The Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival, opening today (Thursday May 12), has a new director this year — active filmmaker Brent Anbe, of “Ajumma, Are You Krazy?” fame — who is both challenged and inspired by the roster of films to be exhibited.
“Being the festival director of this year’s Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival (HRFF) is truly an exciting and rewarding experience for me,” said Anbe who hopes to channel the enthusiasm in his own future works. “The Honolulu Gay and Lesbian Cultural Foundation, which sponsors the HRFF, has been working tirelessly over the past few months to provide the community with the best and most diverse program of LGBT filmmaking and storytelling. Most of the films that we have this year have never been shown in Hawaii, or in the Pacific, and many are ‘hot tickets’ right now, with recent premieres at Sundance, Berlin and Toronto.”
The array of films has already challenged him, as audience and filmmaker.
“As a filmmaker, this experience has already had a great impact on me, as I definitely appreciate the quality and level of talent that this year’s festival program has—the storytellers, actors, and filmmakers who are involved in the various feature film, documentary, experimental and short projects are truly outstanding,” said Anbe. “It is inspiring and challenges me to work harder to ensure that my next film project be of the caliber of some of the fresh and original stories we have programmed in this year’s festival. Also, being a fellow filmmaker, I can relate to (and, at times, commiserate with) our visiting delegates in regards to the rational and irrational world of filmmaking and production.”
The festival, unreeling at the Doris Duke Theatre, is a venue for the local film fans of all persuasians — gay, lesbian, straight, bi, transgender — to view fare not otherwise shown in commercial movie theaters and also assembles folks on both sides of the camera to interact.
The festival’s opening film is “Going Down in La-La Land,” screening at 7:30 p.m. today (May 12) at the Doris Duke Theatre at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. The closing film on Sunday (May 15) is “Cho Dependent,” featuring comedian Margaret Cho.
Film producers, directors and actors from around the world will be here to meet and mix with the local film community at the various film screenings in-between.
Anbe said the spectrum of films, with particular appeal to the target LGBT crowd, taps real-life people and issues and would interest the straight community.
“For me, there isn’t just one particular film that relates to real life, as our program is truly unique and relevant to many current issues,” he said. “I definitely can relate to many of the varied situations, both dramatic and comedic, in our film offerings this year. I am proud that we have some very thought-provoking and unpredictable selections that cover a wide range of topics/genres, including anti-bullying, modern relationships, transgender, sci-fi and horror-musical films with stories I haven’t seen on the big screen here in Hawaii before. I am excited to share this with our community and really look forward to experiencing these films all over again with local audiences.”!
Director Anbe is best known for his audience-friendly “Ajumma” comedy, which won the 2009 Video-on-Demand award in the 2009 Hawaii International Film Festival and since has been seen in a clutch of film festivals.
See in person:
7 p.m. today (May 12) — “Going Down La-La Land” actors Alec Mapa and Matthew Ludwinski
6 p.m. Friday (May 13) — “E-Cupid” actors Mike C. Manning, Houston Rhines, Noah Schuffman and Galen Drever, plus director J.C. Calciano and co-producer Nicholas Downs
1:45 p.m. Saturday (May 14) — “Uncle David” director Gary Reich
7:45 p.m. Saturday (May 14) — “Three Veils” actress Sheetal Sheth
4:45 p.m. Sunday (May 15) — “Co-Dependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same” director Madeleine Olnek
8 p.m. Sunday (May 15) — “Cho Dependent” director Lorene Machado
All screenings at the Doris Duke Theatre
Thursday (May 12)
4:15 p.m. — “Beyond Gay — the Politics of Pride (Canada)
preceded by “Gayby” (U.S.) and “Yes Man” (U.S.)
6 p.m. —Opening night reception
7 p.m. — “Going Down in La La Land” (U.S.)
preceded by “Spring” (United Kingdom)
Friday (May 13)
Noon— “The Advocate for Fagdom” (France)
preceded by “Beasty Training” (U.S.)
3 p.m. — “Gun Hill Road” (U.S.)
preceded by “Boys and Girls” (U.S.) and “Broken Vase” (Indonesia)
5 p.m. — Light reception
6 p.m. — “E-Cupid” (U.S.)
preceded by “I Was a Teenage Werebear” (U.S.)
9 p.m. — 2011 HRFF Gala, at Chai’s Island Bistro (special admission)
Saturday (May 14)
11 a.m. — “Three” (Germany)
preceded by “Curious Thing” (U.S.)
1:45 p.m. — “Uncle David” (U.S.)
preceded by “Triple Standard: (U.S.)
4:45 p.m. — “Fit” (United Kingdom)
preceded by “10000 Hearts” (U.S.)
6:45 p.m. — Light reception
7:45 p.m. — “Three Veils” (U.S.)
Sunday (May 15)
11 a.m. — “We Were Here” (U.S.)
preceded by “Masala Mama” (Singapore) and “We Once Were Tide” (United Kingdom)
2 p.m. — “Romeos” (Germany)
preceded by “Loop Planes” (U.S.)
4:45 p.m. — “Co-Dependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same” (U.S.)
preceded by “A Woman Named Canyon Sam” (U.S.) and “You Move Me” (U.S.)
7 p.m. — Light reception
8 p.m. — “Cho Dependent” (U.S.)
preceded by “Cried Suicide” (U.S.)
Where to get tickets: