Creating moments is what The Big Island Film Festival is all about. You can create moments in the present, while you’re there sharing your passion for film with the other filmmakers, celebrities, and participants as well as enjoying the splendor of being at the Fairmont Orchid on the Big Island of Hawaii. You can also create moments internally as you reflect on the festival films, full of their own unique moments, crafted by filmmakers. It is all about celebrating the moments that touch our hearts, awaken our curiosity, lead us to a new life perspective, open a different door into a story and give us hope.

I’ve been blessed to be a part of The Big Island Film Festival for the last three years and this year, I led a workshop titled, “Adding Fiction To Your Truth In Your Writing.” When I attend the festival, I know that I am both seeking the interpersonal moments with other artists as well as the moments when I get to experience the vision of the filmmakers. I am seeking moments that make me go, “aha!” and shine a light on a worldview that I haven’t seen before. I saw 20 films while I was at the festival this year. I believe that this was one of the strongest years overall since I’ve attended this event.

These are some of the ingredients that I noticed helped to create powerful cinematic moments this year:

  1. Sharing of universal and emotional truth
  2. Telling a story that goes outside the box
  3. Giving a unique worldview of common life moment
  4. Starting with an original idea
  5. Exploring a strong thematic question

Upon reflection, the films that hit my heart and led me into a wide range of emotions included: “The Haumana,” which celebrates a ritual symbolizing the pride of a culture; “Time Lapse,” a thriller with a sheer originality of thought and a sci-fi twist; “Tuesday Morning,” which explores the moral ambiguity of a life situation; “Suriname Gold,” the heart-wrenching story of what one woman did to survive; “Great,” a witty, intelligent telling of a powerful story of resistance in less than 30 seconds; “Poison Apple,” which shifts the perspective of a familiar fairy tale; “3:13,” a film that wakes us all up to the realities of homelessness and how we can make a difference; and “One Weekend,” which illuminates the thrill of a life moment when your whole world comes together and everything you are suddenly makes sense.

We create life moments that will live on in our hearts forever when we attend events like The Big Island Film Festival. I love going on what I refer to as a “productive vacation” when I get to emotionally connect with the participants on a whole new level and simply celebrate the dreams that are being realized all around me.

This year’s festival will live on my heart. I experienced moments that shifted my worldview and made me feel things in a whole new way. I give so much gratitude to Leo and Jan Sears for having the vision to bring together a wonderful community of artists so that we could celebrate the moments that the filmmakers had the courage to create. I also give enormous amounts of gratitude to the Fairmont Orchid and Christof Luedi and his team for creating such an abundant backdrop with incredible accommodations, phenomenal service, and exquisite food.

The Big Island Film Festival is all about creating moments. Maybe, it’s time for you to create some cinematic moments that can be celebrated. Submissions for the 2015 Big Island Film Festival begin in November, 2014 and go through February 1, 2015.


The Haumana            1:35:00             Winner of Best Feature and Audience Choice                                                                         Award

When the charismatic host of a cheesy tourist show in Waikiki accepts the challenge of leading a group of high school boys through the demanding discipline required for a traditional hula festival, he becomes as much a student as a teacher when he reconnects with the culture of Hawaii he previously abandoned. Director/Writer – Keo Woolford


Time Lapse                         1:40:48            Winner of Best Feature

A modern thriller with sci-fi elements about three friends who discover a machine that takes pictures 24 hours into the future. They conspire to use it for personal gain, until disturbing and dangerous images begin to develop. Director: Bradley King, Writer: Rick Montgomery


Tuesday Morning             0:13:30            Winner of Best Short

Rick and Jewels are colleagues and professionals who are deeply I love with one another; although married to others. During a morning tryst extraordinary events occur (9/11) which provide an opportunity that’s hard to pass up even though it’s completely wrong. Director: Chad Kukahido Writer: Darrow Carson


Suriname Gold             0:22:55            Winner of Best Foreign Short

While searching for her husband in the gold mines of Suriname, a woman uncovers a forsaken world of politics and prostitution – offering a piece of her body and soul to survive. Director/Writer – Paula Henrique Testolini


Great                                    0:23:08

Did the Nazis ever see Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator”? Yugoslavia – 1942, the young Serbian projectionist: Nikola Radosevic decides to teach the German oppressors a lesson they won’t forget. It is the beginning of a true and astonishing WW II resistance story.


Poison Apple             0:09:00            Winner of Best Family Short and Audience                                                                         Choice Award

A musical retelling of the Brothers Grimm’s classic fairy tale of Snow White told through the point of view of the infamous poison apple. Director/Writer – Dane Neves


3:13                                    1:37:00

Based on the real life events and drama of the homeless situation during the late 2000’s US recession. Producer/Writer/Director: David Jaure


One Weekend            1:05:34

A dark fairy tale. A reclusive teenage boy, suffering from an identity crisis, discovers his father is not his real father and seeks out to meet his biological father for the first time. Director/Writer: Diana Cignoni