Dole Cannery D
Sun, November 2 – 2:15 PM Dole Cannery D
Sat, November 8 – 3:00 PM Koko Marina B

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JALANAN (Streetside) is the captivating story of Boni, Ho and Titi – three gifted, charismatic bus musicians in Jakarta – and through them a mostly unknown story of contemporary Indonesia.

Jalanan, Indonesia (2013):
Thursday, November 6 – 8:45PM – Dole Cannery E

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Given its heartwarming appeal and universally applicable message about cross-cultural relationships, it’s not really hard to see why Chiu Keng Guan’s THE JOURNEY has become Malaysia’s highest grossing domestic picture of all time. After many years of living abroad, Bee comes back home with her British fiancé. Her father (known in the village as Uncle Chuan) is a conservative and traditional Chinese-born Malaysian, and refuses to give his blessing to their union. In order to please her outraged father, Bee has to prove that the man she wants to marry is not just a scary white man, or a “ghost” for that matter, but a viable candidate for the position of a future son-in-law. Unexpected circumstances lead Chuan to reluctantly agree to their marriage, on the condition that their wedding adheres to Chinese tradition. Part of that tradition is that Chuan must invite all of his childhood friends personally. So the quintessential odd couple, Benji and Chuan, embark on a cross country adventure to deliver the invitations.

The Journey, Malaysia (2014):
Fri, October 31 – 5:30 PM Dole Cannery C
Fri, November 7 – 5:30 PM Dole Cannery C

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Written and directed by Zig Dulay, M. (MOTHER’S MAIDEN NAME) centers on Madame Bella (frequent ASAP singer and celebrity Zsa Zsa Padilla), a single working mother who is battling cancer. The film offers an insightful commentary on the disparity of the medical treatments available in the Philippines where there is a deep chasm between the rich and the poor. Produced by Joji Alonso, M vacillates between social awareness and melodrama tropes steered by Zsa Zsa’s delicate performance.

(M) Mother’s Maiden Name, Philippines (2014):
Thurs, November 6 – 5:45 PM Dole Cannery D
Sat, November 8 – 11:00 AM Dole Cannery D

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QUICK CHANGE is a film that depicts the slog acceptance of change in a society that is quick to judge. Dorina, the lead character in the story, earns her living by peddling her cheap services illegally. Her weapon is the syringe, a tool which can turn an ordinary face from simply pretty to pretty fierce. Her customers are mostly seasoned gay beauty pageant contestants who are obsessed about the men in their lives and how they can keep them entertained. Is the desire to be beautiful worth all the pain necessary to achieve it?

Quick Change, Philippines (2013):
Tues, November 4 – 6:30 PM Dole Cannery E
Sat, November 8 – 9:00 PM Dole Cannery E

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Beneath the pageant smile, sexy outfits, and colorful exterior lies the transsexuals’ day-to-day pain of achieving the ultimate goal — to be happy with themselves and be accepted. SHUNNED offers a glimpse of their struggles, battles with society, their love life, and transition to become a woman — A no holds barred look into the lives of different transsexuals (male to female), in the Philippines.

Shunned, Philippines (2014):
Fri, October 31 – 5:30 PM Dole Cannery C
Fri, November 7 – 5:30 PM Dole Cannery C

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Directed by Real Florido, the film revolves around a simple yet unconventional love story. Corazon (Nova Villa), a recently retired government employee, crosses paths again with her first love, Third (Freddie Webb), decades after their abrupt separation. The incident rekindles Corazon’s old feelings, and presents a way out of her already monotonous marriage to Alejandro (Dante Rivero).

Third is My First, Philippines (2014):
Tue, November 4 – 1:30PM Dole Cannery C

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Ricardo (Robert Arevalo) is an arrogant self-made tycoon who has well and truly forgotten his humble beginnings. But years of high living and a series of poor financial decisions have caused his fortune to dwindle to practically nothing. One of the few properties he still owns is Tondo, the tenement he grew up in — and so, with his two grandchildren in tow, he moves back into the crumbling apartment block he left behind. Vibrant, funny, and doggedly optimistic, WHERE I AM KING mixes fish-out-of-water comedy with serious questions about what we owe to the society we live in: whether we should look out only for ourselves or adhere to higher principles.

Where I Am King, Philippines (2014):
Sat, November 8 – 5:00PM Dole Cannery E
Sun, November 9 – 11:30AM Dole Cannery E

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It’s not easy being raised in a strict Muslim household. Between the 10pm curfews, banning of heretic music and selective TV watching, twenty-four year old Yasmin barely has the most exciting of life. Everything changes when Yasmin chances upon a professional wrestling gym and does the unthinkable: she secretly signs up as a wrestler. Soon, Yasmin is trading her hijab for a mask and her awkwardness with unbridled high-flying moves as she becomes her alter-ego, the fearsome Zarith Blade!

Banting, Singapore (2014):
Sun, November 2 – 4:45 PM Dole Cannery D
Tues, November 4 – 3:00 PM Dole Cannery D

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Sambal Goreng – a traditional dish in the Malay Archipelago – is the metaphor for the sizzle, simmer, spice and flavor of a household wherein resides a Tsunami survivor turned domestic helper who struggles to save her job and her bitter retired employer. Repetitive, yet lyrical in tone, this “cycle of daily life” is sprinkled with beautiful cinematography and enchanting music.

SAYANG DISAYANG is Singapore’s official submission for the 2015 Academy Awards’ Foreign Language category. Director Sanif Olek will be in attendance for the first screening of the film for a special post-screening Q&A.

Sayang Disayang, Singapore (2013):
Mon, November 3 – 6:15 PM Dole Cannery E
Thurs, November 6 – 4:15 PM Dole Cannery E

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Song, a former athlete turned teacher, is sent to a rural school where there are only 4 students. He finds a diary from the previous teacher, Ann, and he becomes enamored by her when reading her entries chronicling her experiences. A year later, Ann returns and finds the same diary, but this time, with Song’s entries chronicling his year teaching.

A Teacher’s Diary, Thailand (2014):
Thurs, October 30 – 6:30PM Dole Cannery G
Sat, November 1 – 11:00AM Dole Cannery C

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GENTLE is a film set in modern-day South Vietnam based on the Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s short story, “A Gentle Creature.” It examines the spirituality and materialistic pursuits of a middle-aged man (Dustin Nguyen) and his love for a young lady (newcomer Thanh Tu Nguyen).

Gentle, Viet Nam (2014):
Wed, November 5 – 6:15PM Dole Cannery C
Thurs, November 6 – 4:00PM Dole Cannery C

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Set in the vast and beautiful coastal regions of Southern Vietnam, NUOC (Water) is a mixed genre of mystery and romance set in the near future when water levels have risen due to global climate change. South Vietnam is one of the regions most affected by climate change, which causes as much as half the farmland to be swallowed by water. To subsist, people live on houseboats and rely solely on fishing with a depleting supply. Huge multinational conglomerates compete to build floating farms equipped with desalination and solar power plants floating along the coastline to produce the needed vegetables that have become high-priced commodities. The story follows a young woman in her journey to find out the truth about the murder of her husband whom she suspects has been killed by associates of a floating farm. In the process, she discovers the controversial secret the floating farm wants to keep from the public.

Nuoc 2030, Viet Nam (2014):
Fri, October 31 – 6:00PM Dole Cannery E
Tue, November 4 – 4:00PM Dole Cannery C

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