The Academy for Creative Media (ACM) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa had its annual return to the Hawaiʻi International Film Festival (HIFF) on Thursday, November 10. Student filmmakers from ACM Mānoa and Shanghai University presented live-action and animated films to the delight of the audience.
Special guests included members of the UH Board of Regents, UH administration and the ACM system director. Special guests in attendance also included a team of delegates from PIXAR animation studio who had been conducting lectures and portfolio reviews with ACM Animation students the day before.
The two hour show included both English language and Chinese language films. Films produced through ACM’s SMART Exchange program were featured. The evening culminated with a question and answer session with student filmmakers.
- Shanghai Riches—Kelsey Duvauchelle, Li Junhua, Qin Ranyue
Three short films by three directors that explore wealth and worth in Shanghai, China.
- Mighty Ward—Kurt Noe
A short animated action comedy, where professional hero, Marshall Matter, puts his powerless sidekick, Ward, through an unorthodox training exercise to try and awaken Ward’s true powers. After an encounter with a giant monster Ward receives his first call to action.
- Flying On Bicycle—Gao Jianming
Xia Yibing is a high school student born into a poor family. Yibing’s father buys him a bicycle to attend school. On his way, the bicycle is stolen. Yibing fights to regain ownership of the bike.
- Rival In Love—Jeanine Higa
An animated short about a prideful knight, Will, who wishes to gain the attention of the princess. As the two rival begin to show off their abilities to one up the other, it isn’t the princess who ends up being impressed.
- Birds—Li Wenjia
In Shanghai, a couple struggles to make ends meet. A wife sneaks into a co-workers home to throw a surprise birthday party for her husband. However, with celebrations underway, the coworker provided the biggest surprise by coming home early.
- Family Storage—Benjamin Menor
The story of a boy with a rather unconventional upbringing.
- The Protagonist—Liu Huijia
A short story exploring the complicated facets of friendship.
- Dancing Together—Yang Xiao
Nico runs an electric music radio station out of the comfort of his home. Having suffered from social phobia, he has not left his house in 5 years.
- Aloha Vegas—Ai Okuno
A bittersweet romantic dark comedy exploring the life of a middle age couple from Hawaiʻi. Diagnosed with cancer, Rock, an easy-going heavy smoker convinces his cautious wife Lucy to travel to Las Vegas. With less than a week to live, he is willing to do anything to get wild and have fun.
ACM’s HIFF event has spanned more than a decade with many ACM filmmakers going on to careers in film and television. The ACM Mānoa program is rooted in indigenous filmmaking and empowers filmmakers to tell their own stories.