Over the last 32 years, HIFF’s programming has focused on films about the Pacific Rim produced by filmmakers from the Pacific Rim. In this special scholar-based panel discussion accompanying the retrospective film series, the Festival will examine 20th century representations and depictions of the South Pacific through a western lens. Over the last 100 years, many of the films featured in the retrospective program were influential in shaping western perceptions of the Pacific and it’s people. At a time when indigenous Pacific film is beginning to flourish, HIFF believes it is important to explore the history of the relationship between cinema and the South Pacific region. Panel topics will include representations of the Other, exoticism, and stereotypes such as the ‘noble savage’ with a focus on films presented in the retrospective film program. The panel will be comprised of both scholars and filmmakers who will present complementary views on the history of cinema in the Pacific from both a socio-cultural and a filmmaking perspective. Panelists will include moderator University of Hawaii professor and filmmaker Vilsoni Hereniko, New Zealand scholar Selina Tusitala Marsh, Los Angeles based filmmaker Arthur Dong (HOLLYWOOD CHINESE), Hawaii Pacific University professor Houston Wood, and Alice Te Punga Somerville, Associate Professor at the University of Hawaii.
Synopsis written by: Anna Page