Anaina Hou Community Park is shining light on social issues starting Monday, Feb. 17, at the inaugural Social Awareness Film Festival.
Set to run from Feb. 17 through Feb. 23, each evening will feature one of six films, all with themes relating to social awareness and social justice, according to Anaina Hou Executive Director Jill Lowry.
“Our Social Awareness Film Festival was envisioned as an opportunity to bring awareness to, and stimulate discussion on a myriad of issues including race, religion, immigration, art &culture, environment &climate change, geopolitical issues, or the specific issues that women or the LGBTQIA + community face,” Lowry said.
Films encompass themes like equality, courage, hard work, patience, commitment, love and hope. In addition to screenings, the SAFF brings filmmakers to the table for talk story sessions surrounding the movies.
“SAFF is not intended to be rooted in doom and gloom,” Lowry said in an announcement about the event. “While it understandably will cover serious issues and the sacrifice, anger, fear, grief these issues can cause, it is equally about courage, tenacity and hard work.”
Some films feature global and national happenings. Others feature people and issues specific to Hawai‘i, like “Hawaiian,” the film set to kick off the festival, which tells the story of Eddie Aikau, big-wave surfer and lifeguard.
Other films on the docket include the Feb. 18 showing of “Moananuiakea,” a documentary that celebrates the Malama Honua worldwide voyage; the Feb. 19 showing of “Tribal Justice,” which looks at the plight of two Native American women who are working to reduce incarceration rates and heal their people; and “Joseph Pulitzer,” a film about the dangers of suppression of news and the importance of the freedom of the press.
Lowry pointed out the inaugural year of the film festival is focused on highlighting topics of indigenous peoples and immigration.
“The hope is that one or all of the movies you choose to watch will change your perspective, create an idea or solution, or in some other way give you something you did not have before you sat down,” said Lowry.
The final two films set to screen during the festival are “Dolores” and “Sweet Dreams;” the first will show on Saturday, Feb. 22 and features the story of Dolores Huerta, who went against 1950’s gender conventions and started the first farm worker’s union alongside Cesar Chavez.
“Sweet Dreams” tells the story of a group of Rwandan women who are on a journey to heal the wounds of the past.
Films are set to run from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. from Feb. 17 through Feb. 22. The last film, “Sweet Dreams” is scheduled from 3 to 6 p.m. on Feb. 23.
Tickets are available for purchase at the Anaina Hou website and tickets can be purchased for individual films. General Admission starts at $12 for adults, $8 for students. Cost for tickets that cover filmmaker talkstory events are $50 – $75 each.