Big Island Film Festival Brings Out the Stars

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From animated shorts to feature length films, the 6th Annual Big Island Film Festival delivers great entertainment for film lovers of all ages with its extraordinary 2011 lineup. The May 11-15 event at Hawaii Island’s Mauna Lani Resort showcases 63 independent narrative films from seven countries, including 10 Hawaii-made movies.

The film festival venues situated within the Mauna Lani Resort – The Fairmont Orchid and The Shops at Mauna Lani – are located in the heart of Hawaii Island’s renowned Kohala Coast, home to some of the world’s most exclusive luxury resorts, residential communities and championship golf courses.

Among the celebrity filmmakers, actors and honorees attending the festival this year are Sarah Wayne Callies (“The Walking Dead”) and Kristina Anapau (“Black Swan”). Anapau, a native of Hilo on Hawaii Island, appears in one of the festivals featured short films, “Verdict”, and will be honored with the festival’s 2011 Golden Honu Award.

In “Verdict,” the 30-year-old Anapau plays Vanessa Thompson, fiancé of a veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder who runs into trouble after returning from a Middle East deployment.

According to film festival officials, the ten Hawaii-made films (four of which were made on Hawaii Island) are strong contenders for awards this year. Festival Executive Director Leo Sears says, “These films show a broad range of style, subject matter and creativity in feature and short film categories, animated stories, comedy, romance and more.”

One of the highlights among the local film selections is the uncontrollable farce “Get a Job,” starring popular Hawaii entertainers Willie K, Eric Gilliom, Mick Fleetwood, Willie Nelson, Jake Shimabukuro and Augie T, which played to sold-out houses in Honolulu late last year.

The festival opens at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 11 with a welcome to filmmakers and celebrities at The Shops at Mauna Lani and screenings of short films, including “Verdict”.  Daytime and evening showings will take place at both venues Thursday through Saturday, and “The Best of the Fest” provides the event finale at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii Plantation Estate on Sunday, May 15 at 5:30 p.m. The legendary, contemporary Hawaiian musician Henry Kapono will perform in concert and the 2011 audience-voted Best Short and Best Feature films will be shown.

“Henry is a fabulous addition to this year’s festival,” Sears said. “Not only will his music wow the crowd at the “Best of the Fest” on Sunday, he also appears in the made-on Maui movie “Get a Job.‟

For a complete schedule and ticket details, phone 808.883.0384 or visit

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