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31st Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival Goes Virtual

2016 Red Carpet Event. HGLCF board. Photo: Kelli Bullock

For the first time in its 31 year history, the Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival is going virtual, hosting an online festival from July 31 to August 12, 2020 on the Honolulu Gay and Lesbian Cultural Foundation’s website. The free event will use films and an interactive talk-story event to highlight the challenges and opportunities faced by Hawaii’s LGBTQ community during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We chose to offer the films for free this year as our way of giving back to the community,” says HGLCF Board President Dean Hamer. “At a time when many are suffering due to the coronavirus, we wanted to provide a safe and healthy way to enjoy the incredible works of cinematic art we’ve received from all over the world this year.”

Leading off the festival is the virtual premiere of Kamaāina, a locally shot film about a queer girl from Waiʻanae who is abused by her stepfather and must navigate life on the streets until she finds refuge at the Pu`uhonua o Waianae, Hawaii’s largest organized homeless encampment. The screening will be followed by a community discussion including refuge founder Twinkle Borge, the young star Malia Kamalani Soon, and director Kimi Howl Lee. Donations gratefully accepted on behalf of Pu`uhonua o Waianae.

Also featured are 20 short films including comedies, dramas, and documentaries that will be streamed throughout the festival, many making their first appearance in Hawaii. A number of the films have Hawaii ties – either shot on location here, or with local cast/ crew.

Festival director Brent Anbe says, “The biggest challenge of a virtual festival was deciding how to maintain the Honolulu Rainbow spirit without meeting physically. We think short films are an amazing way to capture that sense of fun, adventure, and camaraderie.”

HRFF31 is presented by the Bank of Hawaii Foundation; legacy sponsor Hula’s Bar & Lei Stand; platinum sponsors Hawai’i Council for the Humanities, Hawai’i Tourism Authority, Hawaiian Airlines, Honolulu Magazine, and Honolulu Museum of Art; and Red Carpet Gala venue and hospitality sponsor ‘Alohilani Resort.

HRFF is one of the longest continually running LGBTQ film festivals in the world, and is noted as a bridge for queer cinema between Hawaii, Asia and the Pacific, and the West. It is presented by the Honolulu Gay and Lesbian Cultural Foundation, founded in 1997 as a non-profit 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to educate and raise awareness of the community-at-large about gay and lesbian culture, arts, and lifestyle, in honor of Hawaii LGBTQ pioneer Adam Baran. More at HGLCF.org.

Stream films at: www.hglcf.org

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