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Lifestyle // Old Friends
Nicole Kato

Chuck Boller

Photo from Chuck Boller

Hawaii International Film Festival, known to frequenters of the screenings as HIFF, celebrates its 33rd anniversary this year and its 13th annual Spring Showcase, which began April 5 and will run until April 11. This means that HIFF executive director Chuck Boller has been a busy man.

The big festival in October has 255 films from 50 countries and the Spring Showcase hosts 35 films from 14 countries.

This year’s spring festival opens with Kon-Tiki and also features films such as Storm Surfers 3D (the world’s first 3-D surfing movie), Comrade Kim Goes Flying (filmed in North Korea), and Linsanity (narrated by Daniel Dae Kim) closing out the festival.

HIFF now has a EuroCinema Hawaii section, as well.

“Three years ago we partnered with EuroCinema Hawaii, European-oriented people who want to be certain that European culture in Hawaii doesn’t die out and people recognize it,” explains Boller, who was featured on the MidWeek cover Dec. 16, 2005. “So we started a festival within a festival, which puts a huge spotlight on our EuroCinema.”

With an impressive lineup this spring, tickets are selling out fast. But Boller explains that there are “rush lines” for those who are not able to purchase tickets. “If all the tickets are sold out, sometimes at the last minute people can’t come,” he says.

For a full list of movies and showtimes, visit hiff.org or download the free app for iPhone and Android.

“Everything is on the app,” Boller says. “You can even watch a trailer of every film on your phone, and it’s free.

“If there are any kinds of changes to the schedule – we try never to have a change, but once in a while we’ll squeeze in another screening if we can – that’s the best place for updates.”

Another added feature HIFF now is including is its Creative Lab, an educational program that entertains and enlightens audiences to ensure HIFF fans can have film fun and education year-round.

“It’s lifelong learning,” Boller says. “We take filmmakers into schools, and we also throw in a Kupuna Lens Film program for people 60 and over in partnership with Olelo and the Academy of Creative Media.

“We take seniors and teach them how to use equipment, and we encourage them to make films about their lives.”

The Creative Lab, started last year, also has something for everyone – from keiki to kupuna, as Boller puts it. It’s amazing to see what HIFF can do throughout the year. And it even plans to work with Doris Duke Theatre to screen films there the last Thursday of each month starting in June.

With so many entertainment and educational opportunities HIFF has to offer, Boller and his staff have their work cut out for them each year.

“I’ve got a year-round staff,” he says. “We used to have slow periods; we don’t anymore. We’re already working on our fall festival.”

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