Maui Arts & Entertainment

HIFF returns to Maui with three feature films and selection of shorts, Nov. 18-19

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The Maui Arts & Cultural Center presents a return to Maui of the Hawai‘i International Film Festival (HIFF) presenting three films and a showing of six short films presented at this year’s main festival at its home base on O‘ahu.

All screenings will take place in the MACC’s McCoy Studio Theater starting Friday, Nov. 18 and concluding Saturday, Nov. 19. Tickets go on sale online only Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 10 a.m. at

Presenting films to be shown at the 39th edition of the main HIFF event taking place Nov. 3-13 on O‘ahu, the Maui selections represent some of the best from filmmakers throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Filled with insight and discovery, HIFF is dedicated to advancing understanding and cultural exchange among the peoples of Asia, the Pacific and North America by presenting films from around the world. Each year, more than 50,000 attendees throughout Hawai‘i experience the sounds and images of filmmaking from approximately 45 countries. This cultural exchange of ideas, presented through the powerful medium of film, raises the awareness of our similarities and differences alike.

Friday, Nov. 18 film schedule:

Through the Doggy Door | 7 p.m. | 90 minutes | English

Through the Doggy Door. PC: courtesy

Through the Doggy Door revolves around the story of Sheldon Paishon, a talented surfer who was born and raised on the rugged shores of Oʻahu’s Westside. Far from an idyllic Hawaiian paradise, the community has been ravaged by drugs, poverty and the long reverberations of colonialism. At the age of 12, Sheldon’s parents lost their house and the family was homeless, living out of a tent for the remainder of Sheldon’s adolescence. With a deep drive to overcome all odds and live out his dream of professional surfing, Sheldon battles through the harsh realities of being homeless. Eventually he is taken under the wing of popular pro surfer Mason Ho, who recognizes his immense talent and helps guide him through a world he’s seen very little of. This film aims to inspire and ignite a deeper conversation about the realities of homelessness, the struggle of poverty in Hawai‘i and the importance of self-belief and will power.


Saturday, Nov. 19 film schedule:


My Small Land | 2 p.m. | 114 minutes | Japanese, Kurdish, Turkish (English subtitled)

My Small Land. PC: courtesy

Sarya has lived in Japan since she was five. She pretends to be German to her friends, which is easier than telling the truth. In reality, Sarya’s parents are Kurds who traveled from Turkey to Japan as refugees. Furthermore, she is responsible for her younger siblings while her father is at work. Despite the hardships, the future seems bright and soon, Sarya will be attending college. A tender relationship develops with her work colleague Sota, and her own feelings begin to surface. All Sarya wants is a completely normal life. However, when her father’s application for asylum is denied, she is increasingly torn apart. A truly haunting film about the balancing act of a young refugee who is searching for her own world while caught between two other ones.

My Small Land, the debut directorial debut of Emma Kawawada, a mentee of celebrated Japanese auteur Hirokazu Koreeda (Nobody Knows, Shoplifters), is a nuanced film that explores issues of xenophobia and the impenetrable immigrations laws of Japan, while at the same time telling a heartfelt story about the ups and downs of coming of age, falling in love, and finding yourself.

MY SMALL LAND Trailer English Subtitled. VC: GAGAIntl

Mālama ʻĀina Shorts Program | 4:30 p.m. | total run time of 133 minutes | English language

HIFF Presents a selection of environmentally focused shorts from Hawai‘i, focusing on environmental stewardship right here at home. All of these shorts will also screen online as part of the Green Screen Shorts Competition program and will be eligible for the Deep Blue Environmental Shorts Award presented by the US Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office.

Mālama ʻĀina shorts. PC: courtesy

For he Who Wears the Sea Like a Malo | 5 mins – Director: Richard Hamasaki

This film is dedicated to the poet Wayne Kaumualii Westlake (1947-1984). In 2009, the University of Hawaiʻi Press published Westlake’s collection of poetry Westlake, Poems by Wayne Kaumualii Westlake. My poem For He Who Wears the Sea Like a Malo was published in From the Spider Bone Diaries, Poems and Songs (University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2001).

Heart of Maui | 7 mins – Director: David Ehrenberg

Biologists Erika Kekiwi and Chris Warren work to save rare and endemic forest birds in Haleakalā National Park, showing what would be lost if humans fail to act and stop this extinction event. A National Park Service film.

Kumu Niu | 15 mins – Director: Alex Cantatore


The island of O’ahu is covered with coconut palms, but for fear of liability the vast majority of these sacred trees have been stripped of coconuts. The grassroots movement, Niu Now, is on a mission to restore the “niu,” or coconut, as a fundamental food crop in Hawai’i and to spread the Indigenous wisdom of “aloha ‘āina:” loving land and serving people.

Nā Kama Kai – Children of the Ocean | 36 mins – Director: Ju Martins

A nonprofit’s mission to empower youth through ocean-based education, with the goal of cultivating environmental stewardship and building future community leaders. While traveling to Brazil for their first international clinic, participants quickly realize the many ways the ocean connects us rather than divides us.

Ola Ka Honua | 22 mins | 22 mins – Director: Jilli Rose

For the past 25 years, thousands of Maui’s residents and visitors have come to volunteer at Auwahi, a storied forest on the leeward side of Haleakalā volcano. By their efforts, Auwahi has gone from being a “museum forest,” a handful of centuries-old ancestor trees in a cow pasture, to a vibrant young forest where a critical part of Hawai’i’s biota has sanctuary.

The Last Rodeo | 33 mins |English, ‘olelo Hawai‘i – Directors: Liz Barney, Alison Week

As La’i Bertlemann prepares to graduate from high school, she grapples with whether to accept a full-ride scholarship to a big university on the mainland or stay home in Hawai’i to study her culture and spend time with her aging grandfather. As a direct descendant from a long line of Paniolo, or Hawaiian cowboys, she has the unique opportunity to continue her family’s legacy, but the mainland has its own attractions. From her final high school rodeo competition to her family’s annual branding day on their ancestral homelands, The Last Rodeo explores what La’i risks losing if she decides to leave.

The key presenting sponsor for the 2019 HIFF is Halekulani Corporation and major sponsors are Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, Hawaiian Airlines, Middle Management, and Regal Entertainment Group.

The Story of Everything | 7:30 p.m. | 105 mins | English

The Story of Everything. PC: courtesy

The Story Of Everything, a theater performance written and conceived by Hawai’i Poet Laureate Kealoha, and now a film produced and directed by Engaging the Senses Foundation, illuminates the intersection between science, the environment, the arts, and mindfulness. The film explores humanity’s rich and diverse explanations for the origins of life, and presents powerful solutions for the continued health of the planet and all beings on it.

In an era when we face the knowledge that racism consistently exposes people of color to reduced quality of life, and that the world itself is in peril due to climate change, a project focused on light, on solutions, and on the transmission of hope is a cause for celebration. The Story Of Everything incorporates poetry, dance, music, art and special effects to condense 13.7 billion years into an hour and 45 minutes that asks and answers two questions challenging humans from the very beginning: “Where do we come from?” And even more important: “Where can we go next?”

Starring Kealoha, Taimane, and Kaui Kanakaole. Dancers Jamie Nakama, Jory Horn and Jonathan Clarke Sypert. Music by Taimane, Quadraphonix and Makana. Original artworks by Solomon Enos.

The Story of Everything – long trailer

Ticket information:

Tickets for the Maui screenings are $12 plus applicable fees and are available online only at The MACC Box Office is not open for window transactions until day of show. It is open for inquiries only by email at [email protected] and phone at 808-242-7469 Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Windows will be open for will call pick up and day of show sales at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 18 and 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19.

All films are unrated and film titles and show times are subject to change. For more details on HIFF and this year’s films go to


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