Your Own Private Film Festival: Movies to Stream During Hawai‘i's Stay-At-Home Order (or Whenever!)

Posted in: Culture & History, The Arts, Things to Do


Social distancing doesn’t mean Friday nights at the movies are a total bust. If you need a break from Netflix’s offerings (or your family), here are some cinematic options for you! From local productions to local movie houses, we've got you covered:

Mauka to Makai
The award-winning 'Mauka to Makai' and other short films are available for stream via HIFF

The Hawai‘i International Film Festival (HIFF) had to cancel their Spring Showcase this year, but that doesn’t mean that we’re totally without film fest-worthy fare to enjoy. At the beginning of the month, they released over a dozen short films that were previously screened at HIFF through the years, including both local and international productions.

Watch 'Tama Tu' by Oscar-winner Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit; Hunt for the WIlderpeople; Thor: Ragnarok), Made In Hawai‘i award winners ‘Mauka to Makai’ and ‘Down on the Sidewalk in Waikiki’ and other productions from Hawai‘i, the U.K., Korea and the mainland! It's like having a mini-festival of your own at home. If you breeze through these short films this weekend, don’t fret because HIFF is slated to release a new slate of short films on April 17 and May 1.

Once Were Brothers
Robbie Robertson and The Band are the subjects of 'Once Were Brothers'

The historic Palace Theater in Hilo was once the grandest theatre in all the neighbor islands, with its elegant neo-classical facade and (once) innovative stadium seating design. Fully restored in the 1990s, the theater now stands as a historical landmark of old Hilo town, hosting concerts and productions for stage and screen. While many of those events have had to be postponed or canceled, they’re still streaming some noteworthy arthouse films for their loyal audience.

View the documentary ‘Once Were Brothers’ about songwriter Robbie Robertson and the camaraderie he found in The Band, an influential musical mainstay of the 1960s and ‘70s. Also showing is the Brazilian adventure/mystery, ‘Bacurau’ and the educational ‘Fantastic Fungi’ narrated by Brie Larson. Though these showings will cost you a few dollars each, a portion of the proceeds go towards supporting the Palace Theater and its ongoing restoration and maintenance.

Under the Blood Red Sun
The locally produced 'Under the Blood Red Sun'

Those interested in World War II history may want to watch 'Go For Broke: An Origin Story' about the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the highly decorated Japanese American unit.

There’s also the coming-of-age tale,  ‘Under the Blood Red Sun’ about bonds of family and friendship being tested after the attack on Pearl Harbor. 

Both of these full-length productions are set and filmed in Hawai‘i and feature local talents both in front of and behind the camera.

'Go For Broke' can be viewed on Vimeo for Demand and 'Under the Blood Red Sun' is available on Amazon Prime and other streaming services.

So go and pop that popcorn, fluff that throw pillow, and settle down for some movie watching!


The award-winning 'Mauka to Makai' and other short films are available for stream via HIFF


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