*SUBMIT TO HIFF'S LATE DEADLINE BY JULY 16, 2021 for the following categories: Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature, Narrative Short, Documentary Short, New American Perspectives, Series, Pacific Islander Showcase Features, Pacific Islander Showcase Shorts, Made in Hawai'i Features, Made in Hawai'i Shorts, Kau Ka Hoku, XR Showcase, and Hawai'i University Student.

"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 41st 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 Hawaii-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 Hawaii’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 for middle and high school students statewide, and a filmmaking workshop for youth in partnership with the Daniel K. Inouye Institute, plus panels and seminars including the annual Sound x Vision seminar examining music in film, and a new annual 'town hall' discussion for local filmmakers and content creators.

The 41st Annual Hawaii International Film Festival will be a hybrid event held November 4-21, 2021 in Honolulu on the island of Oahu and online nationwide. Screenings, events, Q&As, and talks, will take place both in-person in Honolulu in theaters and outdoors, and will stream online across the United States. HIFF will mark the festival's 41st edition with a continued focus on contemporary Asian, Pacific, and North American cinema, films produced in Hawai'i, outdoor screenings, and our Student Showcase and Daniel K. Inouye Youth Initiative for filmmakers under 18 from Hawaii.

We encourage filmmakers to submit works from any genre. We are especially interested in feature films, documentaries, short films, series, Hawai'i-themed films, 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 Hawaii” 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 Hawaii, producing films about and set in this unique, vibrant and precious culture and state.

Sponsor: Hawaii Film Office

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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

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NETPAC Award

Founded in 1990 by Cinemaya and UNESCO, the Network for the Promotion of Asian-Pacific Cinema (NETPAC) is an international not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting Asian and Pacific film throughout the world. The prestigious NETPAC award is given at select international film festivals to promote Asian and Pacific cinema by spotlighting exceptional works and discovering new talent. The NETPAC award is presented annually at international film festivals in Berlin, Cannes, Venice, Rotterdam, Busan, Singapore, Taiwan, Yamagata, Amiens and Hawaii. HIFF is the only film festival in North America given permission to present the NETPAC award. The 2018 Hawaii International Film Festival NETPAC Award winner will be selected from all 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 Hawaii Features & Shorts categories.

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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

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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.

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, 2019 - HIFF is allowing films that were produced in the last two years to submit due to the impact of the pandemic.

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 sound tracks, 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 2021.

CATEGORIES

Narrative Feature
This is for narrative films 40 MINUTES OR LONGER. Please submit projects 39 minutes or less in the SHORT category. Films must have been completed after January 1, 2019 - HIFF is allowing films that were produced in the last two years to submit due to the impact of the pandemic.

Documentary Feature
This is for documentary films 40 MINUTES OR LONGER. Please submit projects 39 minutes or less in the SHORT category. Films must have been completed after January 1, 2019 - HIFF is allowing films that were produced in the last two years to submit due to the impact of the pandemic.

Narrative Short
This category is for short subject films, i.e., all narrative film, animations and experimental projects 39 MINUTES OR LESS. Films must have been completed after January 1, 2019 - HIFF is allowing films that were produced in the last two years to submit due to the impact of the pandemic.

Documentary Short
This category is for short subject films, i.e., all documentary film projects LESS THAN 39 MINUTES. Films must have been completed after January 1, 2019 - HIFF is allowing films that were produced in the last two years to submit due to the impact of the pandemic.

Pacific Islander Showcase Features
Narrative and documentary feature films made by First Peoples from the Pacific Rim, specifically, Polynesia, Oceania and Australasia. This category does not include Southeast Asian countries. Films must have been completed after January 1, 2019 - HIFF is allowing films that were produced in the last two years to submit due to the impact of the pandemic.

Pacific Islander Showcase Shorts
Narrative and documentary short films made by First Peoples from the Pacific Rim, specifically, Polynesia, Oceania and Australasia. This category does not include Southeast Asian countries.
Films must have been completed after January 1, 2019 - HIFF is allowing films that were produced in the last two years to submit due to the impact of the pandemic.

Made in Hawai'i Features
This section is for narrative and documentary films of feature length that meet two of the three following standards:
(1) principally filmed in the State of Hawai'i
(2) are about the history and culture of the Hawaiian Islands, or
(3) key cast or crew (director, producer, screenwriter, actors) must be current residents of Hawai'i.

Films must have been completed after January 1, 2019 - HIFF is allowing films that were produced in the last two years to submit due to the impact of the pandemic.

Made in Hawai'i Shorts
This section is for narrative and documentary films of short length that meet two of the three following standards:
(1) principally filmed in the State of Hawai'i
(2) are about the history and culture of the Hawaiian Islands, or
(3) key cast or crew (director, producer, screenwriter, actors) must be current residents of Hawai'i.

Films must have been completed after January 1, 2019 - HIFF is allowing films that were produced in the last two years to submit due to the impact of the pandemic.

Hawai'i University Student
Open to Hawai'i college students only. HIFF annually presents student films at the college level exclusively for college student filmmakers attending colleges and universities in the State of Hawai‘i only. Films must have been completed after January 1, 2019 - HIFF is allowing films that were produced in the last two years to submit due to the impact of the pandemic.

Student Showcase (K-12)
STUDENT SHOWCASE (Hawai'i Residents, Under 18 only). This category applies to Hawai'i residents only. The films must be at least 2 minutes in length. The student film category includes all genres made by students in grades Kindergarten to 12th grade. Films must have been completed after January 1, 2019 - HIFF is allowing films that were produced in the last two years to submit due to the impact of the pandemic.

DKII Future Filmmakers Contest (6-12)
DANIEL K. INOUYE INSTITUTE FUTURE FILMMAKERS CONTEST (Hawai'i Residents, 6th - 12th grade students only). This category applies to Hawai'i residents only. Contest theme vary year to year, please check our website www.hiff.org for the most up to date information. Open to all middle school and high school students in Hawai'i.

Students may submit individually or in small groups of up to five students. The short films must be 1 - 5 minutes in length. Films may be made with iPhones or digital cameras, or as an animation. Films must have been completed after January 1, 2019 - HIFF is allowing films that were produced in the last two years to submit due to the impact of the pandemic, so long as it fits the theme.

XR Showcase
XR storytellers are pushing the limits of immersive storytelling to engage audiences in new and powerful ways. All XR projects must be LESS THAN 39 MINUTES. Films must have been completed after January 1, 2019 - HIFF is allowing films that were produced in the last two years to submit due to the impact of the pandemic.

Series
Any live-action, documentary/nonfiction, or animation project presented in or intended to be presented in a multi-episode format. This includes pilots, web series, docuseries, limited series, anthologies, or any other filmed content that was created to unfold over multiple episodes. You may submit single or multiple episodes of the same project. We accept both short-form and long-form content with no restrictions regarding minimum or maximum episode or series length.

Projects are not eligible to submit if the submitted content has been or will be made available in its entirety to the general public via any public theatrical exhibition or any broadcast, home video, or digital platform prior to November 4, 2021. Projects originating from outside of the U.S.A. remain eligible if any or all of the submitted content has been released only within the project’s country of origin. You may only submit episodes that have not been exhibited theatrically or otherwise released to the public.

New American Perspectives
Narrative and documentary feature films made by foreign born American filmmakers. The New American Perspectives program shines a spotlight on the contributions of immigrant filmmakers to contemporary cinema in the United States. This program focuses on the contributions of foreign-born directors, screenwriters, producers, cinematographers, and actors. Films must be 40 MINUTES OR LONGER. Films must have been completed after January 1, 2019 - HIFF is allowing films that were produced in the last two years to submit due to the impact of the pandemic.

Kau Ka Hoku
Feature-length documentary and narrative films directed by emerging filmmakers. The KAU KA HŌKŪ 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. Films must be 40 MINUTES OR LONGER. Films must have been completed after January 1, 2019 - HIFF is allowing films that were produced in the last two years to submit due to the impact of the pandemic.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Jason Lau

    Excellent film festival. People were very warm and inviting. Happy to be a part of this beautiful film festival.

    February 2021
  • Sujata Day

    Truly a lovely virtual festival! Thanks so much for the thought-provoking Q&A and excellent communication. The swag gift box was a welcome surprise and full of local goodies. Looking forward to coming back in person with my future films!

    December 2020