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Made in Hawaii Film Festival opens at the Palace Theater

  • A scene from 'Hōkio,' directed by Mitchel Viernes. (Courtesy photo)

  • 'Parental Guidance Suggested' is directed by Dane Neves. (Courtesy photo)

  • A scene from 'Kama'aina,' directed by Kimi Howl Lee. (Courtesy photo)

The Made in Hawaii Film Festival opened Thursday night at the Palace Theater in Hilo and will continue today through Sunday, with both virtual offerings and limited capacity in-person screenings.

Founded in 2018, the festival offers a lineup of over 60 Hawaii-made films, including feature-length and short narrative films, documentaries, music videos and web series — all shot within the state of Hawaii.

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This marks one of the first events the theater has been able to put on since it closed down due to the pandemic in March of last year.

“We hope to provide a platform not only for local filmmakers to screen their work, but for the community to see how much Hawaii Island has to offer,” says festival co-founder and Palace Theater Executive Director Phillips Payson.

Films will be grouped by category in blocks of 90 to 120 minutes. In-person festival tickets will cost $10 for one block, and all virtual offerings will be available through the festival’s website (www.MIHFF.org) at no cost. A $30 Festival Pass is available and will be good for all in-person screenings at the Palace.

“I know much of our audience will want to enjoy our lineup from the safety and comfort of their own couch, and it was important for us to be able to offer that at no cost,” says Zoe Eisenberg, the festival’s executive director, who points to the immense financial strain the pandemic has put on her community. “For those who are missing the theatrical experience, we’re excited to provide a lineup of films designed for the big screen.”

All in-person screenings will be socially distanced with restricted capacity, and audience members will choose their seats when purchasing through the Palace’s ticketing software, which will automatically create a buffer of empty seats around audience members as a safety precaution.

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In an effort to support and grow Hawaii’s independent arts, the event will also include several virtual panel discussions that can be accessed at no cost online via zoom.

To purchase tickets or view the schedule, visit www.MIHFF.org.

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