Maui Arts & Entertainment

First HIFF ‘Ōpio Fest celebrates Hawaiʻi student filmmakers this weekend

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File photo. PC: Hawai’i International Film Festival

Fresh off its Spring Showcase, Hawai’i International Film Festival (HIFF) has invited 48 student short films to be presented at its first-ever ʻŌpio Fest. The students represent 33 different schools from Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, Maui, Lanaʻi, Big Island—and two from Alaska.

The launch of the inaugural three-day ʻŌpio Fest takes place at the Consolidated Theatres Kahala of Honolulu from Friday, April 5 through Sunday, April 7.

ʻŌpio Fest will feature an exciting lineup of events, including:

  • Exclusive ʻŌpio Filmmakers Opening Night Party
  • Public theatrical screening of this year’s Student Showcase
  • ‘Focusing The Lens: Inspiring Talks for ʻŌpio Filmmakers’ and “HIFFxACM Accelerator Work-In-Progress Lab” for the next generation of filmmakers
  • Future Filmmakers Showcase in partnership with the Daniel K. Inouye Institute, featuring student films under the theme “Hawai’i’s Youth Leading By Example”
  • Awards Ceremony recognizing outstanding student filmmakers

“For the past decade, HIFF has greatly invested in our education programs to develop and support Hawaiʻi’s student filmmakers and nurture the next generation of cinematic storytellers,” said Beckie Stocchetti, HIFF executive director. “ʻŌpio Fest represents our commitment to amplifying the unique perspectives of Hawai’i’s youth and cultivating a thriving film industry in the islands.”

The emerging filmmakers will be joined by special guest Auli’i Cravalho, known for her roles in the movie “Mean Girls” (2024) and Disney’s “Moana,” as well as this year’s youth ambassador, Eric Bauza, a 2x Emmy Award winning voice actor for his performances in “Looney Tunes Cartoons” and “Bugs Bunny Builders.”

The festival is the result of a collaborative effort between HIFF staff and a collective of 19 passionate student film enthusiasts, many of whom are alumni of HIFF’s Education Programs.


“One of the things I truly value at HIFF, both on the Committee and as a filmmaker, is that we are valued and respected as true young artists,” said Amia Voluntad, HIFF Student Committee member. “‘Ōpio Fest offers these experiences and the opportunity to expand on their storytelling and filmmaking skills.”

Through ʻŌpio Fest, HIFF aims to provide a platform for Hawai’i’s young filmmakers to share their stories, develop their skills, and contribute to a more vibrant and diverse film industry in the islands.


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