Update on the 2008 Big Island Film Festival

by Lexa Pennington /
Lexa Pennington's picture
Aug 03, 2008 / 0 comments


One of our featured articles earlier this spring was about the Big Island Film Festival, run by Leo and Jan Sears. It was a really fun article to write - I can't wait to go and visit! I asked Leo for a follow-up article, so that those of us who were unable to make it this year could follow along. Here's what he had to say:


Big Island Film Festival

Best of the Fest Concert at the Waikoloa Bowl

What were the highlights?

At 2008 Big Island Film Festival we showed 59 movies from Great Britain, Japan, Iraq, Germany, Mexico, Canada, as well as the US.  Our quality increased, with many of the movies that would have been selected the first two years rejected.  Despite the shutting down of two major airlines that serviced Hawaii, we increased attendance by 44%.                                    

The big highlight was the opening of the Waikoloa Bowl as our main Festival film venue and venue for the Best of Fest Concert and Party.  The Waikoloa Bowl is a 4,000 lawn seating amphitheater that is a great place for movies or a concert.  We also had the family movies at night at the Ohana Venue and daytime movies at the Honu Venue (indoor).

WE: Were there any awards?

DB Sweeney, who brought his movie Two Tickets to Paradise, received the Golden Honu Award for Acting; director David Winning, who brought Swamp Devil and Black Swarm, was honored with the Golden Honu Award for Filmmaking.  Both were charming and very accessible to the audience.  Ten other movies earned Golden Honu Awards for being the best movies in different categories.

Big Island Film Festival

Leo Sears between DB Sweeney and David Winning



WE: What is on deck for next year?

LS: 2009 Big Island Film Festival will take place May 13-17.  Besides the movies, Hawaiian music, food and beverage events, celebrities and filmmaker panels, next year we'll add a "Screenplay in a Day Workshop", which will take place May 16.  This workshop will take the participants from the idea stage to creating a tangible screenplay.

Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

LS: Big Island Film Festival continues to gain a reputation with visiting patrons, resident patrons and filmmakers as a premiere event on the Big Island.  We try to wrap this whole experience in the Spirit of Aloha.  What better place could there be to hold a film festival than the Kohala Coast with it's great weather, lovely scenery, gorgeous beaches and world class resorts?



WE: Thanks so much, Leo! It sounds like the 2008 BIFF was a great success!


To read our article about the 2008 Big Island Film Festival, please click here

To visit the Big Island Film Festival's official site, please check out: www.bigislandfilmfestival.com.


All photos provided by Leo Sears, Big Island Film Festival.