Posts Tagged ‘Dole


[Wrap Up]: HIFF Spring Showcase 2011

I know what you’re probably thinking . . . isn’t the Spring Showcase over? Ok yes, HIFF’s 2011 Spring Showcase did finish last week (hence the “HIFF Hatched” graphic). However, due to a very busy schedule there was no HIFF Spring Showcase preview nor were there posts during the showcase. Don’t worry though, I’m still going to talk about my experience this past week at the showcase. Though it probably won’t be as in depth or detailed as the fall festival posts, it’s still stuff that happened to me this past week. So without further ado, let’s take a look back at the week that was . . .

What I Wanted to See

So one of the things I learned this past week was that the HIFF Spring Showcase is short. Now, I know that the festival in October is “the festival” and when you really think about it, it makes perfect sense that the Spring Showcase is shorter and not as big of an affair. However, you don’t really understand how short it is until you really look at the schedule or try to volunteer to work the showcase (more on this later). Since the Spring Showcase is shorter, the list of films I wanted to see is decidedly shorter as well:

POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
// HIFF Page
// Official Website
// Facebook








HIFF Description

Boundary-pushing Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Morgan Spurlock explores the world of product placement, marketing and advertising in POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, a film that was fully financed through product placement from various brands, all of which are integrated transparently into the film. With humor and insight, POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold unmasks the marketing process to bring audiences behind closed doors directly into the pitch meetings and marketing presentations which ultimately inform our everyday entertainment decisions.

Why I Wanted to See It:

Ever since working for UH Sports Marketing back in 2004, I now have a greater understanding on the practical applications of marketing–more specifically, marketing that is actually being implemented out in the field. I first heard about this film in early January when it got selected to be in the Sundance Film Festival and eventually was picked up for distribution by Sony Pictures Classics (so yes, I’ll be able to see it later this month). A marketing documentary about marketing in movies . . . yes, there’s a certain META quality to it, but the film plays to two things I’m into: movies & marketing.

These Amazing Shadows
// HIFF Page
// Official Website
// Facebook
// Twitter







HIFF Description

As the government-appointed protector of our cinematic legacy, the National Film Registry selects culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant works for preservation in the Library of Congress. From award-winning features to music videos, experimental films to home movies, each Registry selection reflects a truth of its time or a standout artistic vision. Guided by a true cinephile’s love of the medium and a treasure trove of archival footage, the film molds a cultural history from pieces of film, offering a microcosm of the work of the National Film Registry and making a powerful case for film preservation.

Why I Wanted to See It:

Again, another film that I heard about because it played at Sundance. Being into movies as much as I am, anytime there’s more to find out about cinema I’m pretty much game for it. While initially the topic of film preservation may not sound that exciting or enticing, I’m sure there have to be some “amazing” stories behind the preservation of film. I mean, we’ve all heard a story here or there about how when they dug out the old reels to show it again it needed to be heavily restored due to degradation. Why not find out a little bit more about preserving pop culture from people that are passionate about it?

The Whistleblower
// Voltage Pictures










HIFF Description:

Rachel Weisz turns in a stellar performance as Nebraska police officer-turned-peacekeeper Kathryn Bolkovac in this tough-minded thriller set in Bosnia at the turn of this century. Based on a true story, Larysa Kondracki’s gritty debut follows Bolkovac as she exits her tangled personal life back home in favor of a job with the U.N. peacekeeping force in the still-tense former Yugoslavia. Once there and working for the U.N.’s Gender Office (headed by Vanessa Redgrave in a superb cameo), which investigates sexual assaults, Bolkovac uncovers evidence of human trafficking and sexual slavery that implicates fellow peacekeepers and officials, evidence that puts her life in danger.

Why I Wanted to See It:

I’m not going to lie, the main thing that got me interested in this movie was the fact that there are known actors in it (Rachel Weisz, Monica Bellucci, and David Strathairn). After that though, I did read the synopsis a bit and it did intrigue me. While I read it had lukewarm reviews during last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, everyone I heard from at this year’s showcase that saw it seemed to have enjoyed it. It did eventually find an American distributor, so we should be seeing it in theaters later this summer.


Busy Schedule – Two, then One day

So what do I do after I come back from vacation? Take it easy perhaps? No, of course not! I just right back into a busy schedule with working a UH baseball game, screening Soul Surfer and follow that up by working the opening night of the Spring Showcase. Knowing that my evenings were going to be very precious for the next two weeks when I got back from my vacation, I only budgeted two nights for working the showcase, opening Friday and the following Monday. Long story short, I had one free night for myself during the entire showcase and I wasn’t about to give that up.

Originally I had planned to work Monday night at HIFF. Well that didn’t exactly happen. I wake up Monday morning and find an email from a mainland Warner Bros representative asking if I could screen Arthur for them . . . THAT NIGHT. Since Warner Bros isn’t a studio I regularly run screenings for, I jumped at the opportunity. So sadly, Friday night turned out to be the only night I was able to work HIFF. What’s funny though is that I ended up being at Dole more for work than I did volunteering.


The Film I Did See – 13 Assassins (most of anyway)

So on that opening Friday, I did manage to see a good portion of 13 Assassins since we had a lot of down time between films for theater ops. Walking in a good halfway through the film I pretty much got the gist of the plot. From what I gathered, it was your classic ‘struggle against a tyrant’ scenario where a smaller force (the 13 assassins) is opposing the person in charge. It was going fairly well when towards the end of the film (the point at which the 13 Assassins execute their grand plan) the movie kicked it into awesomeness territory with a great set of fight sequences. Sadly though, I didn’t get to see the climatic finish (there just had to be one right?) as we had to check back in for duty before the film ended.

However, one moment that did stand out to me in the film was when someone came and stood right in front of me blocking my view. Now since I was volunteering, unless there’s open seats in the theater (which there weren’t) you generally have to stand on the side against the wall in the area where the hall opens up to the rest of the theater. There were a bunch of us volunteers there standing and watching the film for a good while. Then out of nowhere someone else comes in and stands against wall opposite us–blocking my view of the screen’s subtitles. At first I don’t mind too much cause I thought maybe this person was trying to survey the theater to find an open seat. Nope. He just stood right there to watch the show.

Yeah, I don't usually condone the use of cell phones during the film, but I had to make an exception this one time.

Because of where I was, he was in a perfect position to obstruct my sight line . . . thanks dude. Since there were a bunch of us volunteers against the wall I didn’t have too much room to maneuver so I had to get closer to the dude to my left so that I could see around the obstruction.

Soul Surfer Sunday

Producer David Brookwell, producer Ricardo Galindez, actress Arlene Newman-Van Asperen, actress Sonya Balmores, producer Roy Tijoe, and Noah Hamilton at the HIFF Spring Showcase.

Sunday I was at the showcase in an official capacity of sorts. I was called upon to do screening reports for both showings of Soul Surfer. The first screening at 11am was a private ‘cast & crew’ screening to give those who worked on the film an opportunity to see it for the first time. The second screening was the public showing for the showcase. Having already seen the film once three days earlier, it definitely made watching the crowd easier as I knew when to expect audience reactions. However, seeing multiple screenings of a film within a short amount of time isn’t the most fun experience in the world, in fact in some ways I do get tired of seeing the same film multiple times.

With under six hours between screenings I pretty much left Dole to grab lunch, took a nap, and came back to do it all over again. For the evening screening, there were definitely a lot more people around and I knew this showing was going to be sold out. What was good about the evening screening though, was that there was a large entourage of producers and actors on hand to support the film. After the film, there was a short Q&A with everyone to discuss how they put the film together. The real treat of the night though, probably was that Bethany’s brother Noah was on hand to personally thank everyone who came out that night. Here’s how packed the house was during the Q&A after the film:


Other Thoughts . . .

  • Getting to Know People :: So back in October I worked HIFF as a volunteer for the first time. Being that it was my first time I didn’t quite know what to expect both in the sense of job duties as well as of the people I would be working with. Showing up to volunteer on Friday night, I recognized the familiar faces that I had met in the fall. In fact, I even recognized familiar face from many falls ago . . . someone that I went to school on the mainland with. Yeah, come to find out we had both worked in the fall and had not even run across each other (which is easier than you think). It was good talking to her and finding out what happened with our lives since the mainland.
    Of course a few of the usual suspects were volunteering again. I have to say though, this time around I got to talk with some of them a bit more and after doing so, I definitely began seeing them in a different light. Nothing about my overall opinions really changed about them, however I did get a better understanding of who they were and where they were coming from. You may never get a second chance to make a first impression, but you can definitely continue to make positive impressions that help others to understand.
  • Pulling Back the Curtain :: Now, when we started doing this blog a little over two years ago I wasn’t really expecting all that much to come out of it (and in many ways nothing has). You know, I post it to my Facebook and tweet it out so that maybe a couple people outside of family and friends would read it. Nothing major. We’re doing it cause it’s fun and we’re into movies. Having said that, anytime someone I don’t really know posts a comment, retweets something I put out, or even mentions that they read the blog . . . I’m really appreciative of that.
    Even more rewarding though, is meeting those people in person. (again very appreciative and thankful)

So that was my 2011 HIFF Spring Showcase, or maybe lack thereof. I definitely can’t wait for the fall and hopefully I can clear my schedule out a little bit better to make sure I attend more dates than this spring. 🙂


Clash of the Titan XC

This week Friday (June 18, 2010) Consolidated Theatres will debut a new moviegoing experience with the opening of their new Titan XC (extreme cinema) screen at their Ward location. They have taken one screen (theater 8) and have renovated the entire theater and will feature (from Consolidated Theatre’s press release):

  • A wall-to-wall screen 66 feet wide and 35 feet tall
  • Pristine digital images with “the most advanced 3D”
    • a new “state-of-art,” NEC digital projection system
    • XpanD 3D system
  • Unsurpassed Sound
    • Dolby Surround, 7.1 audio channels
    • 75,000 watt digital sound system
    • 18 speakers on the walls, 14 in the ceiling, doubled the number of subwoofers
  • Leather Seating
  • Reserved Seating

While it all sounds nice and fancy, I’m going to hold judgement till after I take in Ward’s Titan XC myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for improving the moviegoing experience here in Hawaii and I’m a big fan of Ward Theaters, but let’s face it . . . Ward needed to do something to keep up with the IMAX theater at Regal Cinema’s Dole location.

Since opening last year, Dole’s IMAX has definitely been a money maker for them with a number of films coming out in IMAX (most notably James Cameron’s Avatar). With the only commercial IMAX theater on the island, and tickets for the theater being sold at $17 a pop (compared to a $4 3D surcharge on top of normal ticket prices) it’s easy to see that Ward has been losing out on a niche that only Dole has been capitalizing on.

There are several stumbling blocks that Ward will need to overcome for the Titan experience to be successful. Perhaps the biggest problem is that Titan XC is not something that moviegoers recognize. It’s not a name brand like how IMAX is. Everyone remembers when they were younger and we had a “real” IMAX in Waikiki or having gone to the mainland and seeing big IMAX screens there. We know what it is. IMAX is a name brand, and more importantly it’s a format that Hollywood is formatting their films for (select scenes in Transformers and The Dark Knight were shot in IMAX). Sadly the “Titan XC” brand is something that moviegoers are not familiar with and as far as I can tell, not a format of any sort. Hence the marketing campaign which has been going on for the past two weeks. In order for people to know about something, you have to tell them about it. And if you’re going to tell them about something, make sure you tell them it has all the newest bells and whistles.

The NEC NC3200S digital cinema projector. Is this the driving force behind Ward's new Titan XC?

The second problem I foresee is the technology itself. The digital projectors used in theaters currently conform to Digital Cinema Initiatives specifications as set forth by the Big 6 studios (Warner Bros, Sony, Disney, Universal, Paramount, Fox). Currently these standards seem to be below the resolution presented by digital IMAX. Simply put, unless this new NEC digital projector is indeed “state-of-the-art,” I don’t foresee the projection quality being better than it would be in IMAX (not sure which model Ward is installing, but the newest NEC projectors will be able to upgrade to a higher resolution standard than what is required–possibly at a later time). If this turns out to be the case, Ward could have a tough time selling moviegoers on this technology once word gets out. Again, I’ll need to reserve judgement until I can see the technology in action.

However, Ward’s new Titan experience does have two things going for it:

  1. Reserved Seating–Cavemen had the wheel, Edison had his light blub, Bell had the telephone, and now Hawaii finally has reserved seating for movies. How would you like to not have to hassle with waiting in line on opening night? Just show up 20 minutes before the show starts, buy your food and sit down without having to worry about finding a seat? Sounds so easy right? I mean really, sports and the airline industry have been doing it for decades, why not the theaters as well? This semi new feature (Ward previously did have a concierge service that allowed for reserved seating–as a subscription service) is a great selling point as it will take some antagonism out of the movie going experience. The downside–it’s only for one theater.
  2. Price–For about two weeks after Consolidated announced Titan XC I was very hesitant as no where did they announce the ticket prices for this new “experience.” However last week they finally set the ticket prices and I have to say that they’re really trying to do their best to compete with Dole. Take a look:
  • Adult – $14.25
  • Senior/Child – $11.00
  • 3D Adult – $16.25
  • 3D Senior/Child – $13.00

Compare these prices to Dole’s IMAX where ticket prices are $17 for adults, $14 for kids, and $13.50 for seniors (in either 2D or 3D) and Ward is definitely undercutting Dole. This will definitely turn the tide in Ward’s favor if the technology is as good or better than Dole’s IMAX. If not, you still have the consolation of paying about $4 more than a regular Ward ticket price for the amenity of reserving your seat–still, not a bad deal.

After it’s all said and done though, having more viewing options for moviegoers can never be a bad thing. I just hope that Consolidated hasn’t rushed blindly into competing with Dole by giving us window dressing in the form of Titan XC. Hopefully I can check out the new Titan XC experience this weekend. And if I do, expect a follow up post to hash everything out.


Additional Reading:

The Titan XC webpage on Consolidated’s website, with a link to their press release and ticket prices.

Rachel Gibson of Consolidated Theatres talking about Titan XC on Wake Up 2Day


Honolulu Sees Glimpses of Twilight

As I write this post, dozens of Twi-Hards are seeing the newest chapter in the Twilight Saga, New Moon, unspool in theaters. Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past year or so Twilight mania has been sweeping the nation ever since the widely popular novels were slated for silver screen adaption. The most extreme case I heard of Twilight mania was about a woman (on Oahu mind you) that saw Twilight 109 times in theaters. No, that’s not a typo (edit–ok it was a typo, 108).

Check out the fandom that turned out at the two biggest theaters in town:

The upper deck at Ward Theaters was the obvious choice to hold lines, but it quickly filled up.

But then you walk to the main staircase and see that lines are forming all over the front down to the sidewalk.

Another shot of the main staircase from the front.

It's just a sea of people from the top of the stairs.

Inside, every line to the concession stand was open and full.

Over at Dole it was a similar story. They had one long line that stretched down the front of the theaters . . .

. . . and into the parking lot and further towards Pacific Street.

And here’s video to give you a better idea of how long the line at Dole was:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Needless to say it was a busy night at the movies and I’m sure we’ll be hearing about record numbers for Twilight: New Moon in the coming days. As for us, we’re going to wait till the insanity dies down a bit before we take in the Twilight.

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