Hawai‘i International Film Festival (HIFF) presented by Halekulani is thrilled to announce that it has been approved by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as a qualifying festival for the Short Film Awards category.

Recipients of HIFF’s Best Short Film Award and HIFF’s Best Made in Hawai’i Short Film Award are now eligible for consideration in the Animated Short Film/Live Action Short Film category of the Academy AwardsⓇ.

*SUBMIT TO HIFF'S LATE DEADLINE BY JULY 7, 2023 for the following categories:

Narrative Feature
Documentary Feature
Narrative Short
Documentary Short
Pacific Islander Showcase Features
Pacific Islander Showcase Shorts
New American Perspectives
Made in Hawai‘i Features
Made in Hawai‘i Shorts
Environmental Shorts
Hawai‘i University Student

Select Narrative and Documentary Features across all categories from 1st or 2nd time feature-length directors will be eligible for the Kau Ka Hōkū Award. Additional competition awards include awards for Made In Hawai‘i feature and short films, and short films across all categories.

"HIFF is a must attend'' (Entertainment Weekly), "the premiere American showcase for Asian cinema" (Hollywood Reporter) and "a launching pad for early films by younger directors" (Roger Ebert). Now in its 43rd year, HIFF is the festival of record for emerging works from the Pacific Rim, a destination of award winning films from major film festivals around the world, and an incubator for Hawai‘i-based and Native Hawaiian works that come from the vibrant and local creative industries. The festival has featured premiere screenings of many acclaimed films, including festival premieres such as MINARI, JOJO RABBIT, PARASITE, SHOPLIFTERS, ROMA, MOONLIGHT, THE IMITATION GAME, CAROL, THE HOST, DEPARTURES, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON and many more.

Past honorees include Ann Hui, Quentin Tarantino, Ang Lee, Zhang Yimou, Koji Yakusho and Maggie Cheung, who all received lifetime achievement awards. Other guests include legendary Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai (IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, CHUNGKING EXPRESS), maverick Korean American actor Steven Yeun (MINARI, BURNING, THE WALKING DEAD), New Zealand impresarios Jemaine Clement (FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS) and Taika Waititi (HUNT FOR THE WILDER PEOPLE, WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, THOR: RAGNAROK), renowned Korean director Park Chan-Wook (OLDBOY, THE HANDMAIDEN), Japanese actor Ken Watanabe (LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA, LAST SAMURAI), anime master Satoshi Kon (PAPRIKA, MILLENNIUM ACTRESS, PERFECT BLUE), and American actress Elisabeth Moss (THE INVISIBLE MAN, THE HANDMAID'S TALE).

HIFF’s mission to enlighten, empower and entertain through the medium of film is paramount to being an integral part of Hawai‘i’s arts and culture community. Aside from exhibiting films from around the world, the Festival serves as a creative hub for individuals interested in cinema culture, either as a casual fan or for career development. HIFF’s education initiatives include free school screenings and guest filmmaker visits for youth statewide, plus panels and seminars featuring in-depth discussions with renowned filmmakers and content creators, and workshops with industry professionals.

The 43rd Annual Hawai‘i International Film Festival will be a hybrid event held October 12 - October 29, 2023 in person on the islands of O‘ahu, Kaua‘i, Maui, and the Hawai'i Island. Screenings, events, Q&As, and talks, will take place in-person in Honolulu in theaters, with select talks and events streaming online across the United States. HIFF will mark the festival's 43rd edition with a continued focus on contemporary Asian, Pacific, and North American cinema, films produced in Hawai'i, and outdoor screenings.

We encourage filmmakers to submit works from any genre. We are especially interested in feature films, documentaries, short films, series, Hawai‘i-themed films, films by foreign-born filmmakers, and films by indigenous Pacific filmmakers.

HIFF Grand Jury Award - Hawai‘i Competition

HIFF is proud to present TWO Grand Jury Awards for Best Hawai‘i Feature Film and Best Hawai‘i Short Film during the fall festival. All films “Made in Hawai‘i” are eligible for one of these two prestigious awards, which will be adjudicated by two grand juries made up of local and visiting film professionals. The purpose of this award is to reignite the already growing excellence in local cinema production via fiction and non-fiction narratives and to put a spotlight on emerging and established media makers from Hawai‘i, producing films about and set in this unique, vibrant and precious culture and state.

Recipients of HIFF’s Best Made in Hawai’i Short Film Award are now eligible for consideration in the Animated Short Film/Live Action Short Film category of the Academy AwardsⓇ.

Sponsor: Hawaii Film Office
Made in Hawai‘i cash prizes are generously supported by the Nichols Family Film Fund

Kau Ka Hōkū Award presented by Hawaiian Airlines

The KAU KA HŌKŪ (Shooting Star) Award presented by Hawaiian Airlines will be awarded to an emerging filmmaker (first or second feature film). Both fiction and non-fiction feature films will be nominated by the festival programmers and adjudicated by an international jury.

Sponsor: Hawaiian Airlines


Founded in 1990 by Cinemaya and UNESCO, the NETPAC award (Network for the Promotion of Asian-Pacific Cinema) is given at select international film festivals to promote Asian and Pacific cinema by spotlighting exceptional works and discovering new talent. The 2023 Hawai‘i International Film Festival NETPAC Award winner will be selected from select 1st and 2nd directorial efforts of Asian and Pacific feature films playing at this year’s festival. The winner will be announced during the Awards Ceremony and Reception by the NETPAC jury.

Sponsor: NETPAC

This prize is shared with Narrative Feature, Pacific Islander Showcase Features & Shorts and Made in Hawai‘i Features & Shorts categories.

Deep Blue Environmental Shorts Award presented by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office

The Deep Blue Environmental Shorts Award presented by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office and a $5,000 cash prize will be awarded to the best short film focusing on an environmental topic and/or theme. Both fiction and non-fiction feature films will be nominated by festival programmers and the award will be adjudicated by an international jury. Short films that cover ocean- or water-based environmental topics and/or a Powering the Blue Economy™ theme, which involves the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystems, are encouraged.

Sponsor: U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office

Audience Choice Award

The Festival’s most coveted awards for Favorite Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature and Short Film brings the power to the people and are determined purely by audience voting. Previous winners ranged from awards buzz worthy films like LION and THE EAGLE HUNTRESS to locally made films like HO’OMAU and cult films like WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS.

Sponsor: Hawaii News Now KHNL/KGMB/KFVE

HIFF Grand Jury - Best Short Film

The Festival will give out one award for Best Short Film. With the rich plethora of perspectives provided by short films, HIFF’s mission is to champion emerging voices from around the world in the most dominant and voluminous format in the film festival circuit. Short films are sometimes under-appreciated and the goal of these awards is to shine a light on this very malleable format and a small glimpse of perspectives from across the globe.

Recipients of HIFF’s Best Short Film Award are now eligible for consideration in the Animated Short Film/Live Action Short Film category of the Academy AwardsⓇ.

Sponsor: Halekulani

Your submission must be postmarked by the appropriate deadline listed above and include the correct entry fee. We will not consider films submitted after the final deadline.

Films must have been completed after January 1, 2022.

Films must not have had any commercial, theatrical, video on demand, or television play in Hawai'i (Hawai'i premiere requirement). Feature-length films must not have had any public or festival screenings in the state of Hawai'i.

Films may be of any length, and of any genres, including features, documentaries, shorts, student films, series, and experimental films. We are particularly interested in presenting U.S. and World Premieres. The Festival will consider works-in-progress, films with temporary soundtracks, digital outputs, and work that did not originate from film.

All films with dialogue in a language other than English must be subtitled in English for Festival presentation.

Entries must be submitted via password protected link. Passwords should be active for the duration of the submission process.

We will inform you of our selection decision in September 2023.

Overall Rating
  • Erica Byers

    Thank you for selecting my short film Pidgin Kaua'i Style for the University Shorts Showcase! What a great experience for my first film festival. I had an absolute BLAST!

    November 2023
  • Jeremey Lavoi

    I had a great experience with Hawai'i International even though I was unable to attend the festival. They were well communicative, and a pleasure to work with.

    November 2023
  • Ashley LoFaso

    One of the best festivals we have been a part of! Communication from the team was top notch the entire time, the event itself was thoughtful and inclusive, and -- besides the screenings -- they go out of their way to connect you to platforms/venues that might be interested in showing your film. Mahalo Nui Loa!

    November 2023
  • Stephanie Kaznocha

    So glad I got to attend in person! Saw some great films. All the screenings I went to were sold out!

    November 2023
  • Hawaii is the destination for an international festival! A huge number of quality films! The staff was great in accommodating what we needed for our screenings. Wish more filmmakers would come for networking purposes.

    November 2023