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My Dog Has Fleas. A half Hawaiian young woman returns from the mainland to her birthplace of Oʻahu only to be greeted with judgment and shame.

Students from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Academy for Creative Media (ACM) in the College of Arts, Languages and Letters are walking away from the 42nd annual Hawaiʻi International Film Festival (HIFF) with invaluable lessons. From presenting their filmmaking chops to working behind the scenes at HIFF, ACM students gained priceless experiences at the world-renowned film festival this November.

Two people facing each other
Cringe Kid Kyle: The Musical

HIFF selected six ACM UH Mānoa student shorts to showcase in HIFF’s University Shorts program which included animation, drama and even a musical. The short films were made available for online screenings across the globe.

  • My Dog Has Fleas, directed by Justin Pascua
  • Kites, directed by Debbie Kwon
  • Look Up To The Stars, directed by Florence Jane Andres
  • Home, directed by Jiwoo Lee
  • Cringe Kid Kyle: The Musical, directed by Ian Severino
  • TALA, directed by Justin Ocampo

Insider’s view

This fall, an inaugural UH Mānoa ACM course also introduced students to different perspectives of a film festival; as participants, filmmakers and event coordinators. The ACM 386 Techniques: Film Festivals course prepared 11 students to shadow HIFF organizers this year to get an insider’s view of what it takes to put on the festival. HIFF allowed students to participate in areas such as programming, press, marketing, guest services and special events. They were also provided access to the festival screenings and events which allowed them to participate from an audience and filmmaker’s perspective.

Related: Be the film critic, UH Mānoa film students want you, October 2022

Nuts and bolts of the trade

Six UH Mānoa ACM students were also selected to participate in HIFF’s online creators and critics immersive program. The new private mentoring opportunity pairs students with professional critics and content creators to learn how to craft film criticism texts and gain insight on logistics, brand building, sponsorship opportunities and growing audiences. Participants were mentored in writing, podcasting, video essays and vlogging. The inaugural program is a reimagining of the Roger Ebert Young Writers Program.

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