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Focus on Shanghai:
ACM student filmmakers in China's cinema captial
A SMART Step

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Shanghai International Film Festival

HONOLULU - The Academy for Creative Media (ACM) at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa will screen five of its student films at the 9th Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) from June 17-25, 2006 in Shanghai, China. The SIFF is among the top ten of worldwide film festivals.

The five student films to screen at the SIFF include award-willing films "Plastic Leis" directed by Ty Sanga; "Steve Ma'i'i" directed by Kaliko Palmiera; "Tunnels" and "Still" directed by Jay Hubert; and "Elevation" directed by Seong Whang. The student filmmakers (except Palmiera) will travel to Shanghai to screen their films.

The films are part of the Student Media Art Exchange (SMART Xchange) program between the University of Hawai'i at Manoa and Shanghai University, in conjunction with the SIFF and the Hawai'i International Film Festival (HIFF). ACM's participation in the SIFF marks the program's inaugural exchange. Shanghai University film students will have a similar opportunity to showcase select films at the HIFF in October.

"Our SMART Xchange illustrates the international reach of ACM and the solid storytelling talents of our student filmmakers across cultures," said ACM Director Chris Lee. "We're particularly proud of the Hawai'i-based themes of these films that offer a more accurate and reinvigorated image of local life and culture."

Lee added, "When added to the numerous national festivals that have screened our student films, and our partnership with the Korean Film Commission to develop Korean and Korean American filmmakers, ACM is taking Hawai'i to a global audience."

During the festival, ACM officials will work on strengthening the student film and filmmaker exchange program with Shanghai University, as well as forging an agreement with the Shanghai Institute for Visual Arts.

The ACM student filmmakers will also take part in a SIFF film forum, "Future Tides: Sino-American Students' Short Programs Exchange," moderated by director Jia Zhangke (Shijie: The World). ACM Director Chris Lee will participate in a forum on the "Relationship Between Chinese and Hollywood Film" along with directors Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain) and Feng Xiaogang (A World Without Thieves, Shou Ji).

Student Film Synopses:

Elevation Still Tunnels

PLASTIC LEIS: A dancer drifting through the tourist luau circuit reconnects with her family and heritage through rediscovery of true hula.
*Golden Honu Award (Best Hawaiian Short), Big Island Film Festival (2006)

STEVE MA'I'I: A documentary on the 70s Hawaiian Music Renaissance musician and his interactions from Vietnam to Kaho'olawe with other greats such as Henry Kapono, Mel Mossman, Kapono Beamer, Teresa Wright and George Helm. Directed by his son, Kaliko Palmiera.
*Audience Favorite Award for Documentary, Hawai'i International Film Festival (2004)

TUNNELS: Kazu and Miho, a couple of Korean descent, run away from discrimination in Japan to start a new life in Hawai'i. For a while, everything is wonderful, but soon they find that discrimination exists everywhere. Will Kazu learn to live with this, or will he revert to the violent ways of his past? (In Japanese, with English subtitles).
*Best Music in a Short Film, Houston Worldfest International Film Festival

STILL: A jaded photographer still clings to memories of his past love, whose words echo in his head and pictures stare at him from his wall. When he finally finds a new love, he can't fully let go of the past one. (In Japanese, with English subtitles).

ELEVATION: Two strangers, an elevator, and the ups and downs of pursuing romance. See Tyler and Lisa in this comedy of errors, chock full of near misses and almost happenings. Dopey security guards, spiteful co-workers, and cranky bosses are just some of the obstacles that stand between them and a first date. Will Lisa and Tyler ever find each other?
*Best Film Award, Hawai'i Pacific University's "Shorts on the Rocks" Film Festival


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