Hawaii International Film Festival Announces Festival Award Winners
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Hawaii International Film Festival Announces Festival Award Winners

Halekulani Golden Orchid for Best Narrative Feature: MADONNA,
directed by Shin Su-won

Best Documentary Feature Winner: CROCODILE GENNADIY,
directed by Steve Hoover

Ryoko Hirosue, Tadanobu Asano, and Ha Jung Woo honored at Hawaii International Film Festival Awards Gala

November 15, 2015 (Honolulu, HI) The 35th edition of Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) presented by Halekulani announced their Jury winners at a private Awards Gala this evening.

The Golden Orchid is bestowed upon the narrative and documentary films that best express artistic and technical excellence and promote cross-cultural understanding. Each nominated film furthers the Hawaii International Film Festival mandate to entertain, enlighten and empower. An international jury will selected films that articulate this manifesto consistent with the cross-pollination of words, ideas and images that comprise the kinetic and visceral power of film.

The Halekulani Golden Orchid for Best Narrative Feature was awarded to director Shin Su-won (South Korea) for the film, MADONNA. The award and $5000 cash prize was presented by HIFF festival jurors: Jérôme Paillard (Executive Director, Marché du film, Festival de Cannes), Nina Yang Bongiovi (Producing Partner, Forest Whitaker’s Significant Productions (FRUITVALE STATION, DOPE, SONGS MY BROTHERS TAUGHT ME) and John Badalu (Film Publicist, Producer, Film Programmer, Berlin International Film Festival, Shanghai International Film Festival, Q! Film Festival)

“Storytelling from a woman’s perspective, marginalized individuals given a voice, revealing the harsh and violent reality in contemporary society’s in a well-written script with beautiful execution. Aesthetics and cinematography lends itself to quality filmmaking, with a solid cast. Even though the film reflects one particular society, the theme was universal and impactful. The winner go the Halekulani Golden Orchid Award for Best Narrative Feature goes to MADONNA directed by Shin Su-won.” – HIFF 2015 Narrative Feature Jury.

The evening’s Awards Gala honorees were recognized for their commitment to excellence in their field. This year the festival honored actress Ryoko Hirosue with the Career Achievement Award. Hirosue is best known for her role in the Luc Besson produced WASABI co-starring Jean Reno and DEPARTURES, the winner of the Oscar® for Foreign Language Film. Her current film, HANA’S MISO SOUP had its world premiere at this year’s festival. Ms. Hirosue’s work one of the most prolific in the history of the Festival’s film programming.

Actor Tadanobu Asano was honored with the Maverick Award for his bold performances on screen, working with the top directors around the world for over twenty years. He’s been in seminal films and cult classics as ICHI THE KILLER (2001), ELECTRIC DRAGON 80,000V (2001), THE BLIND SWORDSMAN: ZATOICHI (2003), LAST LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE (2006), and MONGOL: THE RISE OF GENGHIS KHAN (2007). He has crossed over to Hollywood tentpoles including THOR (2011), BATTLESHIP (2012) and the upcoming SILENCE (2016) directed by Martin Scorsese.

Actor Ha Jung Woo, from South Korea, was honored with the Renaissance Award for his profound career as an actor as director. Known to attract both critical acclaim and commercial success, Ha quickly became the most in-demand leading actor of his generation in Korean cinema, showcasing his versatility in the road movie MY DEAR ENEMY (2008), the sports film TAKE OFF (2009), crime drama and Na Hong-jin follow-up THE YELLOW SEA (2010), crime saga NAMELESS GANGSTER: RULES OF THE TIME (2012), romantic comedy LOVE FICTION (2012), spy thriller THE BERLIN FILE (2013), newsroom thriller THE TERROR LIVE (2013) and as a Korean Robin Hood in KUNDO: AGE OF THE RAMPANT (2014).

“From Ryoko Hirosue maturing into a dramatic actress, to Tadanobu Asano’s prolific work with internationally renowned filmmakers, to Ha Jung-woo’s foray into directing and painting, we are so honored to host these amazing artists who represent the Asia and Pacific Rim so well.” says Robert Lambeth, HIFF’s executive director.

The Best Documentary Feature Award and $5000 cash prize was awarded to CROCODILE GENNADIY, directed by Steve Hoover. Jurors Nate Kohn, PhD (Director, EbertFest; Associate Director, Peabody Awards; Professor, University of Georgia), Freida Lee Mock (Writer-Director, Academy Award® Winner, MAYA LIN: A STRONG CLEAR VISION) and James Moll (Filmmaker, Allentown Productions, Academy Award® Winner, THE LAST DAYS, Founding Executive Director, Shoah Foundation) accepted the award on behalf of the filmmaker.

“CROCODILE GENNADIY is extraordinary: it tells a story with a compelling protagonist, a Ukranian pastor who rehabilitates drug addicted teens against a backdrop of a country in crisis. The film is a wonderful example of dramatic storytelling using all the cinematic tools – superb cinematography, inspired editing, provocative score – to tell a story of a man of uncommon moral conviction. We congratulate director Steve Hooper and his team for this outstanding achievement.” – HIFF 2015 Documentary Jury.

Short Film Jurors Taylour Chang (Theatre manager, Doris Duke Theater, Honolulu Museum of Art), Ty Sanga (Filmmaker, VISIONS IN THE DARK: THE PINKY THOMPSON STORY; STONES, Sundance Native Lab Fellow NARRATIVE SHORT FILM WINNER) and Vera Zambonelli (Executive Director, Hawai‘i Women in Filmmaking) presented the Best Short Film Award to AHI KA, directed by Richard Curtis (New Zealand)

“AHI KA exhibits breathtaking imagery that instilled nostalgia and complex emotion. Its main actress delivers a haunting performance, portraying a kind of beauty that invokes the ghosts of our past. Lastly, the film makes a powerful statement and sheds light on a story we feel needs to be shared. Like fire that passes from generation to generation, the film has the power to perpetuate dialogue about sensitive topics that no place on earth is exempt from.” – HIFF 2015 Short Film Jury

The NETPAC award presented annually at international film festivals in Berlin, Cannes, Venice, Rotterdam, Pusan, Singapore, Taiwan, Yamagata, Amiens and Hawaii. HIFF is the only film festival in North America given permission to present the NETPAC award.

This year, the NETPAC award was presented by NETPAC Jurors: Wong Tuck Cheong (Film Historian, Scholar, NETPAC Founding Member), Zakir H. Raju (Professor/Dean, School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Independent University, Bangladesh), Misa Tupou (Co-founder, Aotearoa New Zealand Film Festival in Honolulu, Acting instructor, Kapiolani Community College).

The festival will continue through November 22, with exciting lineup of world premieres and special event screenings. The Audience Awards for Favorite Narrative Feature, Documentary and Short Film, presented by Hawaii News Now, will be announced on Tuesday, November 24 on the HIFF website at www.hiff.org.

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